If you want to know how a business is really doing, look at its reviews. You’ll discover honest thoughts from customers about their experiences. People trust and seek out reviews because they’re from real people.
So, it’s natural for businesses to want solely positive reviews to convince potential customers to become actual ones. However, negative reviews can be just as influential in the best ways for businesses.
There isn’t a businessowner out there that will tell you he or she doesn’t want positive reviews from customers. This is because customers use reviews to determine which potential purchases are worth it.
Statista released data in 2021 that revealed that “nearly 70 percent of online shoppers typically read between one and six customer reviews before making a purchasing decision.”
It’s safe to say that businesses are reliant on reviews to fuel their business’s success. They don’t have to have thousands of reviews. If shoppers read up to six reviews when they purchase something, having at least 10 positive reviews can make a real difference.
Obviously, genuinely positive reviews will help convince potential customers to pursue a purchase way more than a negative review will. So, it makes sense that all businesses are pining for them.
If all you get is positive reviews, it’s easy to think that you’re doing everything right. And, when a businessowner feels like he or she is doing everything right, the urgency to change and evolve his or her business is nearly nonexistent.
When someone leaves a negative review, you know you’re doing something that’s adversely affecting the customer experience. You have insight into what you can improve, and you want to do so quickly, especially if you’re getting a lot of negative feedback.
For example, suppliers may come across negative reviews on lengthy shipping times and inaccurate orders. After reading these reviews, many of these businesses may choose to implement tech advances, like cloud-based inventory and robotic picking-and-packing arms in their warehouses to improve their processes.
Equally important to using negative feedback to improve business processes and the customer experience is how you handle negative reviews. No businessowner wants them. But ignoring negative reviews isn’t the answer.
Take a page from an industry in which reviews are literally a matter of life and death. In the health care industry, it’s extremely important to handle negative patient reviews with the grace and intention necessary to generate change and real patient satisfaction.
Health care facilities that do it right answer negative reviews immediately with the utmost respect for the reviewer. After that, they transition the conversation to a private channel for a satisfactory resolution. Then, they note what they’ve learned from the negative review.
Businesses will get a lot more from negative reviews when they take them seriously.
Negative and positive reviews can be influential in a business—how influential depends on the way these reviews are leveraged. Agents can best use positive and negative reviews by doing the following.
Establish the right system for gathering reviews. How are you soliciting reviews from customers? Answering this question is critical to making good use of positive and negative reviews. You want to ensure you’re capturing as many as possible to fuel the growth of your agency.
To gather reviews consistently you must make it easy for customers to leave them. Whenever you provide service to a client, send the person an email with a customer satisfaction survey and offer an incentive for completing it. Just make sure you don’t run afoul of your state’s rebating/incentive laws. For more information, PIA Northeast members can access related resources in the PIA QuickSource library: Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.
It’s also essential to set up a system in which customers can leave a review whenever it’s convenient for them.
Setting up a page on your website for customer reviews is a great idea. You also could enable reviews on third-party platforms like Google and Yelp. Encourage customers to reach out to you via email, phone, and social media to leave a review as well.
Positive and negative reviews are a core part of that data source. You can incorporate them into the discussions you’re having about various improvements you want to make to your business to further convince yourself and your team that they’re worthwhile.
For example, if you’re constantly getting reviews about how customers are loyal to you because of the value you offer your clients, you can post them on your website as a form of marketing. However, remember that in the insurance industry there are rules about using testimonials in your advertising.
Encourage people to be honest about their experiences—even if they’re negative. You can use their feedback to make positive changes in your business and reinforce what you’re doing right.
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.