Recent Posts

Our Newest Web Project Launches

Aug 21—We are happy to announce the birth of our newest baby - a brand new website for Warkwyn Associates. Who? Warkwyn is an accomplished audio design and engineering firm. We are sharing this news with...Read More

Look Like Who You Really Are

Jul 30— Do you look like who you are? This question is not an “if a tree falls in the woods” Zen kind of question. What we are really asking is: "Do your graphics and other marketing...Read More

Redefining the word Customer

Jul 01—We recently attended the InfoComm trade show in Las Vegas and came away thinking about the meaning of the word “customer” and the way one’s definition influences a brand’s marketing...Read More

Point Of Sale Displays that Sell Product

Jun 17—You are already using the Internet, social networks and traditional media to reach the customer with your brand story. But if you’re not telling your unique brand and product story at bricks and...Read More

What do your customers think of you

Jun 03—A special guest blog by Wendy Price Some of you may say, “I already know what they think.”  Others of you might say, “I’ll just ask my sales people and account managers...Read More

Ten Print Advertising Tips

May 22—In our last blog we made a compelling case that print advertising is relevant and valuable even in this digital age. Now we turn our attention to a handful of basic techniques for making your print advertising...Read More

The Value of Print Advertising

May 07—We almost always include print advertising in our clients’ marketing and media plans. Sometimes we get the reaction “Print? Really? We hear that print is dead.”  There is no...Read More

Making Text More Readable

Apr 15—Words. Every marketer needs them. Sometimes you need a lot of words to get your sales message across. (In our imaginations) our readers hunger to fully understand the marketing techniques we...Read More

Retail Reality-Product Demos-and You

Apr 02—Remember when owning a decent stereo was a major life goal and when shopping in a hi-fi store was fun? We are unapologetically nostalgic for the days when retailers actively sold A/V products; when the...Read More

Ma Mark Marketing or the Importance of Email Subject Lines

Mar 19—Regular readers of the CE Marketing Prose newsletter may have noticed oddities in our last two emails. The February 19 edition went out with the subject line “Mark” in place of “Marketing...Read More

How to Stay out of the Trashcan or the Lessons Learned from a Parking Lot

Mar 04—Marketers of CE products should count themselves lucky. We have it easy; we’re selling fun stuff – toys that help people enjoy great music and entertaining movies and TV programming. But just...Read More

Five Ways to Make Time for Customer Outreach

Feb 19—“Time keeps everything from happening all at once." - Henri Bergson  If you’ve read our website or spoken with us about marketing you know that we’re absolutely rabid...Read More

Brands that Communicate Win

Feb 05—The most successful brands regularly keep in touch and stay top of mind with their customers (end-users and channel partners) via blogs, newsletters and social media. With the advent of new Google search...Read More

Content is Definitely King since Google Changed Search Algorithms

Jan 28—The word “algorithm” is the equivalent of Ambien – it puts most people right to sleep. So it is miraculous that we actually read the news about Google’s newest search engine algorithms...Read More

How Pawn Takes Queen

Jan 20—We would like all of our readers to believe we are the source of all marketing wisdom and insight.  While that is largely true, sometimes we stumble upon someone who has written an article that perfectly...Read More

Should High-End CE Companies Bother with Social Media

Dec 11—On several occasions clients have asked us whether it was worth their time and effort to participate in social media outreach. The tone in which the question was asked told us that the answer they wanted...Read More

Rants from the Frozen Tundra

Nov 25—A friend of ours from the land of baby seals* was inspired by our blog Turning Bad Consumer Reviews into Good  to send us a couple of rants regarding Big Mistakes he sees CE manufacturers consistently...Read More

Flying Without Navigation

Nov 13—Or how we learned to stop worrying and love the research bomb* Imagine you are on a jumbo jet for a 15-1/2 hour flight from LA to Australia. Just after takeoff the pilot announces, “Ladies and...Read More

Coal into Diamonds - Turning Bad Consumer Reviews into Good

Oct 26—We often advise our clients to allow consumers to post reviews on the company website. From the looks of horror on their faces you would think we had proposed offing Granny for the insurance money....Read More

Direct to Consumer Sales and Channel Stress

Oct 14—One of the many services we offer our clients is helping develop direct-to-consumer sales programs for their websites and email communications. When we’ve mentioned that option to some potential...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part Three

Oct 02—In our previous two blog posts we wrote about eight of the top twelve things a brand's website needs to do to be effective. If you didn't read Part One and Part Two you might want to...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part Two

Sep 17—In our last blog post we wrote about four of the top twelve things a brand's website needs to do to be effective. If you didn't read Part One you might want to do that now...................Done? ...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part One

Aug 28— It should be unnecessary to say it in this day and age but just for the record – Your website is the single most important weapon in your marketing arsenal. Don't believe it? When you're...Read More

Oct 26

Coal into Diamonds - Turning Bad Consumer Reviews into Good

We often advise our clients to allow consumers to post reviews on the company website. From the looks of horror on their faces you would think we had proposed offing Granny for the insurance money. (For the record, we don’t recommend doing that.)  We explain that there are easy and safe ways of controlling trolls, potty mouths and outright fraudulent reviews. Then the client asks, “but what if somebody leaves a bad review?

