Brand.com Reviews the Review Sites
According to the online reputation management pioneers at Brand.com, reviews posted to consumer review sites are not just matters of ego or vanity. They make a very real, bottom-line difference. Any company that assumes these reviews are largely superfluous or harmless is deluding itself—and the cost could prove enormous!
Why Online Review Sites Matter
According to Brand.com, reviews matter for a number of reasons:
- The Internet has made it easier than ever before for consumers to quickly research a product or service before spending money on it. As such, consumers are all too happy to do their due diligence. Consumer review sites make it easy to get a quick glimpse into a product or service’s perceived value.
- In fact, sites like Yelp.com are highly favored by the search engine algorithms. So, if a consumer types your business’ name into a Google search window, your Yelp.com review profile will likely emerge as one of the top listings. Online reviews really set the tone for a company’s entire online reputation.
- Consumers take these review sites very seriously. In fact, studies have shown that between 80 and 85 percent of all consumers consult review sites before making big purchases. These reviews are trusted even more than specific recommendations from family members, friends, and co-workers!
- Because reviews are so influential over consumer behavior, they can make a very real impact on a company’s sales and its client retention. A Harvard study found that, among hotels, a single star on Yelp.com can make an enormous impact—10 percent or more—on total bookings. Likewise, studies show that restaurants with higher Yelp.com scores get more reservations and more tables filled.
- Review sites were initially important for restaurants and hotels alone, but they have since grown to encompass businesses in all industries and niches. To offer a comedic example, there is even a website out there that encourages consumers to submit reviews of prostitutes!
The Ill Effects of Bad Reviews
Reiterates Brand.com, reviews are very important and highly influential. A company that enjoys across-the-board favorable reviews, then, is in pretty good shape—and will surely experience soaring sales and profits. Companies with negative reviews, however, face a number of challenges. According to Brand.com, reviews that are negative bring about the following unwanted effects:
- Sales drop, and revenues begin to dwindle.
- Consumer complaints, chargebacks, and refund requests increase.
- One negative review tends to generate many more, opening the floodgates to a massive PR problem.
It is also important for companies to understand that a single bad review can make all the difference in the world. This is especially true when a company’s review total is fairly small. One negative review among 100 positive ones is a very small problem, but one negative review among just two or three positive ones totally sinks the entire average!
Where Bad Reviews Come From
According to Brand.com, reviews can come from a wide variety of sources. Many of them are exactly what they seem—reviews submitted by real customers and consumers. Not all of them are, however, and it is important for companies to know this.
The Internet affords free speech to anyone and everyone, which is something of a mixed blessing. What it means for business owners is that anyone can spout off about a company’s products or services, and their opinions need not have any basis in fact. As such, negative reviews can come from business rivals, from disgruntled employees, from frustrated former employees, and from general malcontents.
The bottom line is that, according to Brand.com, reviews affect all businesses and brands. There is no company that is totally immune to the effect of reviews, or impervious to the risk of a potential negative notice. As such, all businesses should study up on the best practices for addressing negative feedback.
Brand.com Reviews Best Review Response Methods
The first thing that companies need to remember is that there is no way to actually prevent unwanted and unflattering reviews. Again, everyone is allowed to say more or less whatever they want on the Internet. As such, negative reviews can come from any source, and no business is exempt from this threat. Totally preventing bad reviews is just not possible.
Since companies cannot control the reviews they get, they should seek to control what they can. This means getting proactive in setting up and optimizing review profiles on sites like Urban Spoon, TripAdvisor, and Yelp.com. Companies should make sure that these sites are kept up-to-date, that all company contact info is kept current, and that engaging images are used to brand the business in an effective way.
Responding to Reviews
Business owners should also think through their policies when it comes to responding to reviews. According to Brand.com, reviews sometimes warrant a response and sometimes do not. Knowing the distinction is critical.
To begin with, responding to positive feedback is always a good idea. It shows that your company is serious in engaging with its clients. Also, responding to genuinely helpful, constructive criticism can help companies to come across as authentic and credible.
Responding to negative reviews and outright defamatory, unreasonable feedback is generally not advised, however. There is a basic reason for this. Simply put, interacting with these negative reviews draws more attention to them. Since it almost never does any good, it is best for companies to just leave these reviews alone.
Another tip for businesses is to actively ask for positive reviews from good, faithful clients. This usually results in some positive online comments. It effectively amounts to stacking the deck in your favor; a negative review will have less of an impact if it joins dozens of positive ones.
Additionally, Brand.com offers companies groundbreaking resources for managing and moderating their online reviews. The company’s Review Widget is a prime example of this. The Brand.com Review Widget allows businesses and brands to engage with their consumers, to regulate their reviews, and to highlight the best feedback they receive while minimizing defamation.
Brand.com Can Change Reviews
In the end, according to Brand.com, reviews are make-or-break for companies of all kinds. It is therefore vital for businesses to think about the best ways of engaging and regulating their critical notices. There are many ways to do this, but the Brand.com solution is the best. At Brand.com, reviews are met with swift, positive resolutions.