For the buying public, reviews are a trusted source of information, used to get a picture of a business, its products or service, and general levels of customer satisfaction.
But whilst positive reviews remain highly influential, it seems negative feedback is often the first port of call - we’ve found that, regardless of whether you’ve collected 10 or 10,000 reviews, customers are five times more likely to filter their search for 1 star ratings than anything else.
Today’s consumers have a lot of choice, and that means they can afford to be picky about where they spend their money.
Before they buy, they want the complete picture - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Positive reviews often centre around key selling points and reinforce what the customer already assumes to be true. But negative reviews can highlight certain flaws that are absolute dealbreakers. They want to narrow down their search and make sure they choose the right product or service for them.
Customers are wary of implied perfection. They see it as fake, so if you have a 100% 5 star rating, it raises a red flag. They’re looking at negative feedback for credibility, making sure that all your reviews, both good and bad, are genuine and can be trusted.
Are you the sort to ignore negative comments? Or do you go the extra mile to resolve issues and improve the customer experience? Essentially, they want peace of mind that if something should go wrong, you’ll be proactive in dealing with it.
So, are those one star ratings hurting your business? Not necessarily.Firstly, they can be offset by increasing positive reviews that bring a host of benefits:
As for the impact of negative reviews, it’s all about having the right attitude, and knowing how to deal with them.
It’s true. They do. But as we mentioned earlier, perfection isn’t believable. Instead of censoring negative feedback, see it as a bonus. A few bad reviews thrown into a pool of positive ones adds authenticity and makes you far more credible than anyone claiming 100% satisfaction.
There’s opportunity here. By responding to negative reviews in a considered way, you can show you’re reactive as a business – that the customer comes first, and you’ll go above and beyond to meet their needs.
Dealing with negative reviews the right way can have a positive impact. It’s great to respond to all your feedback, but potential buyers aren’t really interested in how you react to good reviews.
They are, however, scrutinising you on how you handle the bad ones. So, whilst not responding to all your positive feedback will do no harm, leaving just one negative review unanswered can be the difference between winning a customer and missing out.
How to: 4 steps to a positive review
85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so for you as a business, they’re essential for growing your customer base.
For the consumer, they give real insight into a company, how it operates, and the standard and quality of its products or services.
Knowing what we do about the way in which reviews are used, it’s clear that even the negative ones have a valuable part to play in purchase decisions, so be open to them, use them to your advantage, and take every opportunity to showcase customer service at its best.