The Positive of Negative: How to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Low-Star Review
Criticism is a good thing, but if Congress has its way, the right to leave negative reviews will soon be federally protected.
Earlier this month, Congressmen Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) proved that America, even in the home stretch of another divisive election season, can agree on at least one thing: Yelp reviews, or, more broadly, a consumer’s right to leave negative reviews.
The bill, similar to a piece of Senate legislation passed last year, would give the Federal Trade Commission the authority to ban business contracts for establishments that bar negative reviews from being published on websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
The differences between the two versions of the bill still need to be reconciled before reaching the Oval Office, but if its bipartisan support is any indicator, companies will no longer be able to suppress negative customer reviews, but that isn’t as daunting as it sounds.
Review publication is a great way to give your customers a snapshot of your company, but your review management reveals just as much about the transparency of your business model.
Here are some tips to help you optimize the effectiveness of your company reviews:
Erase the Illusion of Perfection:
An unblemished record of five-star reviews can be suspect to prospective customers. There are too many customers with too many unique opinions and expectations. Including a wide range of positive and negative reviews will reflect the natural variance of opinion that comes with anything, not just purchasing decisions.
Bigger Review Samples:
A five-star aggregate rating doesn’t mean much when it’s based on one or two reviews. Before your customers even start reading individual feedback, they’ll likely gauge your aggregate score against the sample size to assess the relevance of your review section. More reviews mean more clients, which suggests that your business is a go-to establishment within your industry. Plus, one-off negative reviews don’t hurt your aggregate score as much when surrounded by a consensus of positive feedback.
Trust Your Customers:
Most customers aren’t impulsive enough to leave your site after seeing one low-star review. In fact, customers appreciate companies that don’t hide their areas of improvement. It demonstrates that your business is always refining its products or service. Most customers won’t take a poor review at face value; instead they’ll assess the context of the reviewer’s issue and decide if it’s a legitimate criticism, because the Internet isn’t always the most measured place.
As a Spectrum partner, you already possess a full array of innovative reputation management tools. Stay in front of your published, external, and archived reviews with your Reviews Manager admin tool. You can also track how you incentivize customers to submit their reviews, should you be looking to boost your review sample size.
Your business is constantly evolving, and that growth should be informed by the feedback you receive from your customers. The only way to do that is to create a significant pool of customer opinions, and the only way to do that is to invite all voices to the conversation, even when what is said isn’t positive.
Don’t be afraid of the customer review. Collect and log as many as possible. Every positive one affirms what your business is doing right while every negative one is an opportunity for improvement. Meanwhile, your potential customers receive a more transparent representation of what you can offer, which means they’ll come to you ready to do business as opposed to trying to figure out if your company is right for them.