Why Are Bad Reviews Good For Your Business?

Turning bad reviews into a good thing for your business.

Bad reviews get us all down. You see the notification come in, your heart leaps with joy. Then it’s a one-star and your heart feels like it fell through the floor. Instead, take the opportunity to use the review to your advantage.

One negative review might not seem like the end of the world, and it usually isn’t. But too many negative reviews can cause detrimental harm to your business if they aren’t treated properly. People turn to social proof when they’re uncertain. If your social proof points mostly to the negative side of things, then it will likely deter people from using your business.

So how can bad reviews actually be good for your business? We’ll start with what kinds of negative reviews you’ll encounter, how to handle each one, and why these kinds of situations can turn into positive ones.

Types of Bad Reviews

The One-Time Bad Review

This kind of review is the most common. Someone at your store had a bad day or your customer was just having a bad day. Either way, you might get the occasional one or two-star review. These don’t necessarily hurt your business, especially if you respond, because people don’t trust places with all five-star reviews. It seems suspicious.

An Influx of (Genuine) Bad Reviews

Where negative reviews can go wrong is when your company makes a legitimate mistake and it’s reflected in your reviews. Usually, this comes in the format of multiple bad reviews over an extended period of time. You might get some positive reviews in between, but these kinds of reviews should raise an alarm in your head. It means there is an issue with your customer experience.

An Influx of (Fake) Bad Reviews

On the other hand, businesses also are sometimes attacked by a massive amount of fake one-star reviews. Usually these have no content and are easy to identify.  While they drive your average rating down momentarily, most people who are attacked with bot-generated reviews are able to get them removed eventually.

Malicious Intent Reviews From Disgruntled Employees and Competitors

When someone wants to seriously attack your business personally, they might post terrible reviews with the single intention of making your business look bad. Ninety percent of the time, those reviews do violate the guidelines for their platforms, but not always. These can be tough to handle, but there are ways to turn them around.

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How to Handle Each Type of Negative Review

The One-Time Bad Review

Single bad reviews are the easiest to handle. First, always respond publicly. Then, if there is anything you need to address as a business, make sure you handle it. Next, post the review on your website in a blog post, saying what you did to remedy the situation. This way, not only does anyone looking on the reviews platform see that you care, but also your website visitors know you take your customer feedback seriously.

An Influx of (Genuine) Bad Reviews

A bad review crisis like this is much easier to handle than you might think. It does require some hard work, but the strategy is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Respond publicly to all reviews.
  2. Address the situation with your staff and discuss solutions.
  3. Implement changes to improve and make sure the improvement is significant.
  4. Post a blog piece including all the negative reviews associated with the issue and explain how you fixed it.
  5. Respond to each person who complained about this situation privately letting them know you have fixed it and point them to your blog post for more information.
  6. You might even consider including a coupon in the blog post for anyone who reads it.

These six steps will go a long way toward improving the public perception of your business.

An Influx of (Fake) Bad Reviews

For an in-depth solution on how to handle fake reviews, check out this article. To sum it up, there are a few ways you can handle fake reviews:

  1. Call attention to it publicly on your social media channels, asking for real reviews from real customers. (Be careful not to ask for positive reviews because it violates some platform policies.)
  2. Send an email blast to your customers telling them what happened and asking them to help by leaving you a review.
  3. Contact the platform the fake reviews were left on and attempt to dispute them.

Malicious Intent Reviews From Disgruntled Employees and Competitors

Lastly, malicious intent reviews are actually the easiest and hardest to handle. Start off by responding publicly, but then also report the review. Each platform has its own procedure for that, so you can find information on how to have a review removed from each with the following links:

If you can’t get reviews removed, then you can always try to boost your positive reviews by generating more reviews overall with a few positive habits.

Why Are Negative Reviews Good For My Business?

While it isn’t always possible to completely eradicate negative reviews, they do help your business. We already mentioned the obvious fact: no one trusts a business with all positive reviews. But in addition to that, your reviews and your customer experiences have a reciprocal relationship. A customer’s experience starts in the discovery and evaluation phase. Part of that is not only looking at your reviews but how you handled the bad ones.

The Importance of Reputation Management Strategy

In the end, it all comes down to how well you’ve implemented your reputation management strategy. You won’t find out that you have a bad review problem if you haven’t claimed all your listings. There are tools you can use to also monitor your reviews and respond to all of them through one dashboard. Choosing a reputation management system is the best route if your business attracts a lot of reviews or has issues generating them in the first place.

How do you manage your online reputation? Let us know in the comments.

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