The Rise of the Review Economy: How to Leverage Negative Reviews

December 11, 2017

Rise of the Review Economy

Editor’s Note: This is the third blog post in our Rise of the Review Economy series we are creating with G2Crowd. View our first and second posts here.

As the saying goes, it’s impossible to please everyone. But in the world of B2B reviews, a frustrated or unhappy customer can be one of your biggest assets.

Let us explain.

Today’s buyer selection process revolves around education and trust. In fact, 85% of technology decision-makers read up to 10 online reviews before making a purchase — and 53% rely on peer recommendations, per G2 Crowd’s latest research on customer reviews.

These powerful stats are no surprise, given that doing our own research and making informed decisions has become a regular part of our now digital lives (think shopping for goods on Amazon, searching for restaurants on Yelp, watching product reviews on YouTube, or even perusing recommendations on LinkedIn). And, as behavioral patterns go, we’ll likely apply the same process towards making purchases or decisions for our company.

But when it comes down to navigating the review landscape, further research uncovers that both good and bad reviews help to impact the decision-making process in a positive way. This is because honest voices from savvy customers help to build credibility and transparency around your products or services in a way that traditional advertising cannot.

Take it from the experts, as user behavior on G2 Crowd recently showed that negative reviews (those with 1 or 2 stars) receive nearly 200% to 300% more clicks and views than positive reviews. For marketers, this reveals untapped opportunity to leverage reviews without the stress of striving for perfection. And when it comes to making lackluster feedback work in your favor, here is a quick roadmap to success:

  1. Embrace and promote the gamut of feedback existing about your company online, and contribute to these conversations. Now that the Consumer Review Freedom Act is in place, you can no longer prevent consumers from expressing negative opinions, so you’re better off owning up to any shortcomings and positioning them as a learning experience.
  2. Offer a response, clear up misconceptions, or provide further insights from your brand as a next step. Shoppers who seek out negative review more engaged with their pre-purchase research, viewing nearly 4x as many products as the average visitor to a site.
  3. Build relationships with and help influence your community of reviewers. At this state, it’s important to respond quickly, thank the customer for their feedback, and explain how you’ll fix the issue at hand. This shows that you care and will go a long way helping to build trust. Still not convinced? A recent Harris study concluded that 18 percent of people became loyal customers after a company responded to their less-than-positive review.
  4. Recognize that solutions are built to better fit with some companies than others. One size rarely fits all. Some software is designed to help small businesses, while others are amazing solutions for enterprise players. In other instances a solution is built to excel in a certain business vertical. Discussions with negative reviewers can often lead to a better product fit, more satisfied customers, and perhaps better reviews.
  5. Proactively gather insight on what you can do better. It’s possible that a complaint exposes real problems with your product or service. Use this valuable information to fuel your customer experience feedback look — and don’t forget to thank the brave person who submitted feedback.
  6. Once an issue has been addressed or corrected, reach out and seize the opportunity to ask for an updated review. This is the most important step you can take to help influence future purchasing decisions.

As we all know, buyer voices control the majority of today’s purchase process, and playing an active role in this conversation is a critical step for B2B brands. Turn detractors into champions and loyal customers by encouraging an open, honest, and constructive atmosphere. In time, this will lead to satisfied customers, a better product, and — most importantly — more sales.

Don’t miss the next insightful posts in our “Rise of the Review Economy” series. Subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Blog today.