Making the Most of Bad Product Reviews

While consumer product reviews run around 80% positive for all our clients, using the Channel Signal platform is often the first time our clients are exposed to significant numbers of negative reviews about their own products. This leads to frequent conversations about how best to deal with the negatives. Here are two suggestions.

First, mine the reviews for insights

It all starts with the right platform

mining-neutral-reviewsFirst there’s the obvious 1 star negative reviews. And then there’s the valuable product feedback within the “Middle Reviews” – the ones rated 2, 3, or 4-stars on a 1-5 scale. Consumers regularly share what product feature prevented their 4-star review from being a 5-star, or why they gave a product 2 stars instead of one. Reviews rated Neutral are particularly fertile territory for constructive consumer criticism.

With the Channel Signal platform, you can discover the important keywords that drive positive and negative reviews and find the unifying themes of customer complaint or praise.

deal-negative-reviews-1

For example, we often see “prompting language” in reviews; phrases like “I wish”, “one change”, or “if only” that frequently precede suggested product modifications. Another example is “a bit”, as in, “I liked it, but it was a bit snug in the hips”. We also track reviews that use “your”, “you’re, “you” and “yours” – these are often cases where the reviewer is addressing the brand directly with suggestions.

It’s important not to take the negative reviews personally, which can be tough, especially for product managers. Yes, there are always a few incorrect ones, but between the report findings and your ability to do your own searches, listening will make you smarter.

Then, respond

use-platform-to-respondEvery survey and study we’ve seen indicates that a company response to a negative review has a significantly positive effect on other shoppers’ perception of the brand and their intention to purchase. (Caveat: I’m referring to a case-specific response, NOT a generic “Your opinion is important to us”). If customers are misusing or misunderstanding a product, your offer to help will position you as a resource vs. just a vendor.

This doesn’t mean you have to hire a team that does nothing but scan reviews on your site, Amazon, REI, etc. Use a platform like Channel Signal to make it easy for them. If you know there’s a trending problem with a product for which you’re issuing refunds, search the platform for all reviews that mention that, and then take action.

Give your representative the power to replace or refund, instead of having them pass along customer service’s contact info. This type of consumer engagement has a far more positive effect on ROI than bantering with random consumers on social media.

If your site offers reviews (and it should), consider taking a page from the big boys, Amazon, and enabling your customers to ask each other questions and reply to reviews. Responses will require some monitoring, but hosting the conversation makes your brand look smart.

Every brand and product attracts some negative consumer comment. Using those comments wisely can create better products and stronger consumer relationships.

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