Boost Your Sales with Bad Reviews

Posted: January 30, 2012 by Elyse Royer

Quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to make purchasing decisions, online review consulting is changing the market for buyers and sellers alike. Websites like Yelp and Google Places provide consumers with a centralized location to find reviews for products of interest, including a full competitor analysis. While this creates more due diligence for the brands whose products appear on these external sites, it creates an ideal situation for decision-making buyers. Conversely, businesses can also benefit from these sites in many ways, including: search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, increased visibility, the opportunity to strategically interact directly with consumers, and much more. The key for businesses to optimize these tools is critical thinking; each step must be calculated and they must understand the affect reviews have on consumers.

Positive reviews are a great testament to your brand and its reliability, but can negative reviews push customers to complete the sale? Let’s hypothetically wear the consumer’s hat for the sake of this argument. Say you are in the market for a new mp3 player. While an iPod may be the first item that comes to mind, maybe you want to try a different brand. You find reviews for Microsoft’s Zune, Samsung’s Galaxy (Android), and X brand’s Y model. You know a little bit about the Zune, you’ve had various Samsung products before and trust the brand, but know nothing about X’s products. You scope the 500+ reviews and see nothing but positive comments… seems a bit fishy, huh? Your mind starts to wander: “Maybe they delete negative comments after they are posted? Maybe their staff is told to submit phony comments to boost ratings? Or maybe their products are just 100% perfect and everyone loves them… hah, doubtful. Something is wrong here, I don’t trust this brand.” According to an eBook issued by Reevoo, entitled “Bad Reviews are Good for Business,” 68% of people trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores and 95% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores.

No matter how perfect your products may be (in your opinion), there is always going to be someone who is looking for a freebie, unhappy about a feature of your product, or even disgruntled over a negative interaction with a sales associate, a faulty product, etc. Mistakes happen, we are human – it’s how we deal with these mistakes that make us trustworthy sources. It is important to not delete negative comments but address them in a constructive manner, letting the customer know you hear them, you understand them, and you value your relationship with them. No matter how established an organization is, there will always be someone who feels they were wronged and want to share that with their peers online.  Whatever the reason for their negativity, it’s still floating around the internet, alerting others of their feedback and you cannot control that.  What you can control is how you respond.

Revoo’s eBook also provides another interesting fact: “Bad reviews are one of the most popular features on a site. Twice as many consumers actively seek out negative reviews as look for positive reviews. Negative reviews are even more popular than the most recent reviews, or reviews from ‘people like me.’” The negative review seekers spend 17.6 minutes on average on the site, while “normal consumers” only spend 3.2. More time on the site = more potential time for your brand to appear as their match. The consumers that use these sites are “smart” consumers, searching for the products that are “best in show,” in terms of price, function, and value. These negative comments help them make educated buying decisions that satisfy them more in the long-run while also telling you as a business owner what you might be able to do to improve customers’ experiences.

The management of your online reputation is something you cannot afford to be passive about. Reach out to satisfied customers and solicit their positive feedback, include links in your communications with customers for easy access to your review pages, monitor review sites closely and respond to comments that require attention, or even hire a consultant who has experience with managing online reputations that can provide you with sound advice and management services. Whatever your strategy, remember bad reviews are necessary for your success.



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