When marketers talk about reviews, they mainly refer to the good things people say about their products and brands. It’s not hard to imagine why this is the case. There’s no question that positive reviews from real customers can help you build social proof and boost your conversion rate.

But did you know that negative reviews can actually help you grow your business? It’s true! Believe it or not, there are countless opportunities to fine-tune your products and build rapport with customers by engaging with negative reviews.

A whopping 93% of customers say their first purchase with a company sets the tone for future encounters. The thing is, it’s not as cut and dry as the customer placing an order and making a decision about a brand. In many cases, their “first purchase” extends to future interactions with your business, including how you respond to their reviews.

If you want to know how to make the most of negative customer reviews, keep reading. We will look at several tried and true ways you can turn negative feedback into a positive experience for your customers and your brand.

Let’s dive in!

Improve Your Products or Services

The first way you can use negative reviews is to improve your products or services. Consumers are vocal about their experiences with companies, especially if they are overwhelmingly good or bad.

Instead of feeling insulted when you see a negative review, step back and ask yourself if there’s anything you can learn from the user’s comment. The people using your product will often mention ways you can improve, even if it’s indirect.

For instance, if you checked your recent reviews and noticed that several people complained about your checkout page, you’ve just identified an opportunity to improve your business. In this example, you could choose to speed up your site or streamline the ordering process.

Many business owners choose to send customer feedback forms, which is great for long-term planning. But if you’re willing to take a few minutes each week to read customer reviews, you’ll quickly find multiple opportunities to improve various aspects of your business.

Build Your Reputation with Potential Customers

Negative reviews also give you a unique opportunity to build your reputation with first-time visitors. I know what you’re thinking, “how in the world can this type of feedback help me build my reputation?”

Well, before we explain, it’s worth mentioning that 82% of shoppers intentionally seek out negative reviews when they shop online. There are several reasons for this trend. Most notably, having nothing but 5-star glowing reviews on every single product page is a red flag.

How would you feel if you found a cool-looking product on Amazon with 1000 5-star reviews and no other feedback? If you’re like most of us, you would be suspicious that many, if not all of the reviews, are fabricated.

Odds are, you’d feel more comfortable buying the same product if it had 950 4-5 star reviews and 50 1-3 star reviews. We all like to see what kind of experiences other people had with a business before pulling out our debit card. When people see that you have a couple of negative reviews, it helps set their expectations. They know the best and worst-case scenarios and are more likely to make an educated choice because they can see both positive and negative reviews.

Educate Your Audience

There will be times when you get negative feedback that’s based on confusion rather than poor performance. Misunderstandings can happen in our personal lives, so it makes sense that this trend would carry over to the professional world. Instead of getting frustrated when these situations pop up, use this as an opportunity to share information with your customers.

One of the most common places to find these types of reviews is on social media. Over 80% of internet users have at least one social media profile, and users spend an average of 2 hours and 29 minutes on social sites every day. These same people like interacting with businesses on social media, and that includes leaving reviews.

When you see one of these reviews, the first thing you should do is try to pinpoint precisely where the confusion took place. For instance, if have an email marketing SaaS, and someone leaves a bad review because they couldn’t figure out how to use a specific feature, you could send them a blog post from your site or a free training course to teach them how to make use of the elusive feature.

Do Everything You Can to Make it Right

Finally, as a general rule, you’ll want to do everything you can to make things right for your customers. You’re going to get bad reviews from time to time; there’s nothing you can do to stop them completely. It’s how you react when they pop up that truly define your brand identity.

When you see a negative review on your site, social media, or a review website, reach out to the original poster and find out how you can help them. In many cases, there’s a quick fix. You just have to take the initiative and reach out to your audience when these situations arise.

If you can quickly and accurately resolve your customer’s issues, there’s an excellent chance you can win them over. The tips offered today could help you turn someone who once had a negative impression of your company into a brand advocate.