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What Can We Learn from Controversial Reviews?

What Can We Learn from Controversial Reviews?

Every business owner has been there: you’re coasting along, feeling good about your business, and you’re alerted to a negative review. Whether it is on Yelp, Google Reviews, or another website, that negative review can feel like an absolute blow.

Bad reviews are controversial in the digital marketing world. There are many different strategies for responding to negative reviews, but in this blog post, we want to cover the things we stand to learn from negative reviews.

With bad reviews, it’s important to remember one thing: it’s easy to get defensive and to assume a customer is lying or exaggerating. So before you react, take a few deep breaths and read through our thoughts on why bad reviews aren’t as devastating as they might seem.


Consumers trust both negative & positive reviews.


You might think you’re doing great when you only have positive reviews about your business—but studies have shown that consumers are more likely to trust a business that has both negative and positive reviews. Hiding negative reviews can have the opposite effect of what you intend because it makes it seem like either you’re paying for positive reviews.


Consumers feel better informed when they see negative reviews.


It’s important to remember that from a customer’s point of view, they are looking for a more rounded look at your business and what you offer: they want to know the good and the bad points.

I know when I’m buying a product, I read every single review, including the negative or bad ones. It helps me get an idea of exactly what I’m paying for and if it’s the product that I am hoping for.


Responding to negative feedback builds trust.


Leaving negative reviews up, but without a response, can feel like the best route to go: you don’t rise to it, you don’t get angry, and so, you don’t respond, right?

Responding to negative reviews and taking responsibility for any mistakes that may have happened builds trust among your customers and potential customers. Your response matters though: it’s easy to try to prove wrong everything a review says, but it’s more trustworthy to respond with ways in which you will fix what happened or make the process at your business better to prevent future mistakes.


We have the opportunity to engage customers.


When you respond to negative reviews, you can effectively engage with customers who have had a bad experience. You can make the situation right and turn a negative into a positive for them. When you engage with your customers, even those who aren’t happy with you, in a way that is authentic, kind, and positive, you can build trust and make a difference.


We have the opportunity to learn and grow.


We all have weak spots. Maybe a negative review has pointed out a specific weak spot in your business; maybe you’ve known this, or maybe you’re just realizing it. Either way, that negative review has brought it into the open and you have the opportunity to take responsibility for it and fix it. Maybe you need write a new policy to cover what happened. Maybe you need to hire an additional manager. Or maybe you need to address issues with your product or service. Taking these factors into account can help your business grow, ultimately.


How do you move forward after a particularly rough review?


So, you know that negative reviews can be a good thing; you know that you have the opportunity to engage with customers, take responsibility for what happened, and improve your business. What now? What do you do to move on from a particularly rough review? It’s easy to let it shake your confidence.

Our best advice is this: project positivity. On social media, in your response to the review, and in your everyday business, project positivity. Highlight what you’ve done to change, how you’re improving your business, and more. Even if you’re feeling particularly down after a bad review, it’s important to still remain positive in your business.

We’ve seen many businesses meltdown over bad reviews. They post them publicly, ridicule the writer, and more. If the review was written specifically to rile up a business owner, then the writer has gotten what they wanted. This is absolutely unnecessary and not the way to deal with critical feedback—it goes without saying that it almost always backfires and seems to validate a negative review.

If you need help with handling reviews and your online reputation, we can help. Send us a note here.
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