A study on the effects of negative business reviews on consumers’ product attitude, risk perception, and purchase intention shows that the rapid growth and proliferation of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) created a new threat to Internet marketers.
According to the study, this occurs as paid online reviewers flood sites with service and product reviews that deter and confuse customers. Furthermore, the findings revealed that Internet Water Army Attack (IWWA) — which refers to a hired reviewer’s post aimed at ruining the reputation of certain businesses — is effective in changing a customer’s attitude and intention in buying and increasing risk perception towards a product.
Given that negative business reviews can immediately turn customers away, understanding how to deal with negative reviews online will allow you to develop a good reputation management strategy. Furthermore, it will provide you with insights into improving your brand and how people see it.
Effects of Negative Business Reviews
Consumers today use search engines like Google for research before making a purchase. Their research usually includes comparing brands, products, and prices online. During their search, it is highly likely that they would encounter both positive and negative reviews of products and services.
In general, online reviews affect 67.7% of consumers’ purchasing decisions. According to a study, online reviews also differ depending on the online platform. While positive reviews lead to increased sales and better search engine ranking, negative online reviews pose detrimental effects on businesses, including:
Loss of Revenue
Bad reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp significantly affect revenue. For one, a business with a 1- to 1.5-star rating reports 33% less revenue than an average business. Interestingly, Forbes mentions that 94% of consumers steer away from a company that gets bad reviews.
Undermined Business Reputation
While you spend a lot of time and effort to protect your reputation, negative reviews have the power to sabotage what you’ve built. Several people do not make transactions with businesses that have questionable credibility.
In a Forbes report, 85% of customers say they trust negative and positive reviews as a personal recommendation. The report stresses the importance of responding well to negative reviews by expressing genuine concern towards the negative experience and offering viable solutions. Doing so helps build trust for both reviewers and prospective clients.
Lower Site Visitor Count
Research shows that negative online reviews drive away 22% of prospects, which is around 30 customers. As negative online reviews increase in number, the percentage of lost customers also increases. Specifically, three negative reviews cause 59% of lost customers, while more than four negative reviews drive away 70%.
Low Search Engine Ranking
Review ratings affect how your business would rank on search engines. More specifically, negative ratings make your business rank poorly, as search engines would only recommend enterprises with the least number of negative reviews.
Negative online reviews drive customers away and consequently decrease your revenue. More so, using different means and solutions to rectify the situation can also affect your profitability.
Online Reputation Management: What Is It?
As the internet continuously shapes the business landscape, hiring professionals for reputation management services has become a must for every business.
The developments in the online business world have caused changes as to how customers relate to you and how they get to know about your business’s online reputation. While this scenario makes it easier for customers to leave bad reviews about the service, it becomes more difficult for the different companies that serve them to conduct online reputation management.
In the past, the speed of word-of-mouth limited the extent of damage from a single negative customer experience. Today, a single negative online review can destroy a business under the right circumstances. Because of this, it becomes imperative for businesses to know how to deal with negative reviews online smartly.
As more businesses — from solopreneurs to big corporations — become aware and try to protect their online reputation, many now recognize the importance of online reputation management.
Online Reputation Management: How To Do It Right
Deliver Good Work
An essential part of your online reputation management strategy involves starting at the roots — boosting your work quality. It pays to offer excellent work and make it easy for customers to give you a positive review. In addition, it boosts your popularity and increases your SEO rankings.
Involve Your Customers When Making Business Decisions
Engagement is a practical way to conduct efficient reputation management services. To do this, you can use informal questions, ask their ideas, and use customer surveys. You’ll be surprised as to how this form of business relations brings about goodwill.
Respond Properly to Negative Reviews
Many businesses make the mistake of ignoring negative reviews when they spot them. Your silence may sometimes translate as agreement and may signal a lack of care. Alleviate this with an effective reputation management strategy to make sure that you keep your cool and respond to reviews appropriately.
Hire Reliable Online Reputation Management Services
Online reputation management is easier said than done, but we’re here to help!
As a long-standing full-service digital marketing company specializing in online reputation management, Advanced Digital Media helps you establish a reliable online presence in a competitive industry. Leverage your online reputation and handle negative business reviews with grace. For inquiries, contact our team today.