Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

Embrace the Negative Review

Negative Review Happy DanceOnline Customer Reviews

Nobody is perfect. And, no company is perfect. It’s not a matter of if you will ever have a customer complain. It’s when. Something is going to fail. It may or may not be your fault or in your control, but you are going to hear about it. And there is a chance that your customer will tell more people than just you. They will shout it out to the rest of the world by airing their disappointment on Twitter, Facebook or other social channels. Or they will post their comments on Yelp, Trip Advisor or other review sites. And don’t think that this is limited to just B2C types of businesses. There are hundreds of B2B industry review sites for customers to leave their negative reviews.

All that said, a negative review is not so bad. I’ll give you two reasons.

  1. First, I’ll assume that you don’t get that many negative reviews. I know this is a big assumption, but I have to assume that if you’re taking the time to read my articles and watch my videos, you are focused on creating a positive customer experience. What that means is that you care enough about a customer that is disappointed or angry that you want to “right the wrong.” If a negative review is posted, the good companies respond with an apology and make the attempt to fix the problem. They come back later and thank the customer for the opportunity to resolve the issue. That publically shows that you do the right thing. It looks good and shows you care and will stand behind what you do or sell.
  2. A less than perfect score in the review sites with a few negative comments may not be so bad. What I’m saying is that an occasional, and occasional is the operative word here, negative review can actually be good. Tom Ryan, writing for RetailWire, shared some insights from a recent Northwestern University study. On the five star scale, when the star ratings are higher than three, the likelihood of a customer buying increases. But here is where it gets really interesting. That likelihood of a purchase peaks when the average star rating is, on average, between 4.2 and 4.5. The team conducting the study at Northwestern reasons that when the average is a perfect 5.0, consumers think that it is “too good to be true” and as a result, ignore the ratings because they are assumed fake.

Here is the bottom line. A negative review, like any complaint, is an opportunity to show how good you are. The difference is that review sites take that opportunity public, which can be good; very good!

When people are looking at review sites, they are looking for confidence to support their desire to buy whatever you’re selling. Peer reviews are important. Seeing that a company fixes a problem may be even more important. Embrace the negative review as the opportunity to show the world that you take care of your customers!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)

 
  1. That is a great Blog Shep! Too good to be true doesn’t exist. We are all human and humans make mistakes. let’s hope they are mistakes and organisations want to DO good. Acting on feedback is the first step, when asking feedback. Choose your own customer experience strategy. But acting on the negative feedback is the fundament on your Review system.

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