Digital Insights

Are Negative Online Reviews Hurting Business?


Published: July 14, 2014

Most customers find writing a negative review cathartic after they’ve been wronged, but it has adverse consequences for companies. Customers reading negative reviews are more likely to choose a competitor when there are no positive reviews to counteract the negative reviews. This is why companies should monitor reviews written by customers to try and rectify the problems they’ve experienced and keep a positive brand image. Here is what you need to know about negative reviews.

  • Negative Reviews Can Be Constructive Criticism
  • Some customers are just disgruntled, but other customers actually have some valid information to offer. If companies use the information to improve rather than to become upset, it may just work for them. While it can hurt to be publicly reprimanded about your company’s behavior, it can also be a teachable moment that may help your company gain more customers and more revenue.

  • Reviews Help to Build Consumer Confidence
  • business reviewIf you have negative reviews, it’s likely that consumer confidence will be depleted quickly. Fourty-one percent of customers will read four to seven reviews before making a purchase. Most of them need that many to feel confident about making the purchase. So, the answer is not to discourage reviews, but encourage your evangelists to also report what’s good about you. Most people have nothing to say until you’re not doing what’s right. Thus, it’s important to say something good along with the bad. Thirty-eight percent of consumers say they will distrust providers with no negative reviews. So, don’t eliminate them unless they are extremely detrimental. Just counteract them with positive reviews.

  • Be Aware of the Types of Reviews That Can Hurt Sales
  • For instance, some people will overlook negative reviews that seem to be a matter of personal opinion. A negative review that expresses a negative aspect of a book will not discourage most people from reading it. Many people have read books or watched movies with negative reviews and have loved the movie or book. However, if a contractor is being sued for faulty work, then this could raise concern in the consumer community. If the negative review involves faulty work, missing merchandise, or other problems, you can be sure that consumers may look to competitors for help.

  • Use Reputation Management If Necessary
  • If you have too many detrimental negative reviews, you can move them down using the services of a reputation management company and also with legal assistance. These teams know what it takes to repair a reputation. They will flood the site with positive reviews until they can get the detrimental negative review moved down in the feed. Many reputation management companies offer free consultations. So, you have nothing to lose by asking.

It depends on the type of review. Since 80 percent of customers changed their purchasing decisions after reading an online review in 2011, it’s important that they change their minds in favor of your product or service. The good news is that 87 percent of consumers will buy a product after reading a positive review. Thus, it’s important to ensure that your business has a positive brand image.