Customer reviews have a major impact on your business — and when those reviews are negative, so are the potential consequences. Unfortunately for business owners, negative reviews are on the rise as we head into 2023, with recent data from TrustPilot showing a 5% decline in positive reviews from April 2022 onward.
Overall, that’s approximately 50,000 fewer positive reviews when compared to the previous year, with some of the biggest impacts being felt in the entertainment, electronics, and tech sectors. Both inside and outside of these sectors, customers expressed frustrations with issues like product delivery errors and slow replies to customer issues. These are patterns that cut across all industries — and can also cut deeply into your profits.
With bad reviews on the rise, you need to ensure that your brand is prepared for eventual backlash. But you need more than just an apology for your customers — you need a strategy for turning potential disasters into PR opportunities. In this article, we’ll show you how to embrace negative reviews and use them to your advantage, so that instead of just reactively putting out fires, you’re actively building new bridges with consumers.
New Data Shows Positive Reviews Down, Negative Reviews Up
TrustPilot is a Denmark-based review website that hosts business reviews from around the world, in categories ranging from beauty and banking to construction and education. According to its website, approximately 3 million reviews are posted on TrustPilot every month.
Recent research by TrustPilot points to troubling twin trends for businesses: a 5% drop in positive reviews joined by a simultaneous increase in negative reviews, which are up by approximately 3%. TrustPilot also highlighted a few common customer complaints that arose repeatedly, which included negative sentiments about customer service, problems with product orders, and delivery-related issues.
How Much Do Bad Reviews Impact Your Business?
What could explain these trends, and more importantly, how could your business be affected? To start with the first question, economic turbulence may play a contributing role to the recent uptick in negative reviews.
“With consumers’ purse strings stretched more than ever,” says TrustPilot COO Mieke De Schepper, “the evidence suggests reviews are playing an increasingly influential role in helping shoppers ensure they’re not just getting a good experience, but genuine value for money, too.”
In other words, customers want good service and value — and those who don’t receive it aren’t shy about sharing their experiences online.
But just how influential are negative reviews on the overall health of your business? It depends on what data you look at, but the consensus seems to be: highly.
In a study by Northwestern University, for instance, over nine in 10 consumers (94%) reported avoiding certain brands because of poor online reviews. Meanwhile, other research suggests that up to 22% of consumers said that a single negative restaurant review would be enough to prevent them from visiting that restaurant. And in a survey conducted by Brightlocal, nearly half of the respondents (49%) said they “trust[ed] consumer reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.”
On the other hand, data also proves that responding to reviews helps attract business from consumers who may be less familiar with your brand. Learn more about the benefits of responding to reviews and why it matters for your brand.
How Should Your Company Deal with Bad Reviews?
When you own a business, bad reviews can be enough to induce feelings of panic; but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of letting negative reviews tank your company’s image, let our experienced response scribes provide your reviewers with custom replies.
Our research shows that customers who receive thoughtful, personalized review responses from businesses are more likely to consider shopping at that business again in the future. They’re also more likely to consider changing their initial reviews, depending on how the business responds to the issue. Not only that — responding to negative reviews is also an opportunity to improve your local search ranking on Google, making it a smart move from an SEO perspective.
Our response scribes make the process effortless from start to finish. But if you’re looking for DIY tips on how to get started, like best practices to implement (and mistakes to avoid), our team is here to offer guidance. Below, you’ll find a few useful beginner resources from our blog, which shares weekly insights and updates from the world of online review management:
- How to Respond to a 1-Star Rating or Review
- How to Respond to a 5-Star Rating or Review
- Is Your Brand or Agency Making These Review Reply Mistakes?
- Why (and How) to Start Personalizing Your Replies to Reviews
As De Schepper says, “Feedback from customers is an essential part of the process of getting to know where improvements can be made, which will ultimately fuel growth.” While facing bad reviews can be frustrating, stressful, and even painful, it’s also an opportunity to gain actionable insights into consumers’ values and needs.
Does Your Brand Need Help Managing and Responding to Negative Reviews?
Retain more customers, bring in more revenue, and deliver better service — all without having to write a single word. Our review response service takes care of the work for you, delivering on-brand replies with 24-hour turnaround on platforms like Yelp, Facebook, Google Business Profiles, and more.
Backed by a powerful dashboard and our commitment to customer service, our review response feature raises client revenue by 33% on average. And if our team determines that a review of your business violates platform guidelines or Terms of Service, our review removal team will intervene on your behalf.
Start turning negative reviews into positive assets. Book a demo of our review reply service, or explore the a-la-carte reputation management features our platform offers. From review generation and monitoring to business listings management across 125+ platforms, Shout About Us has all your needs covered for agencies, franchises, multi-location brands, and more.
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with more than seven years of writing experience. She joined the Shout About Us team as a content strategist in 2020.