Negative Reviews & Your Online Reputation
If you think that online reviews don’t matter much, determine how you react to them. If a family member or friends tells you that a product or service you are interested in, is “phenomenal,” what is your first reaction? I’ll bet, you won’t believe what you hear, at least, not right away. Hearsay is, well, so passé.
If you’re like most people, the first thing you do is look for reviews online. You want to know, “What are other people saying about the product or service?” When you see that first negative review, your instinct is to read it immediately. Why? Often a negative review provides you with what you believe is a more realistic view of the product or service.
How do bad reviews affect your business?
A handful of negative reviews won’t hurt your business. In fact, they may actually help; however, if you start seeing multiple negative reviews, pay attention. Reviews, both good and bad, affect how people see you long before they open their wallets to do business with you. Online reviews are today’s “first impression.” Your goal is to look good, really good, but not necessarily perfect.
People trust strangers more than their friends.
Most people are more likely to trust an online review than a recommendation from a friend or family member. To 85% of us, the internet is the ultimate source of truth. It seems counter intuitive that people would believe a review from an anonymous user, but they do if the writer of the review is articulate and provides sufficient details to be trusted.
People “yelp” if they don’t like their experience.
Not long ago, people who had a bad experience with a business had to jump over a plethora of hoops to get others to pay attention. Not anymore. Today, all that pent-up frustration goes directly online where it can do considerable damage. Monitoring your online reviews is critical. You want to address problems before they escalate and have a negative impact on your business.
You’ve got to work for good reviews.
Larry owns a home improvement business. When he completed a job recently, the homeowners were thrilled. Larry asked them if they would write an online review. They gave him an emphatic, “Yes!” Larry realized that the homeowners were busy people and that they might forget about the work he did for them, so he sent them a thank you card—not an email—with a photo of their newly remodeled kitchen. A few days later Larry saw that the homeowners had posted an outstanding review of his business. Going that extra mile is worth it. Balance a few negative reviews by providing incentives that will compel your customers to give you positive reviews. Ask customers to fill out a survey or share a review. Make it possible for them to leave reviews directly on your website.
You’ve got to be proactive.
If you’re going to beat your competition, you must care about online reviews. Positive reviews can help grow your business; negative reviews may turn customers away before they even give you a chance. If you don’t have any online reviews, potential customers may think you’re too much of a risk.
People will write reviews and others will trust what they write. It’s your responsibility to be proactive and ensure that you will have the best possible outcome when people mention your business.