The Power Of Negative Comments

March 29, 2006

When I spoke today about increasing your conversion rate, the topic of comments came up. “You know,” I mentioned, “Having negative comments is also very helpful.”

I could see the shock on people’s faces. Why would anyone put anything less than fabulous about themselves on their websites?

“Have you ever gone to a restaurant, asked the waitress, ‘How’s the apple pie tonight?’ and heard her answer, ‘It’s not that great. Why don’t you try the peach cobbler instead?'” I could see the audience members nodding their heads. “As soon as the waitress says something negative, your estimation of her goes up because now you really believe her when she says something positive.” Negative comments show that the positive ones are real (you aren’t vetting them and just pulling the diamonds.)

Negative comments work best when they aren’t on a more static website, but are posted by customers on a blog where you can turn them to your advantage. For example, here’s what you can write to the customer who complains about response time, : “Yes, the sale rep should have gotten back to you in a day instead of a week. My humblest apologies. We are all too human here, but I posted your comment in the office kitchen with a notice to all the sales reps about the importance of reaching our customers in a timely fashion. Thank you for your post!”