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Why Bad Reviews Can Be Good for Your Company

Reviews are everywhere, and they play a significant role in whether or not a customer decides to pick your company over another one.

In fact, online reviews affect 67% of purchasing decisions, so it is essential to utilize your reviews and keep up with them.

Everyone knows word of mouth is excellent for a business, and this is still true even in the digital marketplace. Make sure to keep up with all of your customers and their needs because 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations.

How Bad Reviews Can Help

Shopper Approved collects up to 10 times more reviews than their competitors, but not every review collected will be a five-star review.

Although this means a customer may not have had a good experience, their experience is not a total loss.

Bad reviews can give you actionable insight into things you can do to improve your website, your store, or your products.

Improve Your Business

By using Shopper Approved, our company, Smith Corona Labels & Ribbons was able to collect and easily view any bad reviews. As a result, we got valuable and actionable input on our website, company, and products.

Freight Rates

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After receiving some reviews about the cost of our freight rates, Smith Corona decided to look into what we can do to improve those costs so we could eventually improve the satisfaction of our customers.

We decided to try upselling our customers to increase their order size.  If a customer could get their order over a certain total weight, it would qualify for LTL shipping.  This matters because LTL shipping is much cheaper than small parcel (UPS, USPS, or FedEx) delivery. This can offer huge savings while dealing with a large order and is presented to the customer before the checkout process.

Shopper Approved - checkout page showing estimated shipping cost

In addition to this, we decided to start allowing our customers to use collect accounts.

Collect accounts charge the recipient of the shipment to be charged for shipping instead of us. This allows the customer to have a better sense of control over the delivery and they can choose their preferences based on cost.

Because we sell business to business, our customers may already have negotiated rates with delivery companies like FedEx or UPS, offering the option to use their collection accounts could allow them to pay much less for their products.

Manufacturing Defects

Using bad reviews can help a company quickly identify a problem they were previously unaware of. For example, Smith-Corona noticed a specific product of ours was receiving bad reviews online.

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With this information, we discovered a batch of our products did not work as well as intended. In short, we had a small manufacturing defect that was making it difficult for our customers to peel some labels off of the liner.

Using the bad reviews, we were able to notify other customers and stop the selling of the product to prevent people from receiving a product that isn’t top quality.  

We were also able to fix the orders that were wronged and sent our customers the correct order with new labels.

It’s crucial to keep an eye out for bad reviews because you could be informed of a problem and fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.

If one customer has a bad review of a product, there is a good chance other customers may have a similar experience. If you take action quickly, you can be ahead of the curve and do damage control.

Highlight the Good Reviews

A business that shows all of its reviews, both positive and negative, shows the company is transparent and has nothing to hide.

Just because you have a bad review doesn’t mean your company is bad.

Bad reviews can help a customer feel better about your company because they know your reviews are real and that you don’t hide any negative reviews. Harvard Business School found that consumers trust reviews more when they see a mix of good and bad reviews.

Customers know that no one is perfect, including your company, but they will appreciate that they are getting honest feedback from all other customers like them.

Sometimes showing negative reviews can increase your sales! Jonah Berger, an expert on viral marketing, found that negative buzz can increase sales because negative publicity increases product awareness.

However, negative reviews won’t help if you don’t correctly deal with them.

More Customer Engagement

Reviews can be a great way for your company to engage with current customers. Instead of paying for advertisements to reach customers, you can have your customers come to you.

From there, you can engage with your customers and get feedback on your products, service, and overall experience of your company. Not only can you use this feedback to your advantage, but your customers will feel like you care about them individually.

Personalization is key with consumers, and they will be more likely to use your company again or recommend you to other people.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Shopper Approved notifies you whenever a customer leaves a one or two-star review, but what you do with that review is up to you. It’s important to take a bad review and use it to improve your company. Not only will it help you get better reviews in the future, but it will also give you the opportunity to fix the customer’s problem so they will want to update their review to reflect your efforts in customer service and satisfaction.

Acknowledge the Review

Ignoring a bad review won’t make it go away. It may send a message to your customers that you don’t care about them.

Customers want to feel important and don’t want to be ignored by you. They are paying their hard-earned money for your product or service, so they don’t want to be overlooked.

Quickly acknowledging a negative review will make a customer feel important and the better they feel, the more cooperative they may be in solving the problem.

Not only will this help you with your current customer who left a bad review, but it will show other potential customers that you care about individuals.

Show You Care

No matter how good your business is, mistakes do happen. What matters is how you handle those mistakes.

Dealing with bad reviews positively and respectfully not only helps make it up to the customer who left the review, but also shows other customers how you handle any mistakes.

When dealing with negative reviews, you may have to talk to an angry customer. Make sure you are polite, and professional, and properly hold yourself and your company accountable for any mistakes. Don’t make excuses and don’t get emotional about the problem, you don’t want to make things worse.

Connect with your customer and show them you understand where they are coming from. Just because they left a bad review doesn’t mean you have lost them as a customer forever, especially if you resolve the problem quickly and politely.

Don’t just focus on bad reviews, show you care about your customers who are leaving good reviews! Showing you are active online towards all your customers will show potential customers you prioritize the customer experience and their satisfaction.


After dealing with a bad review, you still want that person back as a customer.

Make sure to reach out to the person who left a bad review and check in with them. Ask some follow-up questions to show you care about their experience.

Are they now satisfied with their service or product?

What can be done to gain them back as a customer?

Do they have any feedback on how you handled the resolution of their issue?

By gathering this information, you can not only improve your business but improve your customer service strategies by learning from real experiences.

Reviews can be a powerful tool for businesses and consumers alike, but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of them. By utilizing an online review, you can work to grow your company and make it the best it can possibly be.

James Philbrick

At Smith Corona, we are vertically integrated, allowing us to create high-quality thermal labels to sell at a low price. We are the only label manufacturer on the market that makes their own adhesive, the material that makes the label stick to what it is applied to. Our 600,000-square-foot facility allows us to stock several items for same-day shipping so our customers can get the labels they need without a lead time at the best prices on the planet.

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Duane “DJ” Sprague is a conversion rate expert, a Certified Behavioral Design Coach by the Online Influence Institute, and a certified expert by the Behavioral Design Academy, the Mindworx Academy, and the Interaction Design Institute. As CMO of a billion-dollar national franchise, he leveraged the power of social proof and online reviews to improve SEO and accelerate growth, as he developed and managed a comprehensive online reputation management strategy that spanned nearly 200 websites. He has written for Forbes, Small Biz Daily, and several industry trade magazines, contributed to several books and university course packs, and is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as a subject matter expert. He holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication and has received the 1st Place Gold Award in a global integrated marketing competition. Duane is the CMO of Shopper Approved, where he works with thousands of ecommerce websites to improve their SEO and CRO.

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