We maintain that even bad reviews can benefit your brand. This blog post will show you how.

First, a confession. One of us, at CE Marketing Pros, has been the customer from hell (Comcast probably has him on a hit list). Chances are, at some point you have been an angry irrational customer too.  Your anger seemed entirely rational to you at the time. You trusted the brand; you trusted the product or service. You were excited about it. You spent hard earned money and…it didn’t work. Arrgh.

If you complained, you’re one of the few. Most customers do not complain, only 20% of online reviews are negative.1 The larger problem is that for every complaint you hear there are 26 unhappy customers that you’ll never hear from.2 And those twenty-six dissatisfied customers will walk away from your brand and tell their friends online and off.

“Customers very rarely complain to the service/ product provider. Instead they will tell their friends, who will in turn tell their friends, creating a pyramid of dissatisfaction.”  2

So if you get a bad review what do you do? First, you have to make sure there are procedures in place to respond immediately to all complaints and all reviews of 3 or fewer stars. You should also make the time to thank those who leave glowing reviews. That makes customers feel better about posting the review and it encourages others to write their own good reviews. (And it’s just good manners as Granny would tell you.) According to a Bazaarvoice study, shoppers who read helpful brand responses to reviews are 186% more likely to make a purchase and show 157% higher average product sentiment.1

No one wants to see a bad review or complaint but the smart marketer will make lemonade out of lemons. Complaints are teaching moments that, properly handled, can add value to your brand in four ways.

  1. They offer the opportunity to demonstrate outstanding customer service.  A good marketer will make certain that all complaints get a fast response – less than 24 hours. Whether by email, by phone or in a review response, the customer will always react positively to your outreach. Most are stunned that you would even care. And we have found that the majority of problems can be resolved to everyone’s delight.  More often than not great customer service will turn your most vocal critics into equally vocal supporters and advocates for the brand that listens. And of those viewing your responses online, 41% will see it as a sign that the brand really cares about its customers.1

  2. They validate the authenticity of the good reviews.  Sites that only display glowing reviews are viewed as being non-credible. Nobody believes that 100% of buyers are thrilled and that any given product is perfect in every way. They will rightly conclude that all the bad reviews have been suppressed, and they may even conclude that the good reviews are fakes. Demonstrate that the reviews on your site are honest and real and the good ones will have more credibility and power.   

  3. They shine light on product issues.  Few product developers have the intuition and absolute power of Steve Jobs who would postpone product introductions indefinitely until every detail including features, accessories, packaging and marketing were flawless. We often have to learn from customers where we missed the target. Still, that’s preferable to wearing blinders. Customers will tell you things that you never thought of. They will use the product in ways you can’t imagine.  You may be able to use the feedback to improve existing product but you can certainly use it to make the next product better.

  4. They help you refine your marketing message, presentation and collateral. It is the plight of the marketer that he/she is forced to create positioning and marketing materials before all is known about the product. Being in the unenviable position of developing marketing programs and materials without ever seeing a finished product happens all too often. Customer responses will tell you whether you over-promised, missed the target on messaging, properly explained the functions of the product and its value proposition as well as tell you whether you chose the right distribution channels.  All is priceless in helping you better understand, target and sell the product.

We live in a connected world. The beauty of the Internet is that even a small company with a great product can attract the attention of thousands. Just as word of a company’s flawed product or, more critically, poor customer service will spread like wildfire. If you’re winging it with customer reviews and complaints, you’re flirting with disaster.  

If you don’t have well articulated written customer service policies and procedures that everyone who interfaces with consumers has seen and adopted, stop what you doing and deal with that now. Handling consumer complaints promptly in a consistent manner, particularly online, is vital. It’s the most important thing you can do today. One final thought: never outsource your customer service. Ever. More on this in a future blog post.  

If your website does not have provision for consumer reviews you are missing a golden marketing opportunity. CE Marketing Pros can help you implement a review system that enhances your brand's image and increases sales. 

About CE-Marketing Pros
We’re a full service marketing/advertising agency specializing in helping consumer electronics brands and retailers compete more effectively. Former marketing executives with two of the most successful CE brands, Al Ballard and Paul DiComo help brands STAND OUT in a crowded and confusing CE marketplace. 


1 The Conversation Index, Vol. 6, Bazaarvoice

2 1999, TARP worldwide 

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