All About Reviews! How to Creatively Use Good Ones and Deal with Bad Ones

The internet changed the way we do business in so many ways. One of the biggest changes? Customers gained a whole lot more power with the emergence of online reviews. Word of mouth went from meaning literally that –  a small group of people in one area recommending (or not recommending) your business – to a whole worldwide web of people being able to express their opinions about your product or service. Reviews can make or break your business, so hopefully you’ve got plenty of good ones! If you do, it’s time to start thinking of creative ways to make them work for you. If you have some bad ones, well, don’t fret! Use our tips for dealing with those not-so-hot reviews.

laptop screen with 5 yellow stars with a mouse pointing at the fifth star.

Make Your Positive Reviews Work For You!

Ok, let’s start with the good reviews, which hopefully you’ve got lots of. Reading them might make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but don’t keep them to yourself! You should be actively using them to keep your business growing. Try these ways to make the most of them:

  • Change it up – While you should use positive testimonials in your print and online advertising, you don’t have to always have to have long, word-for-word reviews on every bit of advertising. Try streamlining things by using your 5-star average from a site like Amazon. Or, if a popular blogger or influencer has featured your product or business, ask them if you can use their logo on your website. 
  • Go in depth – You can streamline your reviews, but you can also go more in-depth and do a full case study of one (or more) of your customers’ experiences. A good case study tells the full story of a customer’s experience with your business and shows exactly how they benefited from your services. You’ll then generate promotional content that will attract more customers!
  • Share the love – Customers need to see your positive reviews, but so do your team members! Growth doesn’t only come from outside of your business; it also comes from within, so it’s more than worth it to show your team evidence that they’re doing good work. Once a month, do a roundup of the best feedback your company has gotten and circulate it to your staff as a way to boost morale and show them how they’re specifically making an impact.
  • Try a twist on testimonials – There’s nothing that says reviews have to stay in cyberspace, or simply be transplanted from the internet to a print ad. Think outside the traditional online testimonial and find an unusual way to show off your positive reviews. For example, if you have an office space that clients frequent, have positive reviews printed on coasters and offer them coffee or water and put their drinks on the coasters – they’re sure to notice! 

    two red balloons with white discount signs in them
    One way to get more reviews is by a referral program such as offering a discount for their positive review.
  • Put them on the wall of fame – Similarly, you can show off your accomplishments in a dedicated space in your office, like on a wall of fame. Use reviews, deals you’ve done, houses you’ve sold – whatever your business is, your customers will see just how capable you are if you flaunt your successes. 
  • Get in the loop – You’ve got customers raving about you, so give them an incentive to tell more of their friends about you. Create a referral program that offers rewards or discounts to your customers if they share their positive experience with their social network. Also known as a viral loop, this type of program is beneficial to your customer, their referrals, and you! 
  •  Bring your customers on board – You can go a step further, and ask satisfied customers to become “brand ambassadors” for you. Ask customers if they’d be willing to connect with prospective customers, to get your relationship off to a positive start. 

So now that you’ve got some fresh ideas for what to do with those glowing reviews, it’s time to think about those dreaded less-than-stellar reviews. What happens when a customer just isn’t happy – so unhappy that they’re willing to tell the world about it?

Yikes! You’ve Got Bad Reviews! Now What? 

They’re nerve-racking statistics, but they’re real: Customers who have a bad experience are two to three times more likely to write an angry review than customers who have had a great experience are to post a happy review. In addition, one negative review online (when not countered by positive reviews) can cost up to 30 new customers AND it takes 12 positive reviews to cancel out the nasty side effects of just one negative review. a green smile face, orange straight face and red sad face with a checkmark in the box next to the red one.

So what do you do if you’ve received one (or more) of these negative reviews? First of all, Don’t panic!  One thing those statistics should tell you is that you’re certainly not alone. And you know what? Not only are negative reviews not actually that hard to deal with, they can actually be good for your business. Yes, you read that right! You just need to know how to combat them, and use them to your advantage. Here’s how:

  • Put them out there!  Don’t try to hide negative reviews, publish them. It’s natural to have some unhappy customers, and allowing your negative reviews to stay out there shows you have nothing to hide, and makes your business seem more authentic. Remember, customers tend to trust reviews more when they see a mix of good and bad reviews. 
  • Listen… Show that you care and that you’re listening to your customers by responding publicly to each negative review. Research shows that businesses that respond to negative reviews actually tend to see a rise in revenue. Include in your response: 
      • An apology
      • A statement of your commitment to customer satisfaction
      • A proposed resolution
      • A way to take the conversation offline

        don't forget to follow up written on a calendar date.
        When you have a bad review, make it right by following up with the customer to see what’s wrong and how you can fix it.
  • …And learn – Take each negative review as a learning experience, and use it as a way to improve your business. Is there anything you can learn about your products or service from the negative feedback? Stop bad reviews at the source by addressing any issues brought up by your customers.
  • Make it right, but don’t forget to follow up – Once you’ve come to a (hopefully satisfactory) resolution with your customer, make sure to follow up with them. The resolution AND your commitment to them will stick with them long after the bad experience with your business will – and they’ll be more likely to amend their negative review!
  • Get more reviews – One practical way to counteract negative reviews? Get more reviews, period! Studies show that 86% of reviews are actually good reviews, so getting more positive feedback is simply a numbers game. 

Reviews. Every business is going to get them, and every business needs to know how to handle them, whether good or bad. Positive reviews can grow your business, but you’ve got to get them out there! Bad reviews can set you back temporarily, but if you use our tips for dealing with them, you’ll come away from a bad experience stronger than before. And remember, any kind of review can help your SEO – remember that old saying, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

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