3 Ways that Less-than-Perfect Customer Reviews Can Help Your Brand’s Reputation

It’s fairly safe to say that most customers are obsessed with business reviews. According to the latest research from BrightLocal, 86% of customers (and 95% of Millennials) check out online reviews before they buy something from a new business. Furthermore, each consumer reads an average of 10 reviews before they feel that they can trust a company, and 91% report that they find online customer reviews just as reliable and trustworthy as a recommendation from a friend.


With statistics like this, it’s no wonder that most business owners feel like the world is ending if they receive a negative rating from an unsatisfied customer online. Believe it or not, some less-than-perfect feedback can actually improve your brand’s reputation and even make customers trust you more. It’s all about how you handle the negative feedback.


There are some important reasons why a mix of positive and negative reviews can help your brand, if they are used correctly and strategically.

Let’s discuss why and how to do this.

1.   Poor Reviews Can Actually Build Consumer Trust


The main purpose of displaying customer reviews is to build trust with your customers. We all are a little skeptical of marketing messages, particularly when they make some promises that seem too good to be true. So, the only way we can find out how well the product works before trying it ourselves is by seeing what other people have to say about it.


However, if a product or business only has glowing, perfect 5-star ratings, it could actually lead to raised eyebrows and further distrust of the company. Many businesses in the past have resorted to shady practices like buying fake reviews or offering incentives for positive feedback, while others delete negative reviews the moment they are posted – which result in misleadingly high overall ratings. Thankfully, most people have wised up to this.


If you are going to use customer feedback to build real trust with your customers, you need to be willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly, no matter what. The best approach here is to use an e-commerce platform with review system integration capability (for Google-verified programs like Yotpo or Trustpilot) and will automatically update reviews on each product page. This provides customers with a truly accurate description of what they can expect. Plus, including reviews on your webpage can help with local SEO by boosting the number of commonly searched review keywords.


To reiterate, don’t worry about a few less-than-perfect reviews here and there – BrightLocal’s previously mentioned study found that a good majority of customers will still buy something with a 3- or 4-star rating.



2. Encourages Innovation and Development


If your brand is always getting 5-star reviews, it can actually have a negative effect on your team’s innovation and demotivate your company from advancement. When you get a review with less than 5 stars, it shows that there is still some room for improvement, but if you are constantly getting great feedback, it can lead to complacency.


Although there are certainly exceptions, customers will generally share details regarding the reason for their negative experience. Typically, they will mention the exact product or circumstance that they are complaining about, which provides you with the information needed to make active changes and improvements. Bad reviews can also contain valuable insight into your customers’ pain points and help your team identify where the biggest issues in either the product or the company itself lie. So, negative feedback can also help you understand the needs and desires of your customers and provide inspiration for better ideas.


Negative reviews are also a golden opportunity to glean some beneficial market research. It is very important that you respond to negative reviews and ask for suggestions on ways to improve. Not only does this provide an opportunity to make things right with a disgruntled customer, it can also help your business gain the trust of new ones. In fact, 45% of shoppers stated they were more likely to purchase from a business that took the time to respond to negative feedback.


3. Boosts Your CRO


As mentioned before, BrightLocal found that customers are not necessarily always put off by a few low review ratings. Many will still purchase from companies that have a 4-star average, and seeing a mix of reviews can actually increase the chances of conversions. One study reported that if a product has some negative reviews listed, the time a customer spends on the website can increase by 400% and the conversion rate can also increase by 67%.


This same study also found that a product with just five reviews had a 270% greater chance of conversion than a product with no listed reviews. The important thing here is not just focusing on the fact that your business has some negative reviews – it’s that your company is receiving a hefty number of reviews on a regular basis.


Be sure that your marketing and sales team have a strategy in place to gather reviews. Customers are generally more likely to leave a review if they are asked, and very few will go out of their way to organically leave feedback. Try creating an automated after-sales email campaign asking for reviews or offer some meaningful incentives for honest (not perfect) feedback, such as loyalty points towards a next purchase.




The world won’t end just because your company receives a few bad reviews here and there. In fact, getting some less than perfect feedback can actually be a great thing for your brand in the long run. Be sure to glean the helpful insights that are available in negative reviews and use this information to make improvements and create trust, and ultimately, deliver better experiences for new and existing customers.

Written by Manish Dudharejia

I am the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in White Label Services for Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, I am passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.

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