You can't please everyone. Even if you have a top product, one day something won't work, taste or look good. And that's how you get a bad review. Fortunately, even negative reviews can boost sales or brand credibility.
In fact, a bad experience is quite common and people know it. If you don't have any negative reviews, up to 95% of buyers will think you're cheating. According to research, ideal reviews contain a mix of ratings between 1-5 stars, with the most desirable average rating being between 4.2 and 4.5.
Why are customers so attracted to negative reviews? The psychological concept of negative bias explains it all.
According to it, the brain is much more interested in bad news than good news. In practice, this has some interesting implications:
The principle of negative bias directly explains why bad reviews are important to customers:
In 2011, a popular wine critic described one brand of expensive Tuscan wine as "tasting like sweaty socks". The result? A 5% increase in orders and publicity with the world's leading media.
On average, negative reviews can bring up to 45% more sales, even when the criticism is really harsh. That's according to research from the University of Pennsylvania, which focuses on book sales. Studies by the universities of Zurich and Copenhagen have come to a similar conclusion.
Certainly not that you build a business on negativity. For example, we know from Moz's research that just four or more negative references to your product leads to a loss of up to 70% of customers.
The positive effect of bad reviews is only additive and works more for established, stable businesses, to which it adds depth and a realness. Think of it as the last ingredient of a truly perfect brand.