We’ve all based our hotel, restaurant and excursion decisions on reviews, be it through recommendations by friends or family or through advisory forums online, but can negative reviews actually be productive and encourage visitors?
Negative feedback can, on the surface, be seen to damage business with brands appearing out of control of preventing these complaints reaching the public, but brands aren’t as out of control as they might appear. Instead of brushing negative reviews under the carpet and burying their heads in the sand, businesses should pro-actively and transparently address complaints via social media platforms and turn such negatives into positives.
Consumers value these reviews because they trust the unedited opinions of their peers far more than official information sources such as advertising or sales assistants. Through working with brands, running consumer surveys and extensive testing it has been found that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both positive and negative comments. No product or service is completely perfect – but consumers want to know of these negatives in order to weigh them up against the positives and make an informed decision.
Another aspect to consider is the possibility that what one customer deems as a bad experience, may quite easily be a positive to another. For example, one guest at a hotel could complain that too many children ruined their peaceful, relaxing experience – but to a parent planning a family holiday, this could be seen as an advantage.
The mere presence of bad reviews is not enough to put consumers off entirely – it’s the ratio of good to bad that either entices or repels. A handful of bad reviews carry much less weight with readers when they appear alongside hundreds of good reviews. Less than 1% of consumers leave a retailer’s website after seeing one badly reviewed product.
Consumers are automatically suspicious when reviews contain 100% positive reviews and are absent of complaints. Some may even suspect censorship or fabrication, driving them towards your competitors.
Consumers who actively seek out negative reviews on a website are 67% more likely to buy a product than those not looking for negative reviews. Strange as it seems, bad reviews are one of the most effective conversion tools available.
If you only have negative reviews on your site you will almost certainly damage your brand and sales as a result. When you make no effort to actively encourage consumers to review your products or services, only those with a serious complaint or poor experience will take the time to leave a review. They will be fuelled by anger or disappointment. Consider contacting customers inviting them to leave a review – this may give happy customers the little nudge they need to leave positive feedback. This will mean the reviews on your site are much more representative of the quality of service you offer, and that the bad reviews are taken in the correct context.
In the right numbers and right context, bad reviews will improve customer satisfaction, turn browsers into buyers and buyers into loyal returning customers. Trust in the brand is essential and honest reviews are an excellent way to generate this trust.
Website in image: Trip Advisor