Negative Homebuyer Reviews: 6 Ways They Benefit Your Bottom Line

Published September 3, 2020
Last updated September 3, 2020

93% of consumer purchase decisions are impacted by online reviews. This might be a worrisome statistic for you if your rating is less than perfect, but before you stress out consider this:

93% of consumer purchase decisions are impacted by online reviews.

(Podium)

Consumers spend five times longer on a website by interacting with negative reviews, and actually have an 85% increase in conversion rate. Why? Perfection is less credible meaning some bad reviews can actually work in your favor.

How negative reviews benefit your business

Here are six ways negative feedback can help boost your homebuilding business success:

1. Uncover areas to improve

Reviews shed light on your company’s performance, highlighting well-executed aspects of your building business and calling attention to overlooked areas in need of improvement. Negative feedback presents a unique opportunity to view your business in the eyes of the homebuyer, revealing issues you may not otherwise have noticed. 

Try to think of negative reviews as a free roadmap to greater customer satisfaction. Your customers are telling you exactly what they dislike and many will tell you what they want instead. Pay special attention to issues that repeatedly come up. If you open your mind to this information you can use it to grow in weak areas and fill the gaps in your shortcomings, helping you refine your processes and improve the way you do business.

2. Make good reviews look even better

Negative reviews can comparatively make your positive reviews look even better by boosting their effectiveness. When a prospective buyer looks through your reviews, they’ll likely weigh the pros and cons to make an educated decision. In fact, a few bad reviews aren’t enough to push most consumers away. People want to see a mixture, as long as the ratio of positive reviews is significantly more than the negative ones.

Also, many negative reviewers will still include details about positive features, providing unbiased, informative opinions to readers. And it’s important to recognize that a bad point to one buyer may be irrelevant to another – or may even be an advantage.

3. Build trust in your brand 

Negative reviews humanize your brand. Customers are more likely to interact with a brand that has a mix of good and bad reviews because it shows authenticity and legitimacy. Fake, paid, and filtered reviews are becoming more problematic, and online consumers’ awareness of this is growing. Most people acknowledge that everyone has different expectations and tastes, so zero negative feedback can be a red flag for some buyers.

In fact, you don’t need 5 stars to be successful. Purchase likelihood actually peaks between 4.0 and 4.7 stars and decreases the closer you get to 5.0. Also, businesses whose negative reviews make-up 15-20% of their total number actually average 13% more in annual revenue than businesses with only 5-10%.

4. Provide opportunities for honest dialogue

Getting a harsh review is never easy on the ego, but it’s the perfect opportunity to open lines of communication with your homebuyers and have honest conversations.

Let’s be candid, it can be difficult to respond humbly to a disgruntled or arrogant review. But consider this: 89% of consumers read business responses to reviews, so every response you leave is a reflection on your business. When you approach your replies with empathy and genuine desire to rectify a complaint, potential buyers will see your willingness to satisfy your customers and fix mistakes.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it to respond at all if the reviewer already appears to have moved on from the brand. But 95% of unhappy customers will use a brand again if they have their issue resolved. And many will leave new positive feedback indicating a company responded to and resolved their problem quickly. So next time you think a customer is long gone, remember there’s always a chance you can save the relationship and increase their customer loyalty. 

5. Supply substance for new ideas

In addition to negative reviews uncovering lacking areas in your operations, they can also provide validity for new ideas you want to implement that you just can’t seem to get everyone on board with. Customer feedback should be a driving factor for innovation because customer satisfaction has a huge impact on your bottom line, especially in the homebuilding industry. As consumer needs and wants evolve, your business should evolve to meet them. Reviews can offer some back-up to your vision and help others see why the changes you want to make will benefit the company. 

Customer feedback can also be a great place for new ideas to blossom from scratch. Common issues brought up in negative reviews can be a catalyst innovations you would have otherwise never considered.

6. Help inform customers

Negative feedback supplies potential buyers with details they need to make an informed, high-impact purchase decision, which ultimately leads to greater homebuyer satisfaction. Learning about service or product specifics makes consumers feel they can choose what’s best for their needs, and not go into a purchase blindly. Even if that means your brand isn’t that choice, it’s better to have a customer find a better match than make an uneducated purchase and leave a bad review on your site because of it.

Read More: Why Online Reviews Matter For Housing Professionals

Tips to respond to negative reviews

Here are four tips to positively respond to your negative reviews:

1. Respond in a timely manner

Make sure you monitor your reviews on a consistent basis so you can respond quickly. Timely responses show you value customer feedback and that you’re a responsible business owner. This is especially critical with negative reviews. Quick replies indicate you’re not only available to address concerns, but you’re actively paying attention to them.

2. Keep it professional

You can’t please everyone: the uncomfortable truth. But you can absolutely present your best self and address every review with a positive attitude. Customer satisfaction can be tricky, requiring an individual approach to each situation. Do your best to listen, take notes, and offer the best solution you can. In the case of a review that is clearly unfair and false, remain respectful and respond factually.

3. Be empathetic

Only 5% of people will take the time to leave a negative review when they have a really bad experience, which means their issue was very real and upsetting for them. Acknowledge their frustrations, show your concern, and offer a solution. Sometimes all a customer needs is to feel heard. When you manage your negative reviews effectively you assure your current and future customers that their grievances will be resolved.

Only 5% of people will take the time to leave a negative review when they have a really bad experience, which means their issue was very real and upsetting for them

(GatherUp)

4. Respond to every review

Positive or negative, take the time to respond genuinely (and manually – avoid templates) to every review you receive. Each encounter with your homebuyers is an opportunity to either strengthen your relationships with them or to gain their loyalty back. Businesses that don’t reply to any reviews lose on average, 9% of revenue annually, and those that respond to at least 25% of reviews increase their revenue by 35%

Related: Reacting vs. Responding to Online Reviews

It’s not all bad

Too many negative reviews can hurt your business, but don’t let the few you receive outweigh the many good ones. Look at each bad review as a chance to improve your customer experience, grow your brand reputation, and reveal flaws and missteps in your business strategy.

How Are You Measuring Your
Customer Experience?

Learn how AvidCX can help.