How to Turn Your Negative Customer Reviews into Opportunities

No small business owner wants to receive a negative review. The truth is, if you’re in business, it’s impossible to please 100 percent of the buying public, no matter how hard you try. The most damage occurs when negative reviews are not balanced by positive responses. According to Trustpilot, shoppers are 67 percent more likely to buy after reading negative reviews as compared to the average shopper, but this only works if you have a strategy to deal with the problem. In other words, properly handled negative reviews represent an opportunity to increase sales.

Here are some tips to turn your negative reviews to your advantage:


A complaint needs a response. Answering a negative review can actually build consumer confidence, because it indicates your willingness to make things right. However, not all responses are equally effective – they must be timely, personalized and solve the problem. Your quick, polite response tells shoppers you are keenly interested about your reputation and are therefore likely to take complaints seriously. Your reactions will be situational, but the generous use of refunds, exchanges and credits should be a core policy. In the case of service-oriented businesses, offering to do the job over again for free will likely make a positive impression on shoppers.

Use tools:

Complaints can pop up anywhere. To stay informed, utilize social media management tools that send you alerts whenever your product or service is mentioned online. Awareness is the first step toward remediation, and app such as SparksFly consolidate social media feeds using artificial intelligence, allowing you to scan for mentions of your brand(s). You can then post an online response, even as you follow up privately with the customer. Your goal is to leave no negative comment unanswered.

Project a consistent personality:

Readers are sensitive to the tenor of your response. It should be factual, cheerful, honest and sincere. Never put the blame entirely on customers, even if it’s their fault. There is a polite way to inform customers about any misinformation they spread without putting them on the defensive. For example, you might point to product instructions to correct inaccuracies, but also apologize for instructions that confused the consumer and promise to clarify them. Never get into a negative dialog, even when you know you’re right, because it will turn off shoppers.

Publish positive reviews:

We shouldn’t have to say this, but never make up positive reviews – it could be construed as deceptive advertising. If you are doing a good job, you’ll receive plenty of positive comments. Use social media outlets to publicize these, and don’t be afraid to post paid search engine ads highlighting them. Forums are a natural destination to post positive comments, as long as you are transparent about their source and context. Invite your customers to post reviews on your website and on social media channels.

Place your company page on major online review sites:

You can post pictures of your products, store, employees who provide services, and so forth. Add directions, hours of operation and current promotions to help foster consumer interest.

Keep your chin up:

Occasionally, you’ll encounter a sourpuss who is impossible to please. Have faith that shoppers will suss out irrational reviews, especially if your responses are reasonable. Many small-business owners are perfectionists, but quickly learn that some situations are beyond their control. When you get a negative review, take all the right steps and then move on. Have faith in your abilities and your brand’s value, while remaining open to making improvements whenever necessary.

Tips to Capture Customer Reviews After Each Sale

Today’s customers don’t like to spend their money without researching their purchases first. While some people prefer to ask their family members and friends, a majority trust reviews from other consumers when making their purchasing decisions. In fact, 9 out of 10 people will read reviews to help them decide to visit a business or not!

What does this mean for business owners? That if you don’t have positive online reviews for your overall company (think Yelp) or for individual products or services (think Amazon product reviews), you are losing out on potential sales! Read on to find out to how capture customer reviews after each sale.

Make it Easy for Them

Most people are always on the go – at work or balancing personal responsibilities, so leaving a review is likely last on their minds. However, a lot of them may be more inclined to take a minute to do so if the process is made extremely easy for them.

Visiting a website, searching for a product and then reviewing it is a lengthy process; however, having a link to be able to leave a review right at your fingertips can make all the difference.

Implementing a customer relationship management system (CRM) can allow you to store your customers’ shopping history and their contact information, emailing them a link to review the individual purchase they made.

Stress the Importance of Their Feedback

People feel good about doing things that matter and can potentially help others. Business owners can utilize this to their benefit by stressing the importance of their customers’ feedback to the business and other clients.

