Corporate Eye

Turn Negative Reviews into Positive Word-of-Mouth Marketing

The Retail Consumer Report research conducted in January 2011 by Harris Interactive (commissioned by RightNow) revealed some interesting information about online shoppers’ experiences and thoughts. As you might expect, consumers who have bad experiences with online retailers won’t buy from those retailers again, and more and more of those dissatisfied consumers are sharing their negative reviews online.

However, the news isn’t all bad. Businesses have an opportunity to turn those negative reviews into positive word-of-mouth marketing by keeping track of online conversations about their businesses and responding to them.

The Harris Interactive study revealed that 68% of consumers who published a complaint or negative review about an online business on a social networking site or a review site were contacted by the businesses they complained about. 18% of those people were so satisfied with the responses they got from those businesses that they made additional purchases and became loyal customers.

Of course, the best case scenario is that your business only gets glowing reviews online, but when a negative comment about your brand and business makes its way online, respond to it. Reach out to the customer and make the situation right with them. As the Harris Interactive study reports, 33% of consumers who were contacted by businesses about their online complaints turned around and published a positive review about that business and 34% deleted their original negative reviews.

The opportunity to respond to negative reviews and fix problems is wide open. 61% of consumers surveyed by Harris Interactive who did not receive a response from a business about whom they published a negative review said they would be shocked if a retailer responded to a negative complaint or review that they published on the social web. Go ahead and shock them!

Keep in mind, the Harris Interactive study determined that 21% of consumers who had positive shopping experiences with an online retailer recommended that retailer to friends and 13% published positive reviews about that retailer online.  The study also reported that nearly 1 out of 3 surveyed consumers conducted their own online research on social networking and review sites while they were shopping online. You need to monitor your online reputation, respond to negativity, and make sure the information consumers find about your brand and business is positive and accurate. Online reviews are extremely important. It’s vital that you know what is being said about your brand and business online, so you can jump into conversations when it’s necessary and show your appreciation when it’s appropriate.

Image: stock.xchng

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.