Online reviews- why the bad ones are also good.


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You might be wondering how brands could benefit from negative online reviews. Most online based businesses run scared and suffer in trepidation with the thoughts of having a negative review, comment or mention. That spells disaster or a PR rally, if it is a valid review left on a third party review platform or social media site.

Cheryl Conner wrote a good piece on Forbes, which revealed certain points about negative online reviews. In her article, she shared that: “Negative reviews can actually help your business. They help you correct problems. It also lends to legitimacy to your company that the feedbacks include both positive and negative.” She also believed that an unhappy customer is likely to tell an average of 24 people why a happy customer will only let about 15 people know about their experience. It is believed that businesses could highly benefit from both positive and negative reviews. Most articles look at how businesses benefit from positive reviews and very few look into the benefits of having a couple of negative reviews.

The benefits of negative online reviews

While we make a good attempt to look into the benefits of online negative reviews to businesses, it is important to state that we are coming from a standpoint of having a couple of negative reviews not a flurry.

1) Breeds credibility: Imagine going to Amazon or Yelp and all a seller or merchant has is 5star reviews, the sceptic in us will cringe and doubt the authenticity of the reviews. When you have at least a 3star review and a host of positive reviews, it shows that your customers and reviewers are real people- with emotions, disguised sentiments and unpredictability. Research shows that about 68% of customers trust online reviews more when they see a mix of negative and positive sentiments.

2) Shows your tolerance level: Negative reviews, although some could be unfounded and antagonistic in nature. They do test your brand’s ability to remain cool and handle uncertainties. Some of these negative reviews appear with somewhat illogical premise like a customer left a one star review for a company on Trustpilot with a rephrased feedback that goes thus: “just ordered for the first time, will let you know when I receive the item.” Providing a one star feedback before receiving the product is abysmal.

3) Shows cracks that needs filling: Nothing seems to be perfect with businesses. In most cases criticisms or bad reviews are the best opportunity for flaws that lies within a company to be exposed. This definitely gives a company a true and thorough insight into her business operations with a view of improving the given area.

4) A second chance to make a better impression: Research shows that about 95% of customers return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently. Customers are human and do not have a problem doing a return business with a company that has realised its shortcomings and made efforts to deliver a better experience.

5) Shows your product is garnering interest: The fact that a customer decides to leave a review for your product indicates it has some form of interest. A negative review simply shows that a customer believes your product or service, if improved upon could provide satisfaction.

As competition becomes rife for businesses, harnessing the power of online review is important. Google attests to the fact that companies with review based ratings experience a 17% rise in click-through rates. The benefits of learning from negative reviews are enormous and also impacts upon growth and ROI. Not all negative reviewers are antagonistic, as most are potential advocates that will recommend your brand if you listen and address their concerns promptly.

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.


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