Email a client after they have completed a purchase stating that your company is always looking for ways to improve your products and services, and you can’t do it without input from your customers. Additionally, use the same strategy to encourage shoppers to leave reviews to let others know about their experiences.

Reward Them

What can get people to leave a review when they are busy or simply don’t want to? A reward! There are many different ways to incentivize your customers, such as:

  • Discounts
  • Coupons
  • Invitations to exclusive shopping events
  • Gift certificates

Use Caution

A word of caution is that while trying to capture client reviews can grow your business, you need to be cautious when doing so. Some companies penalize business owners for soliciting reviews. Yelp goes so far as to prevent business owners from paying for “good” reviews by alerting Yelp users with a banner on the company’s Yelp profile if this activity is suspected.

Google and TripAdvisor prohibit review incentivization; TripAdvisor will flag an account with a red badge if its owner is suspected of paying people for reviews.

The bottom line is that you are free to ask and reward people for reviews on your own website, but should take caution when doing so on other websites.

For monetary help in setting up a review system or to offer incentives to clients, turn to IOU Financial! We offer small business loans of up to $300,000 in under 48 hours.

Surefire Ways to Turn Potential Customers Into Loyal Customers

Every business owner knows that the way to successfully grow a business is to have a loyal customer base. The increasing competition in the global marketplace makes customer acquisition costs (aka the amount of money it takes to land a sale) higher than ever before. Plus these days, the cost of online and traditional marketing that lead individuals to visit a website or a retail location doesn’t guarantee a sale. So how can businesses guarantee growth?

The businesses that have grown have found that the only way to do so is to turn potential customers into loyal ones. In fact, “on average, it costs approximately five times more to attract a new customer to your business than it costs to retain an existing customer,” according to one source. The companies that are not able to secure long-standing clients find that the price of constantly chasing after new customers often can’t sustain the business. But how can businesses land loyal customers? Follow these tips!

Consistent Communication

How many times have you purchased an item you simply loved, but then couldn’t recall the website or store where you found it? This is a problem many business owners have not found a solution to, although the solution is fairly simple. As with any relationship, if you want to upkeep a relationship with your clientele, you need to work at it. The way to do that is to keep in constant communication with current and potential clients.

A simple strategy to implement that relationship is to create a database of your online and physical visitors. In order to collect your customers’ information, you should ask them to sign up for a newsletter or enter their email to receive exclusive coupons and discounts, as well as helpful articles and announcements about new products or services. Doing so will not only keep your brand fresh in your customers’ minds, but will also encourage them to shop with you.

Customer Service

Other than quality offerings and affordable pricing, one the most important characteristics that separates successful businesses from unsuccessful ones is customer service. Although some business owners try to cut costs in that area by automating the process or transferring services overseas, the truth is that companies can’t afford not to invest in excellent customer service.

World-known brands, such as Amazon and Zappos, developed their entire business plan on the importance of the customer, treating them with respect and integrity. When your organization has a solid customer service plan, you offer a value to you clients that will set your business apart from the competition, leading to repeat sales.

Become an Authority

While every business owner wants to be great at sales, the most successful entrepreneurs know that one sale doesn’t lead to lifelong loyalty. They have caught on to the fact that while customers can purchase products from anyone, they are much less likely to be swayed by competition if they trust the source they are buying from.

How do you get your customers to trust you? Honesty and transparency are two ways, but authority is another. If you become an authority in your niche market, you will put yourself in the position to give shopping advice and curate what your customers should buy, instead of leaving the decision up to them.

By truly becoming an expert in your field, whether it’s health, marketing, accounting, etc., you can write helpful articles, answer questions and make online videos that educate your clients about your space. When you are seen as a leading figure, your potential customers will turn into loyal customers.


The truth is that while it is more cost-effective to land a repeat sale than a new sale, you will likely need help in investing into a customer loyalty program. IOU Financial is here to fuel the growth of small business. We can provide a small business loan of up to $150,000 in as little as 48 hours. Contact us today!