There are many competing brands in the marketplace. When businesses offer a similar service or product, consumer feedback is key to standing out. Regardless of the industry, customer reviews are a vital source of information for many consumers in the . In fact, an incredible 97% of shoppers read reviews beforehand, and 28% actively search for negative feedback as a way to choose between similar businesses.
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Many businesses make the mistake of assuming that a positive review is the only feedback worth having. Complimentary feedback certainly has its benefits, but negative feedback should not be ignored. Businesses are beginning to harness negative feedback and use it to their advantage.
Businesses are turning negative reviews into a positive
According to a report by customer feedback experts Feefo, a third of people have shared negative feedback online about a company they have purchased from. However, 44% of consumers who left negative feedback used the business again after they received a satisfactory response.
This demonstrates how beneficial a negative review can be if it’s handled correctly. A negative review is rarely enough to turn someone away from a business altogether when used as an opportunity to engage and make amends. So why are so many business owners inherently scared of them?
Responding to negative feedback can have a huge impact – 35% of people who felt their problem was handled effectively went on to follow their criticism with a positive review. Similarly, 40% of consumers who had previously left a negative review about a business went on to post positive comments on social media about the business at a later date.
This highlights just how effective it can be for a business to acknowledge and handle negative feedback well. When done right, it could actually lead to an increase in positive feedback overall.
Ignoring negative feedback is not an option in a competitive market
During the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown of March and April 2020, feedback on brands’ performance increased by 40%. In this period, customer ratings fell by 18.5%, and 43% of consumers believed companies had been less effective at dealing with negative reviews. This slump could be attributed to companies struggling to navigate running a business in the midst of a pandemic, but there would be long-term ramifications if this was the norm.
There are business owners who are tempted to ignore negative comments and reviews online, hoping to avoid drawing attention to them. However, research indicates that this could be the worst thing to do. Failing to respond to a negative review would be enough to convince 44% of people to avoid using that business in the future, with 37% going one step further and warning others to avoid the company.
Finding the balance between positive and negative reviews online
There is no way of eliminating negative customer feedback completely, regardless of how good a company’s customer service may be. But this can have advantages. Almost a third of consumers claimed that a lack of negative reviews would deter them from making a purchase, and 22% said a company without any poor feedback could look suspicious.
It’s vital for a business to be seen as authentic, trustworthy, and genuine online. It is difficult to achieve with positive feedback alone, as this can be perceived as fake or disingenuous. Many consumers are actively looking for negative or critical feedback as reassurance.
With 72% of consumers being concerned with fake feedback, many businesses are keen to avoid insincere complimentary reviews. Though too much negativity could drive potential consumers away, businesses must strike a balance.