Whether you operate a brick and mortar business or have an online presence, it’s become very easy for prospective customers to check out online reviews of your business. Studies show that between 67 – 90% of consumers check reviews on Yelp, Capterra, Google My Business and other such sites before they decide to patronize a business or use a service.
For example, Yelp, the online review website that was started in 2004, allows users to leave reviews about their experiences for every kind of business or service that you can imagine. Another example is Capterra, an online peer review site that features validated user reviews about software solutions for practically every process of a business.
Initially, the idea of instant virtual reviews seemed like a good vehicle for users to go to in order to give balanced opinions about their personal experiences. And, positive customer reviews were welcomed as a way to build and grow businesses. However, many people use these review sites to leave negative reviews which are unwarranted and have the capability of making or breaking a business. Your Yelp rating can be adversely affected by bad reviews that your business doesn’t deserve.
If you own a business or provide a service, it’s only natural for you to worry about bad reviews and how much damage each one can do. While most business owners feel that it’s the best thing if their businesses receive 100% positive reviews, that can actually backfire. The typical consumer will suspect that those positive reviews aren’t legitimate or that your business found a way to bury the negative reviews.
In many cases, the consumer will take the sum total of all the reviews, positive as well as negative, as well as how you handled them, and then make a decision about patronizing your business. The good news is that many will still choose your business or service.
But, reviews that are very negative toward your business can result in significant damage to your online reputation and should never be ignored. Does the review have any merit or was it written by an angry or dissatisfied customer intent on libeling your business, employees, or both? Is the reviewer writing the negative review with the idea to gain or extort something from your business? If you’re a small business owner, one bad review could pull your ratings down and cost your thousands of dollars in lost business.
Of course, if it turns out to be a legitimate complaint, you need to determine if it’s an isolated incident or if many customers have the same complaint. Take care of the problem in question, issue an apology and give a brief explanation of how you corrected it.
The occasional bad review, more than likely, isn’t going to permanently damage your business, especially if you take the time to respond to them in the appropriate manner. But, once someone has launched an online attack vs. your business, it can be very difficult — if not impossible — to repair the damage.
If you have end up having serious concerns about a review, you may want to contact a lawyer, especially if the review is defamatory.