There’s no denying that reviews play an integral part in the purchasing process of most consumers now. With most people reading online reviews before making purchase decisions, and 88% of those consumers trusting reviews they read as much as they do personal recommendations, it’s practically impossible to brush the importance of reviews to the side.
Here are some hard truths about online reviews:
1. They’re collected whether you want them to be or not.
Even if you don’t have a software implemented that asks your customers for reviews, chances are, someone’s opinion about your business or product is somewhere on the Internet. Many websites are available (like Yelp) that allow customers to give feedback, good or bad, about you. These are called passive reviews. Check out this article to learn more about passive reviews and how to counteract them.
2. If you aren’t asking for reviews, chances are, a lot of your online feedback will be negative.
Few people go online to rave about a good experience they had with a company. As human beings, it’s in our nature to SCREAM about our bad experiences with a product or business. Why do you think it’s so difficult to have a great star-rating on Yelp? There are a number of ways to resolve these kinds of reviews. Check out our article on managing negative reviews here.
3. Reviews aren’t always fair.
It sucks that shipping delays happen, or that your customer comes in on a bad day and gets set off if everything isn’t perfect for them. Those kinds of circumstances aren’t always your fault, and the negative reviews that come as a result may seem unfair.
4. People may leave false reviews.
Some people will stoop so low that they will write false negative reviews about your company. However, thanks to the ‘Lanham Act’, this is illegal. It doesn’t stop everybody though. This could be a competitor, a past customer that holds a grudge, or an angry employee. The worst part? It’s hard to prove that these reviews are fake.
If you can prove that they’re fake, you can reach out to the company collecting your reviews, make your case, and potentially have the review removed.
Another tip here: don’t try to counteract false negative reviews with false positive ones. In May of 2016, Total SEO CEO was caught writing fake reviews for his company, and legal action was taken. Aside from the financial penalty for doing this, your company name will hold the shame that it had to write its own reviews.
Reviews are necessary now that consumers are relying heavily on them in purchase decisions. It’s important to be aware of the negatives of online reviews so you can do your best to handle them. 6 tips for managing negative reviews can be found here.