Did you know that 92% of consumers have read online reviews in the past? When it comes to purchasing products, buyers want to feel well informed about what they are getting and with the rise of the Internet, the easiest way for them to obtain this information is through reviews. Companies such as restaurants and hotels are particularly reliant upon past customers’ reviews to gain future business. Many companies quote positive customer reviews on their websites to increase product sales as part of their online campaign. The trouble is, there are many more places on the Internet where customers can post reviews. Yelp reports receiving 26,380 reviews every minute! A negative review can completely cripple a new business and result in a severe drop-off in web traffic. This article explains why negative reviews are so influential and also what to do when your company receives one.
TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF
Some people say don’t Google yourself but we recommend doing exactly that. It is important to know what consumers are saying about your company and the discovery of positive and negative reviews can help you adapt your online campaign. You should set up an alert to notify you to new reviews and comments about your company. If you find a negative review, don’t ignore it. Additionally, don’t respond straight away when you’re feeling upset or angry.
Firstly, you need to find out whether there is anything to take seriously within the review. If they’ve highlighted a problem in the business, take steps to improve it so that future customers don’t experience the same issue. Take some time to draft your response to the complainant and contact them offline if possible. Allow them to have their say, ask questions and offer some sort of consolation for their negative experience. 95% of people who leave bad reviews will use a business again if their complaint is responded to in a quick and efficient manner. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away but dealing with it correctly can lead to an increase in product sales and web traffic.
KEEP ONLINE REVIEWS REAL
Most people read 10 reviews before making up their mind about a brand or product. It’s likely that some of these will be negative or have some form of complaint within them. And that’s ok. A study has shown that 95% of people are suspicious when they come across a company with perfect reviews and that this doesn’t actually increase product sales. It is expected that not every customer will have a satisfactory experience, so endless 5 star reviews look censored and actually may turn potential customers away. Therefore, don’t attempt to block or remove negative online reviews as part of your online campaign. Instead, follow the advice above and try to deal with the customer in a professional, polite and respectful manner. Respond in an eloquent and apologetic to satisfy the complainant and impress others reading reviews.
Google’s algorithm places an importance of 9% on reviews when determining search results. Therefore, numerous bad reviews can see your site drop down Google’s pages because the site is programmed to push companies with higher consumer satisfaction to the top. ‘Trolling’ is the term given to the actions of people who write bad reviews to damage companies deliberately. Becoming a troll target can be a real problem for small businesses because your reputation can be irreparably damaged and your web traffic will suffer from the depleted Google rankings. If you suspect your business is being trolled, report the websites to Google who may remove the reviews from their results if they deem it necessary.
Finally, it appears many people post reviews only when they have negative things to say about the product or brand. Perhaps it’s laziness but the vast majority of us do not post positive reviews if we have a good experience. However, a bad one will spur us into vocal action. This often means there are more negative reviews than positive on the Internet simply because humans like to complain. Encouraging your consumers to review once they have received their product is a good way to increase the number of positive reviews for your site. This should help to counteract the ‘trolling’ which occurs in other areas of the Internet.
Receiving a bad review isn’t the end of the world. It can offer your company the opportunity to improve your service, your products and your relationship with your customers. Build review responses into your online campaign. Use this communicative opportunity to boost web traffic and increase product sales by responding respectfully to dissatisfied customers.