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Growth calendar    May 17, 2022

Customer Experience At Glance: advice on dealing with negative consumer online reviews

Negative consumer reviews: something that happens to every company. How to deal with them - and turn bad opinions into future business success?

Have you ever felt unsatisfied with the product or services that were supposed to work out for you? Positive and negative online reviews play a crucial role in positioning your online business - it truly has to be the perfect balance of both.

The issue is not if there are any bad consumer reviews concerning your services but how do you respond to them. Potential customers are the first ones to check and see how well you handle any negative feedback. They can base their future purchases on how the situation is operated.

In this article, I will briefly speak about how negative experiences and reviews, as well as positive ones, can shape online reputation as a whole.

Customer Experience (really) Matters

Each negative experience is the product of some kind of oversight, whether it is as crucial as sending the wrong product or as subtle as any kind of damage to the package.

Luckily, most of your clients don't want to "harm" your company name for the sake of the principle: situations in which someone wants to "destroy" the business are rare or are a consequence of... a lack of reaction and ignoring the topic.

In most cases, a dissatisfied customer will try to reach you and explain the situation, so there is a big chance that with proper care for his needs, a negative opinion will never come online.

However, if negative reviews do appear, they will have an impact on buying decisions and the completion of transactions done by other customers. Social proof is a powerful psychological tool influencing each business. Yes - also in the case when the negative feedback was not exactly your fault. People can be dissatisfied with anything - even with... national parks.

Moreover, they do not trust e-commerce, which has only positive reviews. Research shows that they are more likely to buy from companies that have ratings on a scale of 4.0-4.7 out of 5.0 possible. At the end of the day, there is no need to cry over spilled milk - you should be a little bit happy with these few malcontent clients.

Negative Review versus poor communication & support

Every interaction - whether it's a negative online review or another form of contacting the company to simply discuss any part of the buying process, is a chance to get a better understanding of the customer's opinion and needs. It is also a great opportunity to look at potential problems: perhaps you can gain valuable tips for improving the quality of a product, or an opportunity to review the companies you work with - and, for example, use more timely courier services provider?

For consumers, the overall rating depends highly on how well every step in the selling process is handled, one of which is how companies deal with customer support and potential problems resolving. Staying in touch with consumers is crucial for your business and can truly shape how the company is perceived by the clients' community.

When new customers consider trying out your brand, you should keep in mind that not only the general service and buying decision process can have an impact on positive comments. After-sales communication is also important. Companies that respond to bad reviews are more likely to gather more regular clients - 45% of buyers declare being more likely to visit a business that replies to their concerns.

Negative feedback can lead to great discoveries in-service field and bring all the previous concerns to the surface which can help every company in further growth, especially when running small businesses. Brands that stay in touch with their clients can easily improve the buying experience and gather positive reviews in the future to truly confirm their development and take extra care of customers.

Negative Reviews: how do they influence sales

Can you remember the last time the service provided to you did not match your expectations? It surely is frustrating- when bad experiences occur it can ruin every bit of joy that was brought by the initial purchase decision.

Currently, many customers decide to give feedback to companies on dedicated pages for adding reviews. This is a good solution as it allows you to evaluate the level of service and satisfaction with the purchase even in the case when the company avoids contact, does not give the option to rate it on its website, and blocks negative comments posted on social media. The review site which collects the majority of reviewers is Google which doesn't come as a surprise - with fairly easy access, Google is flooded with reviews.

Most popular review sites: pages with opinions where customers most willingly publish their feedback. Source: Brightlocal.

Companies' responses to opinions published on a review site can mean that whatever the review may be saying, the brand is willing to face it and possibly fix it, which is an important sign to a customer that he is taken seriously and his negative review can bring some clarity not only to him but to the whole community.

Word of mouth advertising has always been one of the most powerful marketing activities and honestly - nobody can be blamed - it truly is a method that not only brings potential consumers closer to any kind of purchase decision but also gives them valuable insights into how the business runs in an overall perspective. 94 % of buyers stated that negative reviews have convinced them to not engage with the company. Considering this, it is obvious that every single review can either bring businesses more consumers or vice versa - discourage potential buyers.

Around 86% of local customers read online reviews, the same study shows that 80% of those aged 18-34 have written at least one. It's inevitable to get negative online reviews, the crucial part is to respond constructively - that is what can decrease any follow-up issues.

When it comes to brand reputation management, nowadays it centers around monitoring online reviews and any social media presence; it can be easily surveilled and help decrease negative reviews rate. Companies nowadays are expected to respond quickly - the distance between customer and business has been reduced by using social media, therefore not responding to online customer reviews can be taken personally.

Bad Opinions: Responding Best Practices

So what should you do when unhappy customers leave negative feedback on online reviews sites? First of all, you have to keep in mind that customer satisfaction is the fuel to our business's success, therefore every bad review should be treated as a guidepost to the overall prosperity of the business. Research shows that 91% of customers trust online reviews as a word of mouth, while 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week even though 63% say that they never got a response to their bad reviews. The takeaway here is simple- if you are interested in keeping your online reputation under control, you should consider answering those who comment.

A bad experience can bring a lot of negative outcomes for businesses, therefore any online interaction between the business and consumers should be thought through. A negative review will always reflect on the brand's weak spot. Every online review can be an important hint for business owners and definitely can bring a lot of clarity.

What you have to keep in mind is that customers mostly share their opinions online to not only protect any other consumers from negative experiences but also to see the business improve its services. 45% of consumers declare that they are more likely to visit a business that responds to negative online reviews.

When responding to such reviews, brands should be paying attention to putting themselves in customers' shoes- since they are only pointing out an area for improvement. Any concerns should be addressed - it will build trust and help with encouraging customers to voice their opinions. Staying authentic throughout it all is a great way of reputation management- if the person knows that on the other side there's another human being they will feel more satisfied with the response.

Another great way of compensating for any customer inconveniences and preventing further negative comments is to offer incentives. Make sure customer experience is as pleasant as can be, offer a chance to earn a gift card- not only it will be a nice gesture, but it will also motivate customers to shift from regular consumers to your businesses ambassadors.

The best practice is to also to take things offline - in customers' minds the expectations are set high and to get five-star reviews, you need to stay in touch with them. Address them by their name, ask politely how can you improve the services, and simply listen. If there's such a possibility - put on offline interaction and ask clients to call you. It's the simple contact gesture that improves overall ratings and decreases the negative online reviews which - in the end, is the product of their expectations not being met.

Summing Up: positive reviews and final thoughts

Maintaining a good online reputation as a company takes a little more work but pays off.

Try to get back to your little bit unhappy customers, address them personally by their name, and if possible, have a conversation offline. Treat every feedback as valuable (this also applies to negative review issues). People really pay attention to how companies respond to criticism - so convert consumer dissatisfaction into a good experience in a matter of contact and communication; if you're correctly read customer's mind and explain your mistakes and in some way compensate for the inconvenience, maybe the next opinions issued online by the same customer will be positive feedback.

Simply put, all you need to do is gently answer both positive and negative reviews. After all customer review is the way of showing customer engagement that may have a great influence on your overall business success!

Sales Development Representative at Linker Cloud. Beginning her journey in the fulfillment sector after one year in the automotive field.

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