The Psychology of Bad Reviews

iReview
5 min readApr 11, 2023

As a business owner or startup using iReview, you may have wondered, what is the psychology behind angry reviews? Are bad reviews mostly written by those with anger management issues? Let’s dive into these questions:

The psychology behind angry reviews can be complex and can stem from various factors, including dissatisfaction with a product or service, frustration with customer service, or a personal grievance with the business.

Dissatisfaction

Be honest, is your product or service priced correctly? The way you advertise greatly sets the tone and expectations of the customer, price is a major factor. Perhaps you’re running a hotel business that’s been experiencing a bad run of sub-optimal (sub-4-star) reviews. One great remedy to constant low ratings is issuing a disclosure to the customer before their purchase. For example, “if you are higher than average body fat percentage individual, our air conditioning may not be satisfactory, if you are an above average lean and skinny individual, our heat may not be satisfactory, you must take responsibility for your own human circumstances.” The disclosure should clearly state what customers can expect but also what they themselves should be responsible for, or who your product may not be suitable for. This disclosure is ever present in drug and pharmaceutical commercials where the monotone orator is highlighting all the possible adverse side effects of taking the drug. For some weird reason, people need to be reminded that exceptions occur in product or service quality, that’s why in general your product or service is highly rated, +4.5-star, but unfortunately, exceptions do occur, and it’s these exceptions that prove your product or service is so great in general.

Customer Service & Personal Grievances

First of all, you must provide customers with all channels and avenues for their preferred method of communication with customer service which = live chat, phones, and email, with emphasis on live chat. Live chat is overwhelmingly the preferred contact method amongst millennials and new generations because of immediate human interaction, because it’s the fastest way to directly articulate and convey your issue to customer service, uninterrupted or with phone connection issues (email is way too slow for new generation attention spans). This is why you need to have live chat on your landing page, the best being Convosio by MyDev.com.

So, first make sure you’re not disappointing the customer by not even offering the communication channel they desire. Keep in mind, according to Zippia “live chat improves conversion rate by 40%”, don’t you want to also increase your sales rates?

Customers leave bad reviews because of customer service quality. Your support team needs to be friendly, and repeat the issue back to the customer to make them feel understood. Making people feel understood is extremely important especially when they are angry. Customers with issues are contacting your business because they are irritated to an extent. Your support department needs to be fast and straight to the point, do not verify the customer’s account if there’s no need, it’s just going to irritate the customer even more because they are already anxious to push out and express their concern or issue with your product or service. So, let the customer talk and make them feel understood. If your support team gives any pushback in these first few moments, it will lead to an automatic bad review (reduce the chance of your support department interrupting a customer by using live chat).

Keep in mind, when your customers are engaged with support, it is a moment for your business to shine and display its integrity and professionalism. If all goes well in resolving the customer issue fast, perhaps you can even upsell or motivate them to share how great your customer service was. Just a good reputation will spread to customers friends and family reinforcing repeat business and an increased potential customers. If your support team is combative and shows a lack of understanding, it’s going to thwart the customer, pushing them to tell their friends and family why your business sucks, and now you’ve just lost a possible repeat customer, new customers, and probably a bad review, and it’s your fault!

Silver Lining

However, not all bad reviews are necessarily written by individuals with anger management issues. Some people express their frustration or disappointment in a calm and constructive manner. Some people write a negative review impulsively in a moment of strong emotion, regardless of their general temperament,which is why it’s critical to make sure your customer service is serene and on point.

In other cases, writing a negative review can serve as a cathartic release for the individual, allowing them to vent their frustrations and feel heard. It can also serve as a way for them to warn others about their negative experience and potentially hold the business accountable.

Regardless of the psychology and reasons why people leave bad reviews, it’s an opportunity for businesses to publicly display their professionalism and express sincere interest in making sure their customer feels complete. So, it’s critically important to respond to all reviews, especially the negative ones as it highlights your good business demeanor. Just responding to a negative review, as long as it’s not offensive and displays some level of accountability puts other potential customers at ease and doesn’t hinder them from buying your product or service. You might even get lucky and the bad review will be removed or edited for the better after your response.

If you are experiencing bad reviews, or if you’re losing sleep at night fearing the next one, start using a reputation management system like iReview. Begin accumulating a plethora of 5-star reviews and mitigate 1-star reviews to an absolute minimum to none. iReview displays everything being written about your business from one central dashboard. Don’t even risk a negative review coming into existence, reply and squash any that exist already. Take your online reputation seriously! iReview.com

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iReview

iReview is an online rating, review & reputation management company that helps companies get more, quality reviews to help attract more customers.