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Do you work hard to earn great reviews for your business?

If so, you’re not alone. Most businesses strive to get as many five-star reviews as possible. And it’s not hard to imagine why.

Before you buy something online, drive across town to a restaurant you’ve never tried, or download an app, what’s the first thing you do?

You probably check the reviews. If they’re bad, you probably won’t purchase an item or try a new restaurant. But if they’re good, you’ll likely give it a try.

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So you should do everything in your power to try and get five-star reviews across the board and prevent any negative reviews, right?

Actually, that shouldn’t be your goal.

Believe it or not, earning perfect reviews isn’t critical for your business. In fact, negative reviews can actually help your business in ways you may have never expected.

If you’ve put all of your focus on avoiding negative reviews, you’re going about reviews all wrong.

You may find that hard to believe, but it’s true.

Here’s why you need negative reviews and some of the ways that they can be beneficial for your business.

The importance of negative reviews and how they can help your business grow

Before the digital era, we all relied on our friends and families for testimonials. But now, we rely on so many other factors to make our final decisions about companies.

Find more statistics at Statista

It appears that trustworthy reviews now have a bigger influence on online purchase decisions than family and friends do for 68% of US shoppers.

Recommendations from friends and family influence only 42% of consumers.

Instead, rewards programs, brand reputation, and trustworthy online reviews have taken the place of good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth recommendations.

A 2017 study by Power Reviews once again confirms the growing consumer dependence on ratings and reviews.

Today, 97% of consumers read product reviews before making a purchase decision. 89% of them consider online reviews to be an essential resource in the process.

On the flip side, 85% of consumers look for negative reviews in order to make informed purchase decisions. And this number skyrockets to 91% among consumers from the ages of 18-29.


Because bad reviews give customers a sense of the worst-case scenario. They want to know what can go wrong to understand just how much it will matter to them.

Too many positive reviews can seem fake to some shoppers, so you have to watch out.

But how do consumers determine if a review is truly authentic and trustworthy?

BrightLocal’s study shows that Facebook and Yelp are the two most-trusted review sources for local searches. Google comes in third.

Out of all these review platforms, Yelp seems to have the most strict rules and regulations.

This explains the fact that the average review score on Yelp is 3.65, which is the lowest out of these platforms. The average reviews on the others major platforms are 4.42 on Facebook, 4.3 on Google, and 4.25 on Tripadvisor.

Therefore, Yelp may be the most reliable place to gauge reviews.

And these ratings matter for your bottom line. An extra rating star on Yelp translates into a 5% to 9% revenue growth, which is an impressive but dangerous correlation.

Reviews really can make or break your brand’s growth. But on any platform, you will inevitably receive some negative reviews. So, how do you respond to them?

You should start by coming up with a game plan.

Create a game plan before you respond to negativity

The way that a business treats a negative review can tell you a lot about them.

Don’t panic. Don’t ignore them. Instead, embrace them.

Some brands like Wendy’s are even using negative reviews as a chance to make a splash on social media and go viral.

However you choose to embrace negative reviews, you need to come up with a game plan before you say anything back to your customers.

But customers expect businesses to respond to their reviews quickly. 51.7% of consumers expect businesses to respond to their negative review within seven days.

how quickly do you expect a business to respond to a negative review

So if you do happen to receive a negative review, you need to act fast.

Being aware of your customers’ complaints should be your number-one priority for customer service.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that not all negative reviews are valuable.

There are two types of negative reviews.

The first type is reviews from disappointed customers who have had a real negative experience like those who were part of the Vow to Be Chic wedding rental scandal:

vow to be chic buzzfeed tweet

And then, there are the troll types who seek attention and potential monetary gain.

flux capacitor needs to be more reliable amazon review

Some people might want to take advantage of the leverage that leaving a bad review might give them by blackmailing you or threatening to leave a bad review if you don’t give them a refund.

And you can’t insure your business against trolls.