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Turn negative reviews to your advantage

Nothing reassures a new customer quite like the experience of an existing customer, but its not always roses and that's ok if handled sensitively.

No one likes a negative review, especially after having worked hard to service a customer, but you should not shy away from them as they can highlight problems in your product, service or processes which you can resolve. They should be seen as a critical feedback loop in any business (especially e-commerce websites).

You should publish any negative reviews alongside your positive ones as it not only further reassures the prospective customer you're open and honest but also allows them to determine the validity of the review for themselves.

Over the years I've seen lots of poor reviews which discredit themselves such as "The sticks of chalk weren't sharpened" -who sharpens sticks of chalk? or "The delivery man threw it over the fence" -not really warranting the product a 1* rating but a good indication you may want to change courier.

Hopefully your e-commerce platform allows you to respond to the reviews, in which case, once published you should also publicly address as many of the customer's concern as possible. This not only services the disappointed customer but gives you the chance to rebuff any concerns and shows any prospective customers that you take customer concerns seriously - another confidence builder.

If it's on brand and as long as you're going to keep doing it, by all means respond with a little personality like the manager at The Left Bank in Hereford started doing but to get the best response from prospective customers, ensure you address each of the problems without being insensitive or personal.

If the review is critiquing your product, you may be alerted to issues with it and should take heed. One of our customers couldn't work out why so many of their dresses were getting returned to store. After their product review system was launched on their website, they quickly discovered that there were issues with the garment after it's first wash. Despite selling it for over a year in-store, none of their staff had fed this issue back to head office. The nature of the anonymous review system meant people were more forthcoming with feedback. They sold the dress off at cost with a caveat that it was dry clean only, fixed the issue in manufacture and had next to no more returns on that garment!

You'll likely find that the honest mix of good and bad reviews helps bolster sales but if you want to chat any through, get in touch.

Author: Tim on

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