How Bad Online Reviews Affect Your Reputation and Business
Bad reviews are an unfortunate side effect of running a business. Most companies, regardless of the quality of service or product they provide consumers, will at some point be forced to cope with the effects of a negative review.
A bad online review, however, is a whole different beast; one that can have a far-reaching and extremely negative impact on your business’s bottom line. With hundreds, perhaps thousands of ways for consumers to leave negative online reviews, it becomes more difficult than ever to protect and preserve your company’s positive online reputation. Bad reviews can dissuade a customer from considering your product, hurt customer loyalty and lead to the development of product forums that expose your company to even more negative publicity.
Online reviews have achieved such relevance because they are often a consumer’s first source for product or service information. Surveys show that consumers’ reliance on online review sites to help make purchasing decision in on the rise. Review sites are easy to access and many tend to receive high visibility in search engine rankings. It is even possible for a bad online review to receive a prominent and highly-visible ranking on a search page, providing consumers with a potentially harmful first impression of your business.
An unsatisfied customer can help to create a firestorm for your business simply by posting a low-star ranking or negative comment about your company. A multitude of bad online reviews can damage consumer perception of your company, hurt your company’s relationships with other businesses, affect your sales and profit margins, damage your online credibility and leaving a lasting and negative impact on your online reputation. By damaging your online image, bad reviews can even give your competitors the opportunity to win your customers over.
There is hope for businesses that have a bad reputation because of negative online reviews
It is not, however, completely hopeless; there is help! You can fight the effects of bad online reviews by maintaining a proactive and positive approach to your company’s reputation management. By establishing customer forums, making effective use of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter and keeping your consumers informed of the actions taken to correct any problems, you can at least provide your company the opportunity to preserve its online reputation.
Effective and positive online reputation management may often times seem like a daunting, perhaps impossible task. With the proper techniques and a professional management approach, however, you can begin to put up a strong and effective protective barrier against the damage done by bad online reviews.