The Internet has made it possible for people to express their opinions on anything and everything, right from TV shows to movies to current affairs to products and services. The internet has provided people with the opportunity to leave reviews about businesses on many platforms. Online reviews are very important in today’s day and age. Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth as we continue to live more and more of our lives on the Internet. Reviews can make or break a business. Since most reviews can be publicly seen by others, it is important for business owners to handle such reviews. Thus it is imperative for business owners to invest themselves in online review management. Let’s understand the Complete guide to Online Review Management.
The Impact of Online Reviews
It is common knowledge that a lot of consumers read online reviews before buying products and services. It influences their eventual choices. Positive reviews influence more than 65% of consumers to use businesses, while negative reviews push 40% consumers away. Given how much reviews influence consumers, it is imperative for business owners to understand what is review management and then invest in online review management.
Where to look for online reviews about your business
Reviews can be posted in a lot of different ways on a lot of different platforms and all of them have the power to make or break your business. Given their undeniable importance, you need to know where to look for such reviews.
- Social Media Platform: A lot of people leave reviews on social media sites because of the entire effortlessness of the process. People spend most of their time on the internet on social networking sites so it is very easy for them to leave reviews to let their followers and friends know what they think of different businesses. If you have claimed your business on different social media sites, you will be getting a lot more reviews coming your way.
- Blogs: There are many people who post reviews on sites that are dedicated to reviewing products and services. It is important for business owners to monitor such blogging sites because some people tend to leave online customer reviews on such sites over review sites.
- Forums: There are many forums across the entirety of the internet where people discuss the products they have purchased or the services they have paid for. They also discuss their overall experience with companies in such communities. Thus, it is important for business owners to monitor such forums for reviews of their businesses on such forums.
- Review sites: They are the most popular platforms for people who wish to review products and services. Some of the biggest customer review sites have millions of reviews. Such sites are preferred by people because it is very easy for them to post reviews on there about businesses.
How can you deal with online reviews?
You need to take charge of your online reputation and you can do so by managing the reviews that come your way. No matter how carefully you manage your business operations, there is no surefire way of being immune to negative reviews, all the time. We have compiled a couple of tips that you can use to get more positive reviews and lessen the repercussions of negative reviews. Read on to know more about customer review management.
- Monitor your reviews: You need to regularly monitor your online reputation and routinely check for new reviews. The best way of doing so is by claiming your profiles on different review sites. If and when you do so, you will have better control over what is being said about your business online. Further, you can use review monitoring tools to help you in effectively managing the online reviews of your business.
- Turn negative reviews into positive reviews: While there might be a surefire way to avoid negative reviews all the time. You can definitely turn a bad review and make it work for you. One way of doing so is by responding right away to negative reviews. Ignorance is the worst approach when it comes to handling negative reviews. Acknowledge the concerns raised in the review and apologize if you are in the wrong. Further, communicate to the reviewer what you are doing to address the issue at hand. If and when you do so, you will be able to earn the trust of the reviewers. It is possible to get a review edited or even deleted if it is handled in a suitable manner.
- Encourage reviews: Over and above responding to negative reviews, you need to increase your likelihood of getting more positive reviews. If you have more negative reviews than positive reviews, you need to do a balancing act. This can be done by encouraging reviews from customers. One way of doing this is by requesting them to leave reviews and then make the entire process of leaving reviews effortless. You can encourage reviews through emails as well. When you have a steady stream of positive reviews coming your way, you need to ensure they get the right amount of visibility.
How you shouldn’t handle online reviews
Knowing how to handle negative reviews is one thing and knowing how not to handle negative reviews is another. Both are equally important for your business. Some business owners make mistakes while addressing online reviews, which worsened the situations and hence you need to avoid such mistakes at all costs. These mistakes enshrined in customer review guidelines include:-
- Writing fake reviews: This is one strategy that is very likely to backfire even if you are able to write such reviews very convincingly. It is because review sites have algorithms that can catch fakes and if you get caught, it could lead to your business getting blacklisted from such sites. Further, writing fake reviews is a contravention of advertising laws and can get you into legal trouble.
- Don’t argue with reviewers: This is one thing you must not do as it can escalate tensions and worsen the situation at hand. Even if the reviewers try to drag you into an argument, you should exercise restraint and moderation in your tone. Be calm and polite and stress upon your willingness to fix the issue at hand.
- Paying off customers: Offering incentives to people to get positive reviews might look innocuous on the surface but this strategy comes with many risks attached. Such strategies can generate a conflict of interests and the entire exercise can prove to be counterproductive and you may end up getting negative reviews.
For better or worse, online reviews are very important for business owners in today’s day and age. Reviews can make or break a business and hence it is very important for business owners to proactively manage their online reputations. The aforementioned guide can help business owners in managing their reputations but sometimes it is better to call in the experts. Sometimes depending on the issue at hand, business owners can hire online reputation management services to better manage their reputations. Such services are available in abundance across the entirety of the internet and there is every chance that will be able to find services that suit your requirements and whose online reputation management cost fits your budget.