Positive Outcomes from Negative Reviews of Your Software

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It’s happened.

Your company’s top-selling B2B software product has started receiving a sequence of negative online reviews. Gradually, word of this trend has permeated the company.

Your marketing team huddles up to discuss how this might impact their lead generation efforts.

Your sales team worries that their pipeline might begin to deteriorate.

Your executive team anxiously discusses next steps for handling this development with one major question in mind:

“How can we get these reviews taken down?”

Positive Outcomes of Negative Reviews of Your Software

Generally, negative reviews are not ideal, but they don’t have to be a death sentence either. In fact, there are often positive takeaways from receiving a legitimate negative review.

Here are a few points to consider, should a negative review or two befall your company.

1. Your product wasn’t a good fit – and that’s okay!

There aren’t many products that can serve all customers in the B2B software world. Buyer needs, sizes, and organizational structures lie on a broad spectrum, which creates the need for a diverse array of software offerings across every industry. Empowered and enlightened is the company that knows their target market and understands how their product serves that market.

A negative review from a certain type of customer can help predict how similar types of customers might not see success with your product. Such insight will inform your digital marketing campaigns, save your sales team from the added effort of pursuing ineffective leads, and spare your delivery team from a potentially brutal onboarding processes.

Of course, a perfect fit for your product still might write a negative review. In that case, your team’s openness to criticism, and willingness to use that criticism as fuel for product innovation, could end up improving your software.

2. Negative reviews make positive reviews look authentic

By displaying all reviews, positive or negative, your company shows that it has nothing to hide. One study from review giant Reevoo analyzed 2.5 million reviews and found that 68% of consumers trust reviews more if there’s a mix of good and bad. And from our own research, we found that only 18% of users said negative reviews made the product seem less trustworthy. The average buyer understands that no company, or product, has a perfect track record. Even the most profitable companies have their share of snafus!

When negative reviews comprise the minority of a company’s review base, they actually help draw attention to a company’s positive reviews. By sheer juxtaposition to criticism, positive reviews will glow, and buyers will assume that those reviewers must have really enjoyed their experience with the product if they took the time to review it.

Moreover, negative reviews show that your company does not discard buyer feedback. Buyer perception of the customer experience can influence a company’s acquisition of those customers. If those prospects get the sense that strained relations, or the threat of legal action, could accompany any sort of public insubordination, they’ll be less likely to sign on in the first place.

3. Showing off impeccable customer service

Companies can shape perception of the customer experience by responding publically (and politely) to negative reviews. Always respond to negative reviews – they give you the perfect platform to showcase your customer service.

If the culpability lies with your company, then you can demonstrate timely and diligent attention to the matter. If the negative review was the result of user error, then you can direct that user to the training and resources needed to succeed.

In some cases, customers may even think more highly of a company after an issue has been corrected from their review. Michael McCollough and Sundar Bharadwaj coined this phenomenon the “Service Recovery Paradox” in a 1992 contribution to Marketing Theory and Applications (published by the University of Virginia). Ever since, the service recovery paradox has been a staple of marketing philosophy.

4. Negative reviews (should) drive continued review growth

Soliciting more reviews should be your knee-jerk reaction upon reception of a negative review. Why? Because an influx of new reviews will give your customers a complete picture of how others regard your product.

Remember that Reevoo study from earlier? The same study correlates 50+ online reviews to a 5% increase in click-to-lead conversion rate and an 18% lift in sales.

Buyers will gravitate towards products with more reviews, so don’t sweat a few negative ones. As Len Markidan conveys in a Groove blog post, one negative review out of ten might give a buyer pause, but ten negative reviews out of a hundred just isn’t that big of a deal.

To help you drive review growth, we have put together this list of easy ways here.

Your turn!

If you have any further thoughts to add, please share! Just don’t say anything bad about my article, or I’ll sue you for libel.

Looking for software? Check out Capterra's list of the best software solutions.

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About the Author

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Andrew Jones

Andrew is a Marketing Adviser for Capterra and works with hundreds of B2B software companies to optimize their PPC marketing campaigns across both Capterra and its partner site, GetApp. Outside of Capterra, Andrew likes to play sports, travel, and spend time with his family and friends.

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[…] instance, Capterra said that negative reviews can create an authentic look. 68% of customers state that they trust more a […]

[…] instance, Capterra said that negative reviews can create an authentic look. 68% of customers state that they trust more a […]

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We have repair order software. We are now up to 44 reviews, with most being positive, but a few somewhat negative reviews. I simply answered the negative reviews like I would any customer, showing them in some cases how to fix it, in other cases I said that is an idea I will add to our programmers list.

I was actually glad that not all of our reviews were 5 star, it showed some reality. If I went somewhere and saw all 5 star reviews I probably wouldn’t trust that situation.

I even have one customer that gave us only 1 star, however the review was glowing. While that dipped our overall to 4.5 stars, I figure like me, folks are going to look at that 1 star review right away… and that is ok by me!

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Great article. Another important point that might be obvious but business owners often fail to think about; negative reviews help identify flaws in your system! The chance of a customer telling you straight up why he/she is leaving is actually pretty rare, the customers leave often without saying a word because they don’t want the agony of defending their decision or facing the arguments of a salesperson or a win-back-team. A review however can be written in peace and quiet (and some times even anonymously) and the reviewer will be more likely to share their honest opinion. No matter how painful the truth might be it’s extremely valuable feedback and should be taken very seriously. Without the negative review, would you even know that there was a problem?

Disclaimer; I’m the founder of a product ratings and reviews saas provider

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