Author Archives: Doug Roberts

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

There are many ways a legalized cannabis, CBD, hemp, or neutraceutical company’s reputation can be damaged on the internet. Bad reviews, FDA warning letters, and bad press can have a catastrophic impact on their ability to secure clients and customers. 

Social proof is widely considered to be the most effective way to persuade customers to purchase a product or service, and this is no different in the legalized cannabis industry. So how can you respond to a negative review? What can you do if your business has experienced the power of social proof in a detrimental way?

In this article, I’ll discuss the recommended strategies for responding to negative reviews. Keep reading to learn how to repair your brand’s digital reputation. 

Strategies for Responding to Bad Reviews

It might be tempting to respond to a negative review with frustration or even anger, but the best course of action involves a much more measured approach.

First, try to remember research shows that consumer trust in reviews has limits—studies found that businesses with reviews higher than 4.5 stars actually performed worse with subjects and were regarded as too good to be true.

So, while I’m not saying bad reviews are a good thing, there is always a bright side. There are also strategies to disarm the negative review and prevent it from ruining consumer trust in your business.  

Here are some strategies for how to deal with a negative customer review of your cannabis business or brand. 

  • Make sure your business/profile is claimed: Most platforms only allow businesses to respond to negative reviews if they have claimed their business profile.
  • Respond to negative reviews quickly: The BBB, Google My Business, and other review-based platforms allow businesses to respond to bad reviews. The sooner you respond to the negative review, the fewer customers will read the review without also seeing your response. 
  • Have a plan: Have a template for responding to negative reviews. This doesn’t mean the review shouldn’t be customized, but it should ensure all the necessary pleasantries are included. Open with a sincere apology, and end by thanking them for sharing their feedback.
  • Never communicate with anger: Be as courteous and respectful as possible. Remember that other customers are reading your response and imagining how they would be treated by you if they had complaints about your products or services. You want to reestablish trust with them.
  • Include information about remediation: Offer to resolve the customer’s complaint. In these situations, it’s up to your discretion to go above and beyond, but remember that doing so will build trust with customers who are reading the negative review.
  • Offer to contact the customer or include contact information: This will reaffirm your business’s commitment to customer satisfaction and show that your team is serious about offering a resolution.
  • Respond even when the bad review is inaccurate: Follow the guidelines above (timely, without anger) and respond appropriately to an inaccurate negative review. Provide evidence for the instance stated, and offer examples of your business practices or other standards of quality you have in place. Answer specifically, firmly, and politely. 
  • Appeal reviews that are abusive or threatening: Even bad reviews are protected by law, but any reviews containing hate speech, threats, or vulgarities may be eligible for removal. 

Strategies for Improving BBB and Google Ratings

A single negative review doesn’t have to ruin a business’s online reputation. Here’s how companies can improve their overall rating to make negative reviews less impactful. 

  • Encourage new reviews: The more customers post positive reviews, the better your chances are of balancing out the bad review. Send out emails, offer prizes or incentives, and remind customers at checkout to review.
  • Be patient: Typically, the most recent bad reviews are the ones that get the most attention. This means the negative review will gradually lose power as time passes. 
  • Make changes: Step back and evaluate each bad review, seek advice from trusted advisors, and see the negative review as a way to improve your business. When needed, make the appropriate changes and invest time and resources in the future of the business. 

How Qredible® Helps Businesses Respond to Bad Reviews and Warning Letters

Unfortunately, most review-based platforms don’t allow businesses to verify their corrective actions and resolutions. In some cases, customers can choose to remove their review once their complaint has been resolved, but that doesn’t happen automatically. This means negative reviews that have been resolved can continue to negatively impact a business’s reputation.

Businesses in Qredible® can use advanced verification technology to validate that corrective actions have been taken and complaints have been resolved. This information will be listed on the Qredible report and profile alongside the complaint so that customers will be able to immediately see that corrective actions were taken. 

This same technology also applies to other negative press and FDA warning letters. When the FDA issues a recall or warning letter, it is critically important that businesses respond by following all the necessary steps, recalling all products, and doing everything in their power to correct the concern.

When they do so, however, the close out-letter is not published and disseminated as the warning letter is. Businesses should issue statements regarding their corrective actions, but once trust has been broken, it’s difficult to earn it back completely.

In Qredible, businesses can publish verified close-out letters indicating the FDA complaint has been resolved. By addressing complaints and bad reviews, they can reestablish trust with their customers, investors, and ancillary businesses.

Respond to Negative Reviews in Qredible® 

In addition to remediation services, Qredible also makes it easier for businesses to avoid complaints, recalls, and legal risks with advanced blockchain technology.

Lab reports are vital resources for all members of the cannabis supply chain. In Qredible, lab reports and COAs come directly from the labs and testing equipment. They are submitted into the blockchain and rendered immutable. 

This limits the risk of product contamination and improves product quality. As a result, it also decreases the possibility of receiving an FDA warning letter or negative review. 

Learn How to Respond to Negative Reviews in Qredible®

In Qredible, you won’t need to learn how to remove negative Google reviews. When businesses complete the Road to Qredibility, they will receive a report that outlines a broad picture of their reputation and history. This includes news articles, litigation reports, and mentions on digital platforms. By verifying corrective actions in Qredible, companies have the power to repair their negative reputation and regain the trust of customers.

