Why Bad Reviews Can Be Good For Your Business

Richard Liu
Apr 21, 2019 · 5 min read
Most businesses underestimate the importance of reviews

Every startup or business will receive bad reviews no matter what they build or do. The bigger you get, the likelihood of the amount you get increasing. What is often a misconception though are that bad reviews means bad business.

This is not always the case!

Having negative reviews for your business or startup can actually be more beneficial than you think.

Bad Reviews Assist in Buying Decisions

When consumers or even businesses go to look at reviews, they not only look at positive ones but also negative ones.

Negative reviews can provide a more realistic look into your business and actually provide more trust than having all 5 Star positive reviews.

The reason why negative ones are looked at in the first place is to find out why other people were dissatisfied with the product.

It may come surprisingly that most people write ‘bad’ reviews not because the product was bad but because it did not meet expectations.

A Yotpo study of 1.3 million reviews found that the most commonly used negative word in reviews — by an enormous margin — is “disappointment” or “disappointed.”

This data is actually, in fact, more useful than many businesses realize as it can be harnessed to better present their products.

The problems could be something simple such as sizing issues or even unclear images. This can allow the business to make amends for future buyers.

Bad Reviews Gives You A Chance To Respond

What happens when you receive a bad review?

There are several options from censoring the review or even responding negatively.

However, both options have shown to actually backfire towards the business and cause more harm than the original comment.

This is because generally, it puts your business in a more negative light and also reduces the trust people have for it.

There are generally two ways of handling negative comments:

  1. Proper response with a solution

As shown below, although the review was not meant for the original business, by giving a proper response, it actually changed a one star to a five-star review (for free!)

2. Humour

Humour is always a good way to go if sensible.

Wendy’s does a great job at this through their Twitter account.

Just below is one of the funny exchanges you can expect to find on it. It’s always important to understand when and when you can and can’t use humor but when done well, it shows the more ‘human’ side of your business.

Bad Reviews Gives You a Chance To Make Amends

Answering each customer review is an important must for every business even if it’s positive.

But what’s most essential is covering the problematic ones as well.

Looking at the airline industry, a study done by Wayne Huang and others on HBR reveals some interesting statistics on airlines that respond to tweets quickly.

Looking at the graph above, we see that the quicker the company replies to a tweet, correlates with how much extra a customer is willing to pay for a ticket.

Airlines that reply to tweets in less than 5 minutes will have customers willing to pay $20 more for a ticket.

Continuing on the story of airlines, in a major delay due to severe weather in Atlanta, a Delta airline flight was stuck. In a gesture of good will, they ordered 600 pizzas for their passengers who experienced the delays on the flights.

Here’s what Julieta McCurry, Delta’s Managing Director of U.S. Marketing Communications and Sponsorships, said:

“Empathy always has and continues to drive our experience design, service, and delivery. With a new year, we renew that commitment.”

I am sure even with this small gesture of making amends, the passengers on the flight were more than happy with Delta’s response to a situation that could not be changed.

Even I got a very quick reply when I tweeted early this year below!

Bad Reviews Highlight Positive Ones

As ironic as it sounds, having bad reviews can actually highlight your positive ones.

As mentioned earlier, people do compare reviews when looking to make a purchase.

By doing a side-by-side comparison of positive and negative reviews, it can showcase both sides of the picture.

Some negative reviews may even list all the pros and cons of the product, which can prove to be quite useful for customers looking for unbiased reviews which can inevitably highlight positive reviews concurrently.

Most Importantly, Bad Reviews Help You Improve

Keeping your customer happy has never been more important than it is today. With more businesses paying attention to reviews and NPS scores, businesses are looking to not only grow but sustain their business.

With many startups failing every day, it’s important to understand why customers are giving a negative review.

Ironically, the biggest industry with the most failed startups is actually, in fact, in the information industry where 63% of startups fail.

So instead of puffing your chest out and being annoyed when you get a negative review, look at it as a blessing and learn from the negatives to create a positive for your business.

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Richard Liu

Written by

Lover of Startups and Sushi → Sign up for the latest startup, tech, and marketing updates: https://cornertechmarketing.substack.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +787K followers.

Richard Liu

Written by

Lover of Startups and Sushi → Sign up for the latest startup, tech, and marketing updates: https://cornertechmarketing.substack.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +787K followers.

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