The surprising benefit of negative reviews

negative reviews

Positive online reviews are good for business, so it’s only natural attorneys try to avoid negative ones. But what if negative reviews weren’t always so bad? What if their presence could bring an air of authenticity to your online reputation and ultimately drive more clients to your practice? As it turns out, they can.

The curiously positive impact of negative reviews

The purpose of attorney reviews is to drive more business to your practice, so wouldn’t it be good to know how reviews actually influence purchase decisions? The Spiegel research team partnered with PowerReviews to analyze millions of customer experiences from three e-commerce sites, and found that the more expensive and higher consideration the purchase, the more reviews mattered. However more stars, didn’t always equal more conversions.

What researchers discovered is that the sweet spot for ratings peaks between 4.0 and 4.7. In their study, the optimal rating varied across product categories, but in no category was the optimal rating a perfect 5.0. In fact, products with an average rating in the 4.7 – 5.0 range were less likely to be purchased than those in the 4.2 – 4.7 range. The results reinforced researchers’ previous findings, and led them to conclude that readers are skeptical of reviews that are too positive and, in many cases, a negative online review is seen as more credible.

In one of their top five takeaways, the researchers stated, “Allowing negative reviews on your site helps build credibility with shoppers. Rather than trying to eliminate negative reviews, monitor them and respond to them.”

So what does this all mean? It’s undeniable that reviews have an impact. Avvo research revealed 95% of consumers said reviews mattered when deciding which attorney to hire. This is where things get interesting: negative reviews matter just as much as the positive ones—maybe even more. In fact, a previous PowerReviews study indicated that 82% of consumers intentionally seek out negative reviews when researching online. We simply can’t underestimate the curiously positive benefit of having a few blemishes on your online reputation.

How to turn negative reviews into a positive

Embrace the negative reviews, and try to manage them effectively by offering thoughtful responses when possible. Responding to bad reviews doesn’t have to be complicated. Review best practices for crafting a reply.