Why bad reviews aren’t bad for brands

Francisco Ascensão explains the importance of negative reviews for brands.

A CEO, PR director, customer service lead, marketing manager or anyone within a company that cares about its perception, seeing or receiving a negative review can be heart-breaking, and in some instances frustrating. Hours of works and effort have gone into the development of the product, supported by huge marketing efforts, just to get in some instances a cold reaction.

However, we’d argue that this feedback is vital to the growth of any company as it will fuel further development and progress – of course, only if it is addressed correctly from the get go. With any product or service, inevitability there will be challenges at some point, be it due to an anomaly in the customer service process or due to a genuine improvement that is required to make the product better.

In the first instance it is important to step back and really understand the comment and what the issues are that have been raised. Then it is vital that the brand responds in the right way, as this genuine feedback from a customer holds nuggets of insight that will help you further develop and positively impact on the future potential of your company. This all may sound like common sense, but there are a huge number of companies out there that simply ignore, or react badly towards customer criticism. They are missing out on the best insight they’ll ever get. 

Just because a negative comment has been received it doesn’t mean that it is time to shut up shop and close the doors. We’d argue that it is actually a really important part of the product lifecycle, otherwise how else can you improve the offering?

At Youzz, we’ve created a platform that will accelerate this process and enable brands to get feedback from hundreds, if not thousands of customers to help them improve the experience. The other and more commonly forgotten powerful side effect of this feedback process is that it also enables a brand to create advocates. 

Yes, someone that has had a bad experience could be your next biggest fan! 

Research shows that if you resolve a complaint in the customer’s favour and they will it is 70% likely they will do business with you again. This is because we live in an age where customers expect companies to be human. Humans make mistakes and we all accept that, but the real power is when these are addressed in a human way and the brand tries to make good. If a customer has had a bad experience, they want to be listened to and feel as though their opinion matters.

The fundamental key here is community. If you can turn your negative customers into advocates to then create a community, wouldn’t that be a powerful group of people that could help you further develop your product and also shout about it to their respective networks? 

Perhaps the most famous complaint of recent times is a hilarious post written by a customer on Virgin Atlantic who complained about his meal in economy and shared on Twitter. It was so outrageous that it generated thousands of retweets. Due to this, Sir Richard called the poster to thank him for his “constructive if tongue-in-cheek” feedback. The fact that one of the most well known CEO’s called the customer to apologise turned a negative into a positive, and showed Virgin Atlantic took on board criticism.

So the next time you get a negative comment from a brand, smile and think of the positive along with the golden insight that has just landed in your physical or digital lap. We’d urge brands to go further, invite feedback, take on-board negative views, and grow your customer base faster, through a community of powerful brand advocates.

Francisco Ascensão is the CEO of youzz, a global network of social influencers.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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