Should you respond to a negative review or feedback?

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In what will be no surprise to online merchants, the British are a nation of complainers and not averse to making our views known with negative feedback or reviews. One-third of shoppers in the UK have posted a negative review after interacting with a retailer, and two-thirds have done this in the last 12 months.

46% of shoppers check star ratings before making an online purchase and more than half of all shoppers read online reviews before clicking the buy button. 40% of shoppers have been put off from buying with a retail brand because of one single bad review – where the comment is particularly damning. Generally however shoppers are a little more realistic but it still only takes a handful – on average five – negative online reviews before a customer will decide to avoid buying from that merchant.

Almost two-thirds of shoppers say that it is ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ that they would leave a negative review following a bad experience but according to research many of these bad experiences are avoidable. 77% of 29,080 1-3 star reviews examined were a result of typical operational failures, such as poor customer service, or negative experiences related to delivery, returns and refund policies.

There’s long been debate over whether it’s better to leave feedback and reviews as is or to respond – responding of course highlights the poor feedback but 76% of shoppers do expect the merchant to have responded to the reviews that they have received. 38% of retailers admit that they do not know how to best deal with negative reviews. Instead, they are being left, fingers crossed, hoping for the best, rather than adopting a strategic approach to understanding the cause of a negative review, responding to it and ensuring more positive reviews in the future.

It is critical for retailers to use negative reviews as an opportunity to show the speed, quality and genuine care of their customer service within their response – which needs to come fairly rapidly. Almost one in five shoppers think that brands should respond to a negative review within 24 hours, while a further 12% believe it should be quicker than that.

For one in five shoppers (20%), reviews posted within the last month will have the most impact on their buying decision. Meanwhile, very few look at reviews that are over six months old (6.2%), underlining the importance of focusing on building up a series of positive reviews once a negative review has been posted.

There’s money in reviews however so it’s worth investing in the time to track them and deal with any negative experiences. On average, customers said that they would spend a whopping 22% more on a purchase from a five star retailer versus one with average reviews.

4 Responses

  1. Always! a response shows true intent from the seller and an alternative view point. I think it shows credibility when a seller responds to a bad review.

  2. We always respond. To not do so simply says ‘we don’t care’. We keep it factual and never get into a tit for tat arguement. If you have messed up simply say sorry, we made a mistake. People like honesty. However if the buyer is not telling the full story, simply add the missing facts but ina polite way. You are not our to highlight the buyers wrong doing, but more to give those reading it the full facks to make their own decision.
    … funny thing is that on Ebay bad feedback doesn’t seem to matter if the item is cheap enough. The amount of dodgy sellers will huge swathes of negative feedback, but masses of sales, just because they are cheap.
    To me if the seller has lots of negs, with no response from them, and i buy something anyway… well i only have myself to blame when it is tat etc!

  3. back in the day with any thread about negative feedback
    the response and comments would have been like a DOS attack
    these days it seems to be nowhere near as important

  4. We try to help but get nowhere.

    Person bought a product that treats up to a 400 gallon tank. He had a 32 gallon tank.
    he claims the item is not real as he has bought it previously off people 3 times and it looked different the white powder (ours) became like sand. and it did not work.
    They have refunded and he does not have to return it either. So i cannot verify his claims or take it up with suppliers.

    So i contacted him for some info and to offer advice because.
    It clearly says remove as much of the problem weed as possible before using mix 1 tiny scoop for his size of tank and then wait for 48 hours .

    He signed for the product at 11.38 am on a Wednesday and began the complaint with Amazon at 8.15 am on the Friday. (not 48 hours) and at a push if he snatched it from the postman ran in and did the job needed first then mixed it. and waited all of around 38 hours BUT he actually says when it did not work he used it again.
    OH NO OVERDOSE !!!!!

    When you try to help you are met with a wall of silence then eventually through a private email you receive get F*****d i will not send it back and i have already got my money i buy loads of stuff like this. I forwarded the email to Amazon but they said they can do nothing.
    So if i dare respond openly to his crass statements i will make myself look crazy. Mental would be more appropriate i just wish he lived nearby as i could go round to advise.


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