The online world has expanded to become a powerful platform for consumers to share and express their opinions. Taking this into consideration, consumers and users have now a much bigger impact as they can influence the public perception of a business. Subsequently, companies need to take an active approach in managing their reviews and reputation.
The Impact of Reviews
In a digital era people are overwhelmingly using the internet to search and research online. On a daily basis, buying decisions are being made, while pre-purchase research is being done mostly online. Reports and studies show that 9 out of 10 consumers conducted online research via search engines before making a purchase.
More importantly, a large portion of that research comes from browsing reviews. Negative reviews have become quite powerful in undermining a business’ reputation, leading to consequences:
- Lowered search engine ranking: The star rating on major review websites has an immediate impact on consumer perception. As a result, search engines will also rank your business based off of review ratings.
- Reputational risk: Negative reviews cause potential customers to trust a business less.
- Hard to fix: Having an abundance of negative reviews makes it difficult to regain trust and rebrand.
On the other hand, positive reviews provide a business with a positive reinforcement loop:
- Improve reputation: Consumers will trust your company over lower rated competitors. Positive feedback from past customers increases the likelihood of a prospect to choose your company.
- Higher ranking: Google, for example, wants to offer its users the best solution to their needs. Positive reviews will signal to Google that your company is best suited for a particular user query.
- Easy to maintain: It’s cheaper to manage and maintain a positive online reputation than it is to repair a negative one or go through a rebranding process.
Overall negative reviews can have a significant impact on a business. Online reputation management is becoming essential in every company’s management toolbox.
In a world governed by the internet, online reviews are bound to drive customers towards or away from a brand. Placing customer satisfaction at the top of the priority list for your business can only help your company’s sales and profitability.
Online reviews are a natural way for consumers to relay their experience with your brand. It’s vital to your business that you monitor and manage positive and negative reviews. It’s the best way to leverage their effectiveness and ensure your brand is accurately represented.