Online reviews: Doing nothing is not an option

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IN SUMMARY: According to the NY Times “research suggests that people heed negative reviews more than positive ones — despite their questionable credibility”. The Pew Research Center found that 82 percent of American adults say they sometimes or always read online reviews for new purchases. And more than two-thirds of regular review readers believe that they’re “generally accurate.” Generally accurate?

First let’s look at some statistics for online reviews:

  • 94% of customers read online reviews (Fan and Fuel, 2016)
  • 93% of local consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad (BrightLocal, 2017)
  • 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews (Testimonial Engine)
  • 73% of customers value the written review over the overall star rating (Fan and Fuel, 2016)
  • 68% of consumers look for either information on the reviewer’s experience, or problems the reviewer experienced when reading reviews (Fan and Fuel, 2016)
  • Only 3% of buyers say that reviews never factor into their buying decisions (Fan and Fuel, 2016)
  • Only 13% of shoppers find the seller’s website to be the most helpful when buying consumer goods, and 17% when purchasing services (Fan and Fuel, 2016)
  • 60% of people read online reviews for a local restaurant or cafe (BrightLocal, 2017)

Why are online reviews so important? Because consumers trust other consumers over advertisers claims. And what are brands/marketers doing about bad online reviews? Most are doing nothing.

Americans waste about $5.5 billion on Christmas gift shopping because of fake reviews and the average fake review can cost anywhere from $5 to $100. The worst thing a brand can do is remain silent. Consumers expect brands to respond to reviews — and are disappointed if they don’t. 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. But 63 percent say that a business has never responded to their review.

How to respond to a negative online review

How to respond to a negative review

  1. Step 2: Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review. …
  2. Step 3: Move the conversation offline. …
  3. Step 4: Keep your response simple, short and sweet.

The response also has to be in Internet time, not what’s good for your company/brand process.

Keep in mind that ANY brand is subject to Internet trolls. These are people who are mad at the world and no matter what you do nothing is going to make them say “thank you” and transform into a loyal customer and brand advocate. However, brands need to be aware of online reviews and develop a plan to respond, especially local businesses.

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Originally published at www.newmediaandmarketing.com on February 10, 2019.

Written by

Marketing contrarian with over 15 years of developing leading edge and award winning digital marketing initiatives.

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