It’s understandable for business owners and marketers to dread nasty feedback from unhappy customers. It’s even worse when they vent their spleens online, posting negative reviews on the company’s own or resellers’ websites, in independent customer forums, Amazon reviews, etc.
Some companies even go so far as to try and squelch or remove them if they can. Which isn’t exactly the spirit of openness and honesty the interwebs are famous for.
But surprise! Negative reviews are not necessarily the kiss of death. As CNN/Money (via Consumerist) reported, sales can still increase. One company discovered that sales on a particular sweater increased 23%, even though its ratings were less than stellar (e.g., three stars out of five).
“People are really researching their purchases,” said AlpacaDirect.com co-founder Jim Hobart. ‘We knew our customers liked our products, and we wanted them to tell one another.’
Here’s my take on negative reviews:
- All reviews, even mediocre ones, tend to reduce the “fear of the unknown” factor which can stop sales in their tracks.
- Something that might be a dealbreaker for one customer might not matter that much to another.
- The seller appears stronger, more confident, even fearless, by allowing both negative and positive reviews.
- And of course, negative reviews can be a form of market research. They can help you decide where you need to improve.
And be honest. Haven’t you ever read a negative review of a product or service you’re perfectly happy with? Haven’t you sometimes wondered, ‘What is this guy’s problem?’ A review that’s dripping with hatred and bile sometimes says more about the reviewer than the product.