According to a study carried out by PowerReviews and Spiegel Digital and Database Center of Northwestern University, negative reviews have a positive impact on businesses as they help establish trust and authenticity.
If your local business only has positive reviews online, you may be wondering why you are not getting calls or making sales as you had hoped for. The truth is that having only positive reviews can hurt your business. Businesses that have some negative reviews are considered more authentic. Today’s consumers mostly rely on online reviews to determine whether or not to do business with companies. Even if you are the best business in your industry, you won’t miss one or two negative reviews from disgruntled customers or those that simply had a bad day.
According to the Northwestern research team, the number of stars in a review do not have much impact on a purchase when the rating is between one to three stars. However, consumers have a higher likelihood of purchasing a product or do business with a company that has four or more star reviews. The optimal rating for a purchase peaked at between 4.2 stars and 4.5 stars. As the stars rose closer to 5, the likelihood of purchase declined.
The report indicates consumers tend to consider ratings of a perfect 5 stars to be “too good to be true”. In fact, most consumers indicated they ignored many five star reviews are they considered them to be fake. Consumers know that products or businesses cannot be 100 percent perfect, and hence they increasingly rely on negative reviews to make a decision.
The study further indicated that 82 percent of consumers specifically sought negative reviews when looking to buy a product. The reviews were sought to alleviate concerns about price and safety of a product, as well as in gaining the trust of a brand.
Benefits of Negative Reviews
Below are five ways negative reviews can be good for local businesses.
i) Makes Your Business Legitimate
When consumers are reading reviews of a company and only find positive ones, they are likely to think the reviews are paid for or fake. Consumers do not trust businesses that appear perfect. A true online reflection of your business will account for some of the times that consumers were not happy with your product or service. When your business has some negative reviews, customers feel they are seeing both sides of the business.
ii) Helps You Identify Weak Points
Negative reviews can give you valuable information on what to fix in your business. Thus, you should not fear negative reviews but rather embrace them. From the reviews, you can solve problems you had not identified in your business, which can result in a better experience.
How you handle negative reviews posted about your business on various platforms can be a deal breaker. Responding to negative reviews within a platform for all to see makes your business credible.
iii) Educate Future Customers
You may have an FAQ or return policy page that no one actually reads. When things go wrong, customers will often blame you for bad service, even though you may have stated your policies upfront.
Addressing such negative reviews publicly offers you a chance to educate future customers about your policies and business decisions. Future customers can understand how your business works or handles various services they may be interested in. Be polite and maintain professionalism when responding to the negative review.
iv) Elevate Your Customer Service
Negative reviews can offer you a brilliant opportunity to elevate your brand’s customer service. Big brands like Nordstrom have been doing this for a long time. However, a small local business may find it challenging to show that they strive to offer the best customer service. An easy way of doing this is to act fast. When you respond quickly and proactively to negative reviews, you will be showing customers that you care about their concerns.
Prospective customer want to know that the people in your business have their back. Responding quickly to negative reviews instills confidence in customers that should anything go wrong, it will be properly addressed.
The above is an overview of why negative reviews are good for local businesses.