Negative Reviews Can Be Valuable Feedback

Sooner or later, everyone receives a negative review online. It could just be a bad day for the business or the consumer. Either way, consumer feedback doesn’t have to be a source of heartache for business owners, if used constructively.

Here are some tips on how to use negative reviews to your advantage to strengthen relationships with customers and improve your business.

Turn the tables

The rise of social media has turned the tables on traditional form of mass communication. Consumers are now able to disseminate opinions at little to no cost. But the same logic applies to small to medium sized business owners.

Use your own social networks to your advantage when you receive a bad review. If you have an established presence in social media and a decent number of fans/ followers, ask for their support.

Ask loyal customers to address the merits of a bad review. When other people see consumers address a bad review on Google, Yelp or Foursquare, they’ll be more likely to dismiss it as a singular bad experience and realize your brand has a lot of loyalty.

 

Market research

Negative reviews can be extremely valuable. Assuming these reviews aren’t simply your competitors bad mouthing your business, it’s a great way to gauge the performance of your company or products.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Steve Fuller, L.L. Bean’s chief marketing officer, spun negative reviews this way:

“Before, it would have taken us months and months to figure out if something was wrong with the product through returns, if we ever would have known at all.”

If consumers are having issues with aspects of your business, address them. Not only is this a way to curb negative reviews surrounding a certain element, but this qualitative data can only help improve your products/ services and consumers’ experience.

 

Make amends

Finally, just as any experienced restaurateur manager would seek to make amends for a bad experience, so should you look to rectify a bad review online.

Contact or respond to negative reviewers to offer a peace agreement. If a food critic didn’t like your service, ask them to come in and try again at a discount.

Review sites such as Yelp and Google Places currently allow business owners to respond publicly to reviewers, while Yelp also allows you to contact reviewers privately. It’s the best way to let others know you’re passionate about your business and customers, and can lead to an addendum to a bad review or even having it taken down.

 

Stay on top of your reviews. With ReviewPush, you receive email alerts each time a review is made.

 

Photo credit: ready2spark.com