Negative product and service reviews are bound to happen. Whether it’s a miscommunication or just a plain old unhappy customer, no business gets it right 100% of the time.
Still, even a few negative reviews can kill your online business. Customers care about product and business reviews even more than they care about price, promotions, or shipping options. More than 92% of online shoppers take reviews into consideration when making a purchase. Reviews are so heavily weighted that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
A high number of positive reviews is critical for business success. 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose a business or product.
So what can you do to avoid those business-crushing negative reviews so your business can stay on an upward trajectory?
1. Manage customer expectations.
What are your customers expecting when they buy your product?
Does the headline say that the product is red, but the product you send them is actually magenta? Does the picture of the product indicate that it’s bigger than it actually is?
For example, you sell picture frames. In the photo, your frame is hanging on the wall above the couch. But, when they receive the product, the frame is 5”x7” and just large enough to sit on a shelf. They now have a large print photo that won’t fit in your small frame. They’ll end up returning the frame—and leaving a negative review.
You want your listing to accurately represent the product, so your customers know exactly what to expect. Use descriptive words and realistic images to show your product in its most honest form.
Negative reviews are a product on unmet expectations.
Note:If you have to lie about your product in order to sell it, you should be selling a different product!
2. Address customer inquiries.
Customers can click “Ask a question” on your product listing, if they need more information before they buy. They sometimes will even find your website or social media to ask a question through another avenue (where they anticipate you’ll answer the question faster).
If you get an inquiry, answer it as quickly as possible. This ensures you don’t lost your customer’s interest, where they neglect your product or buy from a competitor. More importantly, this allows you to address any potential concerns before the customer goes to leave a review. (Handling inquiries after they’ve left a review can also help encourage them to remove or edit their original negative review.)
Fast responses are also a cornerstone to good customer service. Customer service is what gives you positive reviews. Poor service is what lands you in trouble with negative reviews.
3. Answer questions in your listings.
What are the most common questions and inquiries that you’re getting from customers? Keep track of every question that you’re asked, so you can take note of those that are your “frequently asked questions.”
Then, answer those questions directly in your listing. This both manages customer expectations and saves you time from having to answer inquiries.
For example, you notice a lot of your customers ask you about the production process of your bamboo t-shirts. In one of your product description bullet points, you might want to write a brief description about the eco-friendly, socially-responsible production. This answers a common question while also engaging with a conscientious target audience.
The more information you provide in the listing, the more likely the customer will purchase the right product. If they know exactly what they’re ordering and don’t have any lingering questions, they’re less likely to respond with a negative review.
4. Respond to problems.
In some cases, you’ll get an unhappy customer. They might be surprised, even if you managed their expectations, or they may have gotten a defect. Things happen. How you respond to problems can determine how the customer will review your business.
Whether the customer reaches out to you or leaves a review, you want to address their concern as quickly as possible. You can contact them directly to offer a refund, a replace item, or other solution.
This is an opportunity for you to wow them with your customer service. You want to be fast, thorough, and understanding. Come from a place of caring about your customer, and they’ll feel that level of service. If you solve their problem, they’re more likely to leave a positive (or at least neutral) review and/or remove their negative review.
Service almost always wins the day.
5. Create other business pages.
If customers aren’t satisfied with the reviews on your Amazon listing, they might search for your product elsewhere to get more reviews. You want to have other options so they can get a consistent review and understanding of your product.
This means you might want to host a Google Business page, Yelp page, Facebook page, or other business review site. Keep it updated with products, images, and information, and allow customers on to review your product there as well.
This gives you opportunities to have more reviews—and more positive reviews. It also shows your customers that you have a strong online presence with a consistent brand.
Note:If you have really positive reviews on one site and really negative reviews on another, customers will be hesitant to purchase from you. Consistent positive reviews encourages sales; inconsistency encourages click-aways.
6. Be aware of your promotional calendar.
The amount and types of promotions you run can actually impact the customer you attract. And the customers you attract can determine the types of reviews you get.
There are two schools of thought with regards to how your promotions and target audience impact your reviews:
- Customers who pay full price have higher standards. If those standards aren’t met, they’ll leave a negative review.
- Customers who only buy on discount (“discount customers”) tend to be pickier about their products. They’re harder to please, so they’re more likely to leave a negative review.If #1 is the case, then having a lot of promotional discounts shouldn’t be a problem. You’d get more sales and more positive reviews.
If #2 is the case, then hosting a lot of promotional discounts would attract a negative discount customer.
But one way isn’t the right way. They’re both true in their own right, so you want to take both into account.
If you attract too many discount customers, you can end up gaining a reputation as a “low-quality” brand. Once you have that reputation, it’s hard to break it. But if you never offer discounts or promotions, you may not be able to get a higher number of sales that can attract positive reviews.
This means you want to create a “special promotion” calendar, as opposed to a “no-promotion” or “always-promotion” one. This might mean you have a holiday promotion and a July sale, with the rest of the year at full price. This might mean you run “surprise” Lightning Deals every few months. Basically, you run occasional promotions to boost sales without devaluing your brand.
Learn more about striking up a balance of your marketing and promotions here.
7. Sell a good product.
Although customer service plays a role, ultimately your customer cares about the product they’re purchasing and how it fits into their lifestyle.
Good products get good reviews. Great products get great reviews. Bad products get bad reviews.
If you want positive reviews, you need to deliver an exceptional, unique, and quality product.
Not sure how to select the right product to boost your reviews and enhance your sales? Check out these resources to streamline the product selection process:
- The Ultimate Product Research Tactics And Tips For Amazon
- Should You Sell Generic Or Unique Products On Amazon?
- How To Best Show All Of Your Product Variations
- Quick Guide On Starting A Private Label
- How To Scale With Product Line Diversification And Innovation
The quick and dirty rule to selecting a good product? If you wouldn’t use it yourself, don’t sell it to your customers.
8. Get more positive reviews.
88% of customers form an opinion and determine whether or not they’ll purchase after reading an average of ten reviews. This means that one bad review won’t necessarily hurt you—if you have nine other positive reviews.
So if you can’t avoid negative reviews, you need to drown them out with positive ones. The more positivity you have, the less the negativity matters.
Find out more about how to generate positive reviews here.
You can avoid negative product reviews with strong customer service and quality products.
Still, negative reviews happen. And even just one or two bad reviews can stop the influx of sales—which in turn prevents you from getting any more positive reviews.