Trust, transparency, and support to protect and grow your business: that’s what you’ll find in Qredible. Want to learn more? Get started today.

Cannabis Consumers: Purchase

Understanding legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp buyer behavior is essential for product development and effective marketing. But this industry is still in its infancy, which means demographic and purchase driver information is limited and sometimes unreliable.

Some studies have shown the fundamental purchase drivers for cannabis products are similar to other types of goods, which is great news for businesses in the industry. There are also promising studies emerging from countries where the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis have been federally legal for several years. 

So, how can those in the U.S. market understand what exactly incentivizes legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp purchase? What distinguishes one brand from another? And what are contemporary buyers prioritizing and demanding from the companies they purchase from?

In this article, we will explore research that demonstrates exciting trends among cannabis customers. Keep reading to discover opportunities to improve communications with consumers. 

Age Demographics of Cannabis Consumers

By a large margin, the majority of American cannabis consumers fall into the Millennial and Gen Z age group.

A recent survey resulted in the following figures:

  • 22% of consumers were 18 – 29
  • 11% of consumers were 30 – 49
  • 12% of consumers were 50 – 64
  • 3% of consumers were 65 +

Surveys have also found the largest demographic of cannabis users were unmarried millennial men, but not by a wide margin. Young adults of varying genders and backgrounds reported using legalized cannabis for both recreational and medical purposes, meaning that the strongest demographic indicator for cannabis use was age.  

Purchase Drivers for Cannabis Consumers

As the legalized cannabis industry is only just emerging, there is limited and unreliable data about purchase drivers for these products. 

In one study of Canadian consumers—conducted after federal legalization and published this year—participants provided information about different purchase drivers and their importance. 

The primary drivers were as follows:

    • Price: Consistent and affordable pricing structure.
    • Quality: Compliance with safety and production regulations, potency, and craftsmanship.
    • Packaging: Label information that conveys details about a consumer’s needs.
    • Social influences: Recommendations or social and cultural beliefs.
    • Retailer characteristics: Availability at a local dispensary and staff knowledge.

Cannabis Purchase Drivers: Price

Price is one of the leading factors cannabis consumers cited for their participation in the illicit market. Although consumers do correlate the low prices in the illicit market with a marked decrease in quality, a small number of them still prioritized affordability.

The demographic of users who were most concerned about price were experienced and frequent users, suggesting that there is a largely untapped market of frequent cannabis users continuing to purchase illegal cannabis. 

Cannabis Purchase Drivers: Product Quality

While the same study found that there was no shared single definition of a quality cannabis product, there were overlapping elements. These included:

  • Compliance with regulations
  • Accurate labeling for potency, effectiveness, and ingredients
  • Cultivation with high production standards
  • Safety of the product

Cannabis Purchase Drivers: Packaging

Surveyed cannabis consumers were also concerned with packaging and labels on the products they chose to purchase. While many felt that the packaging of federally legal cannabis was excessive and not environmentally friendly, they noted the importance of accurate and robust label information.

Some of the key pieces of information they preferred to read on a label included:

  • Warning information
  • Usage instructions
  • Full ingredients
  • Source information
  • Potency
  • Strain information

Overall, there was disagreement about the amount of packaging that should be used, but the survey group was unanimously appreciative of the comprehensive label information.

Cannabis Purchase Drivers: Others

Surveyed cannabis users have reported that they use cannabis as a solution for a variety of wellness-related concerns. An estimated 70% of cannabis consumers use the products to support their sleep health, and 59% consume cannabis to reduce stress and nerves.

The research on whether or not cannabis can support or relieve specific medical conditions or ailments is limited. As such, it is illegal to make medical claims in cannabis product messaging. 

However, regardless of whether or not cannabis has been proven to support these functions, the research suggests that consumers believe it can. As a result, a significant factor driving cannabis purchases involves a consumer’s belief that a product will be effective and include the correct ingredients for solving their problem. 

Cannabis Consumer Priorities and Values

Consumer values, especially among the Millennial and Gen Z demographic, have evolved significantly over the past few years. 

Two of the main shifts in consumer values include:

    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Consumers care more about inclusivity and they are willing to purchase from companies that demonstrate the same value. An estimated two out of three Americans make purchases based on social values.
    • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): Investors, workers, governments, and consumers are all increasing pressure on companies to make and adhere to their ESG commitments. Of those who cite sustainability as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, 70% are willing to pay a significant premium for sustainable products.

Build Trust with Cannabis Consumers in Qredible®

In the digital marketplace, consumers demand more transparency, trustworthiness, and commitment than ever before. If your company is laser-focused on providing that, the last thing you need is competition with deceptive marketing tactics. Are you willing to stand behind your brand commitments? 

False, accidentally fraudulent, or misleading claims diminish the hard work of responsible businesses and disincentivize them from putting forth the effort to engage in safe commerce. 

In Qredible®, companies are rewarded for transparency. They have access to premium resources that build a solid foundation of trust with their audience.

Trust, transparency, and support to protect and grow your business: that’s what you’ll find in Qredible. Want to learn more? Get started today.