"No matter how good a product, someone somewhere isn't going to like something about it. Customers want to know what that is because that is what is going to give them the confidence to actually buy it," says Godard Abel, CEO and founder of business review company G2 Crowd.
That's a hard concept for some entrepreneurs to embrace, however. In a recent survey of more than 1,000 small business owners, 28 percent admitted that they have tried to help their business with a fake Yelp review. The survey--conducted by Qriously, a company that conducts surveys via mobile devices--revealed that 41 percent claimed not to have written fake reviews for their companies, while the remaining 31 percent responded that they would "rather not say."
Negative reviews should be seen as opportunities rather than black marks, Abel says. "As a business owner you just have to be comfortable with the idea that having some complaints out there is OK. Then you can join the conversation and respond specifically to that consumer's complaint. It just increases trust and authenticity."
Research conducted by social commerce company Reevoo found that 68 percent of consumers trust reviews more when they see both negative and positive ones, while 30 percent suspect fakery or censorship if a product or company has no negative reviews. According to Abel, negative reviews on G2 Crowd's website get 200 percent to 300 percent more clicks than positive ones.
"I think that the psychology for all of us as buyers is to check the negative reviews first. You want to make sure that you aren't missing anything and see what is wrong with it," Abel says. "All that [positive reviews] really tell you is what's popular--not what you need to know."