Negative Reviews: How Bad are They?
How do Negative Reviews Hurt My Business?
Reviews are an integral part of your business. People look at reviews to decide where to eat, what to do and the best item to purchase. Consumer behavior is driving the need to have a steady stream of up to date and relevant reviews. If you want to build a successful small business or grow your established business to its full potential, reviews will inevitably be a part of the puzzle. Customers trust businesses with positive reviews. So, what do you do when you receive a negative review?
It may feel difficult at the time,but it's important to--- stay calm, have empathy and react gracefully.
All reviews can make a huge difference in your business. However, negative can have extensive, long term impact. Your profitability and prestige are directly associated with reviews. One study shows that one negative review can drive away 22% of customers and three negative reviews can drive away up to 59% of customers. As a business owner, these numbers should be concerning and make you take action. Word of mouth continues to be a leading form of referral and communication. Still, a 2017 consumer survey shows that 95% of shoppers ages 18-34 read reviews before making a purchase and on average read 10 reviews before making a purchase.
Positive reviews are powerful. They bring in business, make you stand out amongst your peers and build trust.
Unfortunately, there's the dark side of reviews-- negative reviews. Negative reviews can spread quickly and impact your business adversely. Everything you have been building and growing as a business can get sidelined by a negative review and prevent a shopper from purchasing from you.
Take a deep breath, because the great news is this - you have a powerful tool - your ability to reply to reviews.
As mentioned before, stay calm, this is your opportunity to show your customer you care. Your customer has provided you valuable insight. Is this an isolated incident are is there a pattern to your negative reviews? Negative reviews can point out production or quality issues that need to be addressed. As a growing business, you may only want positive reviews, but customers have more trust in a business with some negative reviews. After all, businesses can't be perfect in every way. We have previously discussed how Amazon uses star ratings and how important reviews are to the platform. All reviews are important because your consumers have influence on your business both on and offline. One negative review can cost you on average 30 customers. If you multiply what your average customer spends (i.e. $200.00) times thirty (lost customers) per each one or two-star reviews and you could severely feel the pain of unsatisfied customers. In this instance, one negative review could cost you to miss out on $6,000 annually.
Generally speaking, reviews are great for business and you could appropriately incentivize your customer to leave feedback. A simple way is to suggest they leave a review on your website, facebook or amazon page. Be diligent in gathering positive reviews. This will help the necessary and inevitable negative reviews you will receive. Overall, the more reviews you have the better you can understand how your business is performing and where you stand in public perception.
Gambling with Reviews
When customers are scanning reviews and researching products, opinions about your business are being formed. Before you meet your customers directly they have information on you, gathered from reviews. This shows the power of reviews to influence your customers. A business without reviews is too much of a gamble for some customers. Don't be afraid of the negative ones- you can show superior customer service and create a positive experience for your customers that will have them coming back for more.
Takeaways from dealing with Negative Reviews
- Stay calm
- Transform a negative experience into a positive one by showing empathy
- Most importantly, respond to your customers-- engage with them
Customer satisfaction is essential to your business. No matter your industry or product, you'll need reviews to grow. Reviews are a direct line to customers. Your customers are willing to shop around for positive engagement with businesses. All reviews, including negative reviews, are the easiest research you can conduct for your business.