6 Good Things About Negative Reviews

Did you know that the star ratings are of less importance than the content of reviews and that readers are more inclined to convert if there are some negative reviews?

Those are not the only good things about negative reviews. Read my recent post at GetFivestars.com: 6 Good Things About Negative Reviews for a whole list of reasons that negative reviews should not only not be feared but should be embraced.

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6 Good Things About Negative Reviews by

15 thoughts on “6 Good Things About Negative Reviews”

  1. All good points, and I like to harp on #4 with clients (especially with clients who are freaked out by review platforms in the first place.)

    But I also think, with #4, there’s a serious risk of businesses looking smarmy or disingenuous. I recently tore up a terrible Toyota dealership on Yelp and the responses to their one star reviews are filled with lines like “We pride ourselves on honest and courteous service”, “At Livermore Toyota, we try to give our customers the best” and “Here at Livermore Toyota we always strive to make the car buying process as efficient as possible.” They even start several of their responses to one-star reviews with “thank you for taking the time to leave a review” (through gritted teeth, I’m sure.)

    Maybe that approach works with super rich customers who are used to a little ass kissing, but to the rest of us it looks like they care more about appearances and doing damage control on bad reviews than actually making customers happy.

  2. I totally agree with you. The response to a negative review can quickly fall into business platitudes that end up pissing clients off.

    I have ben thinking about that as I was looking at some responses yesterday. It is a bigger problem for national chains and locations with lots of complaints.

    I am not sure that I have an answer to the problem… although some of it might be solved by private communications. I have been thinking about it as it is a growing problem as businesses understand that they must respond… more and more do so with business bs.

  3. Agreed 100%.

    I don’t spend a lot of time looking at national chains, but in the SMB world I think some of it has to do with business owners and managers who don’t use the internet as consumers often enough.

    More than once, I’ve heard a plumber say “I know I have to be active on social media, and I heard about this program that will automatically post to Twitter five times a day…” To them, it seems like a reasonable way to be ‘active on social media’ because they’ve never been on the other end of the equation.

    The best answer I’ve come up with (not that it’s easy to implement…) is to sit the owner or manager down and make them experience the other side first hand. I’ve found that a lot of businesses who underperform on Yelp are run by people who don’t even have Yelp accounts. So, I’ll set one up for them while we’re in the same room, get them to review one business they do like and one business they don’t, and let them get a feel for what it’s like on the other side.

    I like to think of it as hopping into the cattle chute with Temple Grandin.

  4. Mike – I wrote a post with very similar sentiment last year – http://blog.bizyhood.com/why-you-should-embrace-negative-reviews.

    It’s very tough for small business owners, because a negative review is a slight on them personally. They don’t have a big corporate name to hide behind (or at least that perception). It takes a certain personality to be comfortable with somebody telling you what’s *wrong* with you – and you having the capability to respond gracefully.

    With that said, it’s a critical customer support skill to have, and those that do it tend to have thriving businesses. We strongly recommend every small business do it, knowing full well many of them never will.

  5. Negative reviews are reviews nevertheless, and they bring attention to your product – some people even might want to check your place out because someone posted a negative reviews. Reverse psychology at its finest!

  6. When you work with lawyers, it’s always difficult to manage expectations with reviews. It’s pretty rare that an attorney has a 100% satisfied client, (DUI, Divorce, Etc). There’s almost no circumstance when someone is going to be “5 star pleased” because when you’re dealing with the law things can’t be how the client wants them to be. Certainly the other side of a divorce settlement could be upset that they got the short end of the stick and will put a negative review on their exes lawyer’s Yelp profile just to try and harm them. I try to tell my attorney clients that all reviews are good, respond to them in a fair and balanced manner, even if they’re inaccurate, and most prospects will be able to see through the clutter.

  7. This is a pretty touchy subject. With the onset of yelp, people are more review crazy than ever. This being said, people are faking reviews left and right. Even if you think yelp has the best review algorithm, it’s still fairly easy to create “fake” review profiles with yelp.

    Step1: create a profile, use yelp like a normal person.
    Step2: keep checking into locations
    Step3: build up a history of quality reviews
    Step4: leave your business a review

    This is being done across many industries and it’s pretty tough for yelp to stop all the “fake” reviews, especially if the fake review is a 4 star review for example.

    Nothing wrong with a 4 star review folks…. We all use Amazon.

    The thing I disagree with here is that a 1 star review is no good. This can lower your ctr and conversion by as much as 45%.

    That’s pretty bad. In any case, try to limit the bad reviews, do what you can to make people happy. This is you job as a business owner. Right?

  8. Now you’ve got me thinking about a .5stars TLD, which would probably be the most abused TLD of all time. I can see it now:


  9. @joeGoldstein – I love it!! Here is the pitch:

    Well Mr. Business Owner, we were able to lockdown your domain name abcplumbersf.5star and if you don’s choose us as your SEO company of choice, you reputation may be tarnished.

    Reviews, Reviews, Reviews… Thanks YELP!

  10. How about you just actually give good service and then you’ll never have to worry about negative reviews. Don’t get angry when your customers don’t kiss your ass. Just improve your service. I feel like any service that is of decent quality has at least 4 stars, which is enough for most consumers. This article annoys me because the title implies that negative reviews will happen regardless. NO, just give good service and that won’t happen. Even if it does happen the amount of negative review scores would be negligible.

  11. Dear Basd

    Most small business folks have yet to come to the point you are at and many fear getting the occasional bad review.

    But as you have just proven, even a someone that is really trying to give good service (me) can get taken to task by their customer (you).

    When that happens I suggest that the business owner read my article and see why that is a good thing.

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