3 Reasons a bad customer review is good news for your business

Written by Kaia Vincent
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“Words almost fail me. This product should be discontinued forever! To say it’s utterly useless would frankly not do it’s inadequacy justice.”

“We saw the TV channels switching by themselves. Stay out of this place – it’s haunted.”

“I’ve never felt this let down by a service. Why advertise that you offer a 24-hour hotline if nobody ever answers the phone? I could’ve trained to be a plumber myself in the time it took to get the help I needed.”

Ouch! Bad reviews can sting – and when they’re particularly scalding it’s hard not to feel like they’ll leave a scar on your business’ reputation for ages. Most established companies have had a less-than-favourable review or two as they’ve grown – it’s a natural part of the process. Reactions to negative reviews can vary from outright panic, to retaliation, to deliberate ignorance.

If you’re a business owner and you receive a bad review, the worst thing you can do is stick your head in the sand. As a marketing agency in Hampshire that likes to keep things balanced and real, we’re here to share 3 reasons why a negative review can actually be of benefit to your brand…

Nobody’s perfect

Do you ever find yourself raising an eyebrow when perusing a product or service with nothing but 5-star reviews? Most consumers are discerning enough to question this because it just doesn’t ring true. Bad reviews will make your brand seem more authentic, which resonates with customers as more honest and transparent.

Also, the few reviews that make suggestions for improvement will make your better reviews stand out more. A relatable level of balance often carries more currency with the customer than perfection does.

A better customer experience

Customers are not robots, they have complex needs. When you’re shopping online, for example, don’t you want to know the whole story before you make a purchase? Yes, it’s important to have all the factual information to hand along with plenty of images, but you’ll want insight into how the product will serve you and your unique needs to help you make a decision.

To help you do choose wisely, you’ll probably look for reviews from others like you. If you’re buying a new sofa for your minimalist, pet-free home you’re not likely to be fazed by the odd review from a family of five young children and their dog who complain about the fabric being hard to clean.  It’s all about personal preference and negative reviews can actually be decision-making aids in disguise. So, don’t remove them, but do make sure you respond.

Opportunities to improve

One question on every smart business-owner’s lips is, “How can I improve my product/service and get more sales/leads?” Think of the reviews you collect as a bank of market research responses that you can use to develop and improve your business. By providing a forum for honest feedback from customers, you are allowing your business to gather free intelligence about how your product or service can be made even better.

Just remember to act on what you find out. If customers raise the same concerns about the functionality of your product, take it to your product development team so they can work on it. Get that broken TV fixed so guests don’t start to make claims about an imaginary paranormal presence! And make sure your website and marketing collateral doesn’t make claims you can’t support. Can’t man a 24-hour hotline? Maybe customers would be happier with a faster call response within specified hours.

Most complaints and negative reviews happen because customers feel their expectations haven’t been met, but they don’t necessarily expect the world in the first place.

If you need help with communicating with your customers more effectively, get in touch with us. Brevity is a multi-talented marketing agency in Hampshire and we can help you build your brand and grow your business. Call us on 01256 536000 to email hello@brevity.marketing to find out more.