The power of independent reviews
There’s no doubt that consumers are becoming more savvy, as they increasingly turn to online reviews to determine if they should engage with a particular service.
More than 70 percent of websites feature testimonials from satisfied people, but less than half of these businesses bother to monitor online reviews found on independent websites – where they can have the greatest impact (for better or worse).
Don’t underestimate the power of independent reviews. Nearly 90 percent of customers have been influenced by an online review before making a purchase, according to a survey by Dimensional Research. In fact, most people hesitate to engage with a business that has negative feedback.
Online reputation matters, a lot. Not only does it impact the click-through rates of websites, it also influences the conversion of a visitor to a potential lead.
It’s becoming harder for businesses to control what consumers say about their brands and services, thanks to the rise of social media.
All you have to do is log into Facebook or Foursquare to find feedback on anything from restaurants to mobile phones. Consumers can also read reviews on websites such as Google, TripAdvisor, True Local, My Business and Yelp, which detail the experiences of other people.
Why it’s a bad idea to create fake reviews
Some businesses make the mistake of creating fake reviews through developers or agencies, but this backfires, since platforms like Google can now identify the source. We recently came across a dental practice that was acquiring more than 50 reviews on Google and Facebook, but most of the IP addresses were based overseas. It seems unlikely that so many consumers from the other side of the world would be using a dental practice in Sydney!
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is already monitoring this area, having recently taken a home building company to court for creating fake review websites for their products.
These days consumers can also check out the profile of the person leaving the review, to suss out if they’re genuine. Companies like Klout measure individual influence scores, rating people based on their online engagement.
How can businesses manage their online reputation?
What chance do businesses have, when independent reviews can be found with the simple click of a mouse and fake reviews are easily detected?
The solution is online reputation management.
Platforms such as Reputation Guard enable businesses to monitor, manage and request reviews from a single interface, in order to effectively handle both positive and negative comments from multiple sources.
It can be challenging to ask people to give their feedback, especially since many consumers only do this if they’ve had an outstanding or terrible experience. The secret lies in making it easy for people to share their thoughts – using platforms that automate the review generation process, by reducing the number of steps involved, as well as the time it takes for your business to respond.
It’s normal for businesses to get negative reviews, but you can handle this in a way that protects your online reputation. Some businesses resort to ignoring a negative comment, hoping it will eventually disappear, but the internet has a long memory, so this can only be offset by more positive reviews.
Online reputation management is going to play a critical role in the coming months, with businesses embracing this tool in the same way they’ve adapted to the social media avalanche.
If you’re concerned about your online reputation and would like to find out how to manage it, please reach out to our team or request a free snapshot review of your online presence.