How Negative Reviews Can Play a Positive Role in Your Customer Engagement Strategy

Providing the right expectation for shoppers starts with ratings and reviews, even the not so good ones. When shopping online, do you read the negative reviews about a product or brand? If so, they probably helped provide a good expectation of what to expect from the retailer, in the best- and worst-case scenarios. Providing this type of customer insight is pivotal in the process of building trust with unfamiliar shoppers and providing an outlet for current customers to engage with you. 

Improving the overall shopping experience should be one of a retailer’s top priorities. Although it’s not among the goals of any retailer, receiving a bad review can serve as a necessary evil in optimizing the customer experience. For online retailers, negative reviews may be the only way for unhappy customers to express a problem that may desperately need to be addressed in order to grow.  
 
Below are a few examples of how negative reviews can make a positive contribution to your customer engagement strategy. 

By Helping Retailers Identify Areas of Improvement

There’s no shortage of effort that goes into providing a complete customer experience. Between merchandising, marketing and order fulfillment, finding out about areas for improvement can be difficult. Nonetheless, listening to customers who have valuable feedback is still an important part of creating an experience that keeps them coming back. The thing about customers is often, they’re the first ones to find out about a problem with a product. Bad reviews provide retailers with an opportunity to fix problems well before they impact more customers.  
 
With negative reviews, retailers have the chance to show new customers they genuinely care about their experience. Additionally, negative reviews have the power of providing new shoppers with reassurance they can’t get from positive ones. This is especially the case when retailers use a ratings and reviews platform that allows customers to update their reviews following receiving a solution from the retailer. Seeing the natural progression of an interaction that started off on the wrong foot end with a solution may be exactly what it takes for skeptical shoppers to gain trust in a new retailer. 

They Help Earn the Trust of New Customers 

Negative reviews are a great way for unfamiliar shoppers to get an idea of what a brand is all about. Seeing a customer leave a negative review with no response from the retailer has a much different impression on a shopper than seeing a retailer actively engage with customers to ensure the bad experience doesn’t repeat itself. Chances are, a bad experience with a service or product could stem from a lack of product knowledge, shipping issues or another issue that could easily be resolved with direct communication with the retailer. Studies show, 72% of customers say negative reviews help them make more informed shopping decisions.  

Having no negative reviews can decrease trust of your brand or product to your customers. Negative reviews give customers the “worst case scenario” and your UGC can help build truthfulness for your brand. Even though conventional wisdom says having a reviews page with nothing but 5-star reviews is amazing for your reputation, the opposite is likely going through the mind of new shoppers. Research says 95% of customers gain skepticism that reviews have been censored or fabricated when they are free of any negative reviews. The key to leveraging negative reviews is by engaging customers directly, which may result in preserving long-lasting customer relationships. 

Gives Retailers a Chance to Make Amends with Unhappy Customers

Typically, when a shopper is unhappy with a purchase they’ve made, they end up moving on to shopping with another retailer. When retailers receive reviews from customers who aren’t happy with their purchase, they have the chance to do two things that can have a long-term impact on their bottom line.

  • Repair a relationship with a loyal customer 
  • Make a great impression on prospective new customers 
     

There aren’t many opportunities to repair fractured relationships with unhappy customers before they move on to a different retailer. By responding to negative reviews, retailers display a customer-first approach which will likely guide new customers along their path to purchase.  
 
For example, suppose you’re shopping for a new smartwatch, and you stumble across one you haven’t seen anywhere else. Being unfamiliar with the retailer, you take a look at their product reviews for a while, to see a conversation between a different shopper and the retailer centered around your biggest concern – fit. Not having seen this type of dialogue from any of the other retailers’ websites you checked, you now have enough confidence to move forward with the purchase by learning from the bad experience of a different shopper.  
 
The ideal ratings and reviews platform provides retailers with an avenue to learn about areas where their product, processes and overall customer experience can improve. With a suite that includes features like social QA, retailers have the power to turn their product pages into education hubs for both familiar and new shoppers alike. To get more details about how negative reviews can improve your relationship with customers, set up a time to speak with a representative today. 
 
 

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