Published:
March 21, 2018

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY: HOW ONLINE REVIEWS AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS, AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

Marketing folks (like me!) love to talk about how important online reviews are! We go on and on about how they can encourage great relationships with your customers and help you salvage relationships when customers are unhappy. But let me let you in on a little secret- most business owners wish there was a way to just turn off online reviews. It can be so frustrating to get a negative review, especially when you know the “real” story behind that customer’s visit to your business. We have all seen it happen! A customer walks in your door and you can immediately tell they are going to be trouble. They have unrealistic expectations, a bad attitude, and nothing will make them happy. No matter how great your staff is at handling difficult customers, some people are never satisfied. It’s just a fact of life that some customers are going to leave a bad review, hoping that they will get free products. And unfortunately, some bad reviews come from people who have never done business with you – a competitor, former employee, or just an internet troll can use online reviews to damage your reputation. 

 

Sometimes it seems like the internet gives people way too much power over your reputation! Many of our clients would rather just focus on their business and not get into an online battle with a customer who will never be happy. After all, they would rather work on providing excellent service to their happy customers than waste their time arguing with an obnoxious former customer!

 

I get it! But here’s where I try to convince you that it’s worth it to pay attention to online reviews (you knew it was coming, huh?) There are three reasons why online reviews are just too important to ignore:

 

  1. It’s about more than reputation! Potential customers are not the only ones paying attention to your reviews. Search engines are too! A business with many positive reviews will rank higher than one with no reviews (or bad reviews). Basically, if your business has bad reviews, fewer potential customers will ever be able to find your website and make their own decision about doing business with you. Check out our post on local search to learn more about how local search results are calculated. 
  2. You don’t have to give in to unreasonable requests in order to make things right! Many people are worried that they will have to “pay off” a bad reviewer by giving away loads of free product. Not true! In fact, responding with a simple apology and the hope for future business is enough to undo most of the damage a bad review can cause. No need to go into details or get into an argument. Responding to a bad review isn’t just about making things right with a disgruntled customer, it’s about maintaining the potential for a good relationship with all the other people who see that bad review. Even if the reviewer just won’t be satisfied, potential customers will see that you made a reasonable effort and that you care about making sure all your customers have a great experience. 
  3. Only 4% of dissatisfied customers ever leave a bad review!
  4. Bad reviews can be a gift! Yes, it’s definitely true that some customers will never be satisfied. However, it’s just as true that sometimes even the best businesses can let a customer down sometimes. We all have our bad days, right? Most of the time, a customer who has a bad experience will leave without ever saying anything. How can you make sure your customers are getting the right kind of service if you never hear feedback from them? 
  5. There are heaps of reasons to pay attention to online reviews. For instance, did you know that more people trust online reviews than personal recommendations when it comes to making purchasing decisions? Like them or not, online reviews are here to stay. They can be one of your greatest online assets, or they can be a real weak spot for your business. 

Do you respond to your customers’ reviews? Have you seen the impact of online reviews on your business? 

About the Author

Kate Rodriguez

Kate is a digital strategist, designer, and branding enthusiast. She can usually be found working on her laptop with one or more of her dogs near her, cooking elaborate meals, or talking lovingly to one of her many plants.