Why Your Shopify Store Needs Negative Reviews and How to Respond

"We don’t live in a five-star world" - Matt McGee

Running an e-commerce business is hard. When you pour your heart and soul into your Shopify store, negative customer feedback can feel particularly painful. But there is often gold in negative reviews that may benefit your business tremendously. Here’s how.

Negative reviews drive conversions

While having a few less-than-perfect reviews decreases a product’s average star rating, it has actually been shown to grow conversions. 

In fact, the 5-star rating is not the most trusted by consumers. Multiple studies found that consumers are more likely to purchase a product when its rating is somewhere between 4.2 to 4.5 stars. 

Negative reviews signal transparency

Nothing is perfect. Your customers know that some negative opinions about a product, service, or online store are inevitable. If a visitor sees nothing but 5-star reviews, they might get suspicious.

In fact, a study conducted by Power Reviews found that 82% of consumers actively seek out negative reviews

Providing a balanced mix of good and bad reviews on your product pages builds trust. It shows your customers that you have nothing to hide and signals that the reviews displayed on your website are not fake, edited, or filtered.

Negative reviews help customers estimate the risks

We are all scared of the unknown. Shoppers treat negative reviews as windows into what could potentially go wrong with the purchase, and determine if it applies to them.

Understanding the worst-case scenario they can plausibly expect, and how the business will handle negative experiences provides shoppers with security and peace of mind to make the purchase.

How to handle negative reviews: Checklist for Shopify entrepreneurs

While including a mix of star ratings is important, too many negative reviews can damage your sales. So what do you do when you have an unhappy customer who publicly complains about your brand?

Here are 6 proven steps for dealing with negative reviews to help grow conversions in your Shopify store.

Step 1: Don’t panic

Don’t be too hard on yourself for getting a negative review every once in a while. You can’t please everybody, and not everyone is going to love every aspect of their experience with your business. Sometimes your product is just not a good fit for a specific customer. And that’s ok!

Treat each negative review as an opportunity for growth and understanding your customers better.

Step 2: Publish negative reviews

Negative reviews should be considered an opportunity for the business to do better and to demonstrate superior customer service if things DO go wrong. And it is inevitable that at some point they will.

Did you know that 30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews?

Publishing negative reviews and responding publicly is done not only for the sake customer who left the review, but perhaps more importantly, for everyone else reading the reviews thereafter (e.g. potential customers!).

Step 3: Look for the root cause

If negative reviews are a norm rather than an exception, more drastic measures might be needed. If there is an issue with your product or service, acknowledge the problem and then seriously consider going the extra mile to make things right. 

If your product is the problem, see if you can switch suppliers. If delivery times are too long, see if you can improve this or communicate to customers very clearly when they can expect the delivery before they make a purchase. Figure out what bothers your customers and fix it ASAP.

Step 4: Respond quickly 

When the experience is negative, you have to respond quickly. Customers who go to the trouble of writing a review expect an answer, and they expect it to be fast – over 40 percent want an answer within an hour.

The key here is to monitor your reviews by setting up notifications that alert you to negative reviews so that you can address them fast

Use apps like Klayvio or Shopify Flow to set up an automated response to 1 or 2-star reviews, letting customers know you’ve seen the review and will follow up with them to get to the bottom of it. Don’t leave them hanging. 

Step 5: Public + private responses go a long way

We’ve found the best way to handle negative reviews is to respond both publicly and privately. 

Public responses give you the chance to demonstrate your customer service skills to a wide audience. Potential customers can see the response and this can serve as a factor in their decision to buy your product or engage with your company. 

In your public response, we recommend mentioning that you’ve reached out in private as well, to make it clear you take their concerns seriously and that you won't make customers chase you down to get answers to their specific concerns. 

Then, you can follow up privately with the customer and address their particular issue in a more personal manner. 

Step 6: Look for common themes

While customer feedback is beneficial, taking each and every review too seriously can actually harm your store. Analyze your negative reviews and identify common themes or repeated complaints. Once you’ve identified the patterns, figure out what product or aspect of your service is causing an issue with your customers and do something about it!

For example, if there are lots of complaints that it takes too long for your product to arrive, you can try pushing back your review request timing.

To recap:

  1. Don’t panic. Negative reviews are inevitable for any business that has actual customers.
  2. Publish negative reviews on your store. It’s all about the balance.
  3. If negative reviews are the norm rather than the exception, be prepared to take drastic measures to improve your business.
  4. Respond quickly, don’t let your customers stew in dissatisfaction.
  5. Reply publicly and privately. 
  6. Do figure out what bothers off your customers and fix it by discovering common themes in negative reviews

Be transparent, honest, and authentic with your customers, respond to negative reviews quickly but carefully, and show the world how much you care about your customers. In the end, it’s how you handle negative reviews that make all the difference.

If you need a little help generating customer feedback, automate the process with Loox.

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