The PissedConsumer team conducted a study on the impact of negative reviews on business prosperity. Between February and April, we surveyed over 4000 users of our platform. This research aims to help businesses better understand the psychology of negative reviews, the reasons that drive consumers to write them, and to illustrate the importance of online reputation management for business development.

We would like to share with you the following findings from our research

  1. How many consumers read a review before purchasing a product or service
  2. The impact of negative reviews on consumer choice
  3. Which sources consumers trust when looking for reviews
  4. The reasons consumers leave negative reviews
  5. How many consumers are willing to give a company a second chance after a negative experience

Download the PDF version, where you will find more details about our study, including methodology, age and geography of respondents.

How Much Do People Rely on Reviews?

 84% of shoppers reas reviews before the purchasing decision

The PissedConsumer survey shows that 84% of respondents read reviews before contacting a company for a product or service. We also compared this data to other researches from the world-renowned organizations:

Three different surveys confirm each other's findings - 8 out of 10 consumers are interested in the user experience of others when choosing a product or service. More often than not, people looking for reviews are interested in negative feedback, because our brains are naturally wired to look for danger. That's why customers can scroll through a dozen positive reviews, but the single negative one may become the critical point in their decision-making process. 

How Negative Reviews Impact Your Business

The impact of negative reviews can be divided into positive and negative parts. Negative online reviews and complaints have a direct impact on your bottom line. Potential customers who read negative reviews will choose your competitors, and the percentage of lost customers and revenue due to a bad online reputation is more than tangible.

We asked our respondents, "Can negative reviews influence your purchase decision?" Over 80% of respondents said "Yes."

statistics of how negative reviews impact on customers purchasinf decisions

Many companies underestimate the impact of their online reputation on their business success. Negative reviews are one of the most obvious, yet powerful reasons that slow down business development and complicate the work of the sales department. Statistically, your business loses up to 80% of potential customers due to a negative reputation.

With proper online reputation management, you should communicate with the authors and address their issues. After that, you will be able to ask them to change their reviews. Often, these consumers become your brand advocates. It may take a lot of effort on the part of customer service professionals; however it will be beneficial in the long-term. 

Treat the authors of negative reviews as your personal business development consultants. They have already figured out where your business can grow; all you have to do is hear them and fix the issue.

Customers Don’t Trust Reviews on Companies’ Websites

Your company website probably has testimonials from your past customers. How much do you think your prospects trust them?

Only 35.4% of consumers say they have looked for customer reviews on a company's official website. They most often look for reviews on Google, including Google Business, Amazon for products, and review sites like PissedConsumer.

Why does this happen? Consumers know that no company is going to post negative things about themselves on their own site. That's why most people look for the truth about companies on third-party resources. 


Google and review sites are the most popular places for consumers to find reviews because they are unbiased. For example, on the PissedConsumer review platform, all content is user-generated and only the author can change the text or rating. As a result, millions of users read and write reviews on our site every month.

If you are not sure where to focus your online reputation management efforts, consider conducting a comprehensive brand reputation audit. It will help you analyze where your customers are leaving the most reviews, which source is driving the most relevant traffic, and what impression your audience is getting from reading reviews about your company.

Reasons Why People Write Reviews

We believe this is one of the most important takeaways. By understanding the root causes, you can build a proactive online reputation management strategy. 

Our research shows that users have each other's backs. More than 28.5% of respondents said they leave negative reviews to warn other customers that they may have a negative experience with that company. Once again, word of mouth can be impactful when it comes to making purchase decisions.

Top reasons that drive customers to write reviews

However, the following figure is more useful for companies from a reputation management point of view - 20.4% are consumers who want to attract the attention of the company to contact them and solve the problem. Often, the source of such problems is the company's poor customer service. 

Nearly 87% of consumers say they try to contact a company before posting a review. Are they able to reach you?

If your company's reviews are mostly negative, you might want to pay attention to the customer service of the customer journey stages mentioned by the review authors. We also recommend reading our article Reviews vs. Complaints - When a comment is not enough to understand the difference between the two.

Back to the reasons - 17% said they leave reviews to help the company improve by pointing out areas where they can do better.

How Many Consumers Give a Company the Second Shot

We asked our users if they would be willing to use the services of a company that had disappointed them once. 45.3% answered firmly no, there is no second chance. At the same time, 33.1% of respondents are willing to give a chance if the company solves their current problems. Meanwhile, only 11.2% will contact the company and won't be deterred by a one-time negative experience.

Percentage of customers who will give the company a second chance after a negative experience

Negative feedback is not a sign that this customer is lost and no longer interested in you. On the contrary, you should respond to these customers to regain their trust. Be active in online reputation management. This will reduce your client churn caused by negative experiences by half.

Download the PDF version, where you will find more details about our study, including methodology, age and geography of respondents.

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  1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.
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