New Study: Negative (Polite) Reviews Aren’t So Bad for Business
Search Engine Optimization
Businesses often react strongly to all bad reviews made about their products and services. However, new research suggests that not all negative reviews are created equal. And not all of them have the same damaging effects for a brand.
A recent survey published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that negative reviews that were offset by a politeness factor could help sell products.
Often times, phrases such as, “I don’t want to be mean, but…” “to be honest,” were often ways to soften a review before bringing on the bad news and lets the reader or listener know that negative information is coming.
A Luxury Watch
In one experiment, participants were asked to read a long-page description of a product review for a luxury watch with one polite customer complaint, “I don’t want to be mean, but the band pinches a bit.”
Surprisingly, participants were willing to pay more ($136 vs $95) for the wristwatch even after reading the description. Additionally, the study found that participants evaluated the personality of the brand as more honest, cheerful, down-to-earth, and wholesome after reading that same review.
The authors of the study concluded that their “research raises the intriguing possibility that brands might benefit when polite customers write reviews of their products, even when those reviews include negative opinions.”
Why Customer Reviews are the Key to Your Marketing Success
Customer reviews provide insight into product quality and can often times help you make better decisions about what products to manufacture or carry. If a certain products is reviewed well and high in demand, you know how to gauge it through customer reviews.
Additionally, customer reviews are a perfect opportunity to show your brand personality, customer service, and repair a customer relationship. According to Social Media Today, 95% of unhappy customers are likely to return to a company in the future if the issue was resolved in a timely and professional manner.
To make the most out of negative reviews, businesses will have to remember two things:
1. Avoid Getting Defensive
Don’t combat, argue, or berate the negative reviewer. Instead, respond in a professional manner and hear him or her out on the matter. Always provide a way to offer customer support and offer ways you can redeem their loyalty. If accountable for the incident or experience, businesses will be better off owning up to it.
2. Avoid Removing Negative Reviews
It’s important to resist deleting or removing negative reviews or comments you receive about your business. Onlookers or potential customers who may interested in your brand may think you have something to hide. Of course, for ultra offensive or vulgar comments, they may need to be removed for the sake of other readers. Use your judgement, but not because you’re avoiding negative publicity or judgement. These might actually help you in the long run.