Last updated on January 11, 2024

Kate Bould
Communications Manager @ Yotpo
September 22nd, 2020

You may be thinking bad reviews are bad for business, but publishing all of your reviews and knowing how to handle negative reviews can actually have a positive impact on your brand.

Table Of Contents

Below, we’ll dive into the importance of publishing all of your reviews, the process for responding to negative reviews, and good reasons to avoid publishing a review.

The importance of publishing all of your reviews

It’s easy to say you should publish all of your reviews, but we know negative reviews can be a little intimidating. From an ethical and business perspective, we’ve outlined how publishing your negative reviews can actually help your brand, here’s why:

It’s the right thing to do

Publishing positive and negative reviews drives trust in your brand and helps build authenticity with your audience. In addition, not posting your negative reviews could be considered deceptive or misleading and could get you in trouble with governmental/regulatory agencies.

Customers actively seek out bad reviews to inform their decisions

According to the 2022 Reviews Consumer Survey, 35% of eCommerce shoppers always search for negative reviews. Additionally, HubSpot claims that shoppers seek out bad reviews five times more than good reviews.

Why? Because consumers are looking for any information that might inform their purchase. Seeing negative reviews for a product allows shoppers to understand a product’s shortcomings and determine whether it’s the best fit for their needs.

If your brand blocks bad reviews, you could be eliminating valuable information that ultimately helps your shoppers make a purchase.

More reviews means a higher conversion rate

Our data shows that when it comes to reviews, more is definitely better. In fact, having ten reviews on a single product can uplift conversion rates by 53%, while 100 reviews can increase CVR by more than 2x. Shoppers aren’t necessarily sorting through all of these reviews; the sheer numbers suggest that the product has been well-vetted, making shoppers feel more confident in their buying decisions.

Bad reviews make the good reviews more trustworthy

When you’re shopping and only see five-star reviews, you might be thinking ‘is this real?’ A study by Harvard Business School found the majority of consumers trust reviews more when they see a mix of good and bad feedback. If the feedback is entirely positive, 95% believe the reviews are fake or screened by the company.

Bad reviews assist in purchase decisions

Bad reviews can help customers get a better idea of what they can expect from your brand. Seeing feedback about shipping delays or the fit of a product can help customers manage expectations and avoid having a negative experience with your brand.

For example, in one of our AMAs, Scott Perry from Bob’s Discount Furniture discussed some bad reviews about a chair he was interested in; customers were saying the chair was too small, but that’s exactly what Perry was looking for! The ‘negative’ reviews gave him a better understanding of the product and whether or not it would be right for him.

That’s because the value in bad reviews isn’t just the rating, but the quality of the content. A one-star review covering key topics such as size and fit helps customers make more informed purchase decisions. Given that, a negative review might even lead customers to a different product instead that’s a better fit; this is particularly true of clothing, beauty and wellness, and other items that fulfill personal needs.

Ultimately, positive purchase experiences yield repeat customers — and negative reviews are an essential part of the decision making process.

How to handle negative reviews

We wholeheartedly believe that negative reviews are an essential part of any UGC strategy and brands shouldn’t ignore this customer feedback. Sometimes, negative reviews warrant a response. Here’s how your team can handle negative reviews.

  1. Respond to negative reviews publicly
    • Show your community that you care to follow up on and help resolve customer issues. Oftentimes, customers just want to see that their concerns are heard, and your personal response can go a long way to remedy a bad experience they might have had. It’s also expected; according to SOCi, 80% of reviewers expect a timely response to an online review or comment.
  2. Learn from negative business and product reviews
    • By paying attention to negative reviews, Cupshe was able to learn that their straps were the wrong length. By adjusting their product, they were able to help their community feel valued and provide them with the best possible product that works for them.
  3. Don’t forget to follow up
    • Make sure to follow up to ensure the customer is happy with the resolution of their issue. They’ll be happy to see you’re committed to their satisfaction and likely remember a wholly positive online shopping experience instead of the negative one.

Good reasons to avoid publishing a review

There’s a difference between bad reviews, and reviews that should not be published. Below, we’ve included some good reasons not to publish a review.

  • The review contains confidential or private information. For example, a review that includes a person’s financial, medical, or personnel file information or a company’s trade secrets, should definitely not be published.
  • The review contains libelous, harassing, abusive, vulgar, obscene, or sexually explicit language.
  • The review is inappropriate with respect to race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or other intrinsic characteristics.
  • The review is completely unrelated to your brand’s products or services, including your customer service, delivery, returns, and exchanges.

All of that said, if your review doesn’t fit into the above categories, publish it! If we haven’t said so enough, publishing all of your reviews — even the bad ones — helps drive trust in your brand.