Good Reviews vs Bad Reviews

Which are more important for a company?

How important are customer reviews? I recently wrote a piece on how to ask for them, but are they as important as all the marketing gurus say they are? Does a good review actually do something for your company? It seems like a no-brainer that a good review is important but what if I told you a bad review is far more important for a company or small business than a good review. Would you like to know more?...

Yes, good reviews are great, it’s always nice to read something positive being said about the business you work for. Good reviews are valuable for another reason too as they help potential clients decide whether or not to trust your business and they are therefore a key element when it comes to making purchasing decisions. You may already know this or you may not but certain good reviews can also assist in your SEO efforts and help your website get ranked better by some search engines. So we’ve established that yes, good reviews can have a positive impact on business.

OK, that’s all well and good but a review is only a very small snapshot of a moment where everything went to plan for a customer, a purchase without problems, a delivery without errors or a telephone conversation without a hitch. This is great but what, as a business, do we learn from this? “Oh, well we did our job properly.” Is that really cause for a good review? A good review is when you really make a customer happy they chose you. Doing the job is what we should be doing anyway. What, if anything, does a good review really teach a business owner? Not a lot really.

Now we come to the bad reviews. How could a bad review possibly have a positive outcome? Well, believe it or not, like it or not, a bad review is a huge opportunity to learn and a real chance for your business to truly shine. Yes, there will always be someone who no matter what you did right will for whatever reason - perhaps they are having a bad day, jump on social media and write an awful review and sometimes it may even transpire that it was not your fault. Perhaps they made a mistake and didn’t want to accept the responsibility for it. Perhaps it was a third party like the Delivery Company or postal service. Whatever the reason, a bad review is a call to action to resolve an issue. To find a way to avoid a client or customer making a similar mistake in the future. Or in fact, an opportunity for you to look at third parties who offer a service to your business.

What about genuine bad reviews? The one where your company fell flat on its face and didn’t resolve a bad situation for a customer or client? These things happen. The more clients you have the more chances for it to happen. Nobody has a perfect record, everyone makes mistakes. But now you have an opportunity to learn from your mistake and more importantly go out of your way to resolve this client’s ill feeling. Why? Well, it’s simple really. Someone you turn around from a bad experience, by resolving the issue, could be encouraged to influence others to try your services or products, which is much better than a simple review.

So, if you learn from mistakes, and go out of your way to resolve them, that will mean a lot more for a potential client than a review that just says “Oh, they do their job”. Wasn’t it Oscar Wilde who said: “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”?

Sometimes we get bad reviews through no fault of our own, impatient customers, technical glitches, several things can cause misunderstandings. The best you can do in those situations is explain and apologise, then move on. It’s a little like marriage. If your partner is right, tell them. If your partner is wrong just stay silent and smile sweetly.

It matters not whether that client is a major purchaser or a one off small sale. If you treat every customer with the same due diligence and tackle each complaint with the same objective of obtaining an amicable solution then, learning from that experience, your company or business will prosper.

According to surveys carried out on more than 1000 individuals by ZenDesk and Dimensional Research, they found that 62% of B2B and 42% of B2C customers were more likely to make further purchases after a good experience, whilst 66% and 52% respectively stopped making purchases after a bad experience.

Overall, 95% of respondents who have had a bad experience said they told someone about it, compared to 87% who shared a good experience. It seems then that customers are more likely to share their tales of horror amongst their peers on social networks. So it’s in your best interest to do whatever you can to resolve a problem a client has with their experience and interaction with your business.

When dealing with problems faced by your clients don’t deal with the problem deal with the client. The problem may or may not be satisfactorily fixed. But if you deal with the client, most of the time you will win. Once the client is happy then you can turn your attention to what caused the issue, and take steps to resolve it.

To sum up. Always remember to tackle those bad reviews positively. Resolve them and learn from them. You may think it’s not worthwhile but that is a misconception. For a happy customer is more cost effective, and will bring more business to your door, than most of the advertising you plan to do this year and as the old adage says “the customer is always right”.

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