Turning the Tables: How Negative Reviews Can Actually Work in Your Favor
In the world of consumer packaged goods (CPG), the pursuit of more ratings and reviews has always been a driving force.
We all know that having a strong online presence for your product leads to more sales. Positive reviews attached to five star ratings on your retailer or brand site? Like a homerun with the bases loaded.
The reasonable tie-in becomes, then, how to get more of that.
But what happens when you strike out? When someone leaves a 1-star review with a rant to match? What happens when there’s not just one, but many, and it looks like you’re losing the inning?
We’re here to argue that negative reviews are not only common, but they can actually be valuable in driving consumers to buy your product. This article explores the reasonable approach of harnessing negative reviews to drive consumer interest and ultimately boost sales.
Why Negative Product Reviews Are Actually Positive
1. Humans are naturally skeptical of too much good.
Just like meeting someone who is always happy-go-lucky, and you think “They can’t possibly be like this all the time,” — that’s how consumers react towards all 5-star reviews, too. 2022 studies show that 96% of customers look for negative reviews specifically. Perfect ratings on products are seen as less credible, leading to skepticism.
A handful of negative reviews with minor issues (that are resolved, of course) show that the reviews are honest in nature—giving the potential customer a peace of mind that they aren’t reading false or planted reviews. Negative reviews, when handled well, demonstrate transparency and show that your product and business is genuine. Responding professionally to negative feedback can build trust with your customer.
2. Constructive criticism can lead to positive innovation.
If at first you don’t succeed…You know how the saying goes. “Try, try again.” As businesses strive for continuous improvement, there is no better source of constructive criticism than your customers themselves. Reviews offer a valuable window into the minds of verified buyers, allowing you to enhance their experience with your product. Embracing negative reviews and taking steps to address their concerns shows a commitment to customer satisfaction.
60% of consumers feel that the number of reviews is essential in the decision to purchase. With power in numbers, consumers look for an assurance that their product will be exactly what they’re envisioning online.
In today's digital age, the online shopping experience needs to come as close to an in-person experience as possible. With multiple photos, videos, AI measurements, and the stamp of approval from multiple successful customers via written review, potential buyers can be assured that they’re making a quality purchase.
Bump up your quantity (and quality) of Ratings & Reviews with our trusted provider, Field Agent.
Best Ways to Respond to a Negative Review
We know that you, personally, cannot respond to every single negative review. But it’s worth it for you and your team to read, consider, and respond to negative reviews in a timely manner. Here are some key steps to follow when formulating your response strategy:
Let’s put a pin in that and get a bit more specific. Reviews may be the rulers of the online shopping kingdom, but their power can vary from kingdom to kingdom (aka product category). Our survey showed that a majority (75%) of online shoppers think reviews have the most sway when it comes to buying electronics, while 52% bow down to the power of reviews when shopping for attire. But, it seems not all reviews are created equal—only 33% of online shoppers think reviews are influential when it comes to household consumables and 23% for groceries.
1. Determine the severity of the review.
You can tell when someone is on a bad-mood rant that cannot be fixed—your potential buyers can too. Assess whether the reviewer's tone indicates an unresolvable grievance. If the negativity appears excessive, we say: save your energy. 36% of shoppers even say that they fear that the review is actually fake if it’s overboard in negativity.
The best way to mitigate the situation, show you’re still interested, and give the public a positive perception? Respond with a private resolution. Publicly acknowledge the issue, and then suggest continuing the conversation through a private channel like email or direct messaging.
Here’s an example:
Dear [Reviewer's Name],
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We sincerely apologize for the negative experience you had with our product/service. Your satisfaction is of utmost importance to us, and we appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention.
To address your specific concerns and ensure your satisfaction, we would like to personally assist you further. Please reach out to our customer support team at [contact information] so that we can gather more details and work towards a resolution.
We value your feedback, and hope to have the opportunity to make it right and regain your trust.
Thank you for your understanding.
2. Respond within seven days.
Regularly monitor review platforms, social media channels, and other online sources to stay updated on customer feedback. This enables you to respond promptly and address concerns in a timely manner.
When reading through a negative review, the consumer will wonder if you (the company) respond to a legitimate concern and determine if you take steps to mitigate the problem.
In simpler terms: “Are they going to help, and what are they going to do about it?”
If the negative review is left unanswered, shoppers may fear that their own issues will be unheard. By addressing these concerns, you have the chance to enhance the quality of your offerings and provide a better experience for future customers. Win, win, win.
3. Respond professionally.
When responding to negative reviews, remain calm and professional. Acknowledge the customer's concerns, apologize if necessary, and offer a solution or explanation. Demonstrate empathy and a willingness to make things right. If you discern that the review requires more than a comment, direct the user to an email or help line to ensure they receive the answers they need.
4. Don't forget about the positives.
Between bouts of negative reviews, remember to encourage positive reviews. Praising satisfied customers to share their positive experiences that leave reviews can help counterbalance the negative feedback and showcase the positive aspects of your business.
Negative reviews should not be feared; instead, they can be harnessed as a valuable tool for driving sales. By responding thoughtfully and professionally to negative feedback, businesses can build trust, enhance their offerings, and provide a better experience for future customers. Field Agent, a leading provider of market research solutions, offers comprehensive services to help businesses optimize their ratings and reviews strategy. From analyzing customer feedback to developing actionable insights, Field Agent equips brands with the tools they need to drive sales and foster consumer trust.