Solutions to Manage Reviews Online
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Why Negative Online Reviews Matter, and What Can Be Done About Them
In a blog posting on the website Social Media Today, written in 2010, the author suggests that negative online reviews can be positive for business owners. The writer suggests that negative reviews allow business leaders to “open a dialogue” with their customers, and become aware of problems with their products and services. The author even quotes a study that reads, in part, “The accelerated adoption of customer reviews indicates a more enlightened approach to handling negative comments—that is, the acknowledgment that occasional negative reviews do not hurt sales.”
Unfortunately, in the world of the Internet, what was true two years ago is rarely true today. In fact, current research seems to indicate that negative reviews can, and do, have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line.
The Impact of Going Negative
In study conducted by Cone Communications in late 2011, 89 percent of consumers admitted that they found online reviews to be trustworthy. In addition, the study found that four in five consumers had changed their minds about a purchase due to negative information they found online. In other words, consumers trust the information they find online, and they demonstrate their trust with their dollars. In addition, unlike the beliefs held in 2010, consumers seem to trust negative information more than positive information.
So what kind of damage can a negative review do? According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California’s Marshal School of Business, a negative review could take $1.4 million from a company in the short term, and $3.3 million in the following two weeks. In these days of shrinking budgets and financial shortfalls, this is cold, hard cash that most companies can ill afford to lose, and it’s certainly not an issue any company can afford to ignore.
Managing Online Reviews
Most executives are accustomed to handling issues on their own. After all, this DIY spirit is likely what has helped these professionals vault to the top of their professions. When it comes to online reviews, there are tools that the intrepid executive can use, however, there are significant pitfalls associated with handling these issues alone.
Google, the top-rated search engine in the world, allows registered users to sign up for alerts. When any information is posted about a company, the owner of that company will receive a message from Google. It sounds like an excellent way to manage an online reputation, however, these alerts can be incredibly time-consuming, and they can also be quite distracting. If business leaders are consistently bombarded with information about their businesses, and they’re tempted to respond to each alert they receive, they may be caught in a loop of multitasking, consistently working on one project while thinking about another. Multiple studies have demonstrated that this sort of multitasking is detrimental to performance. For example, a study in the journal Computers and Education found that students who multi-tasked had lower grades than students who simply focused on one task until it was complete. It’s easy to assume that executives who monitor their own reputations may turn in a diminished performance at work, due to the demands of multitasking.
In addition, there are very few things executives can do on their own to remove negative reviews. For example, reviews placed on Google Places can be very negative in tone, and they can even contain false or inaccurate information, but the executives at Google will rarely remove the posting. The Google FAQ page reads, “…Google Places reviews are a forum for users to share both positive and negative opinions. We do not arbitrate disputes and more often than not, we leave the review up.” Similarly, Yelp also does not moderate reviews, telling business owners, “We don’t arbitrate disputes, so your best bet is to contact the reviewer or post a public response in order to clear up any misunderstandings.” Business owners who hope to respond to these negative reviews by asking the sites to simply remove the reviews may face a dead end.
Those who hope to pay writers to draft positive reviews, in order to drown out negative content, should think twice. According to multiple blogs, review sites are now creating filters that look for content that is copied and pasted into multiple sites, and that content is being removed. Content farms that draft up multiple positive reviews and then post them on all review sites may simply be wasting their time, as those reviews are often deleted within minutes.
Other Reasonable Solutions
Most online review sites will allow users to delete their own postings, and often, they will be motivated to do so if they receive some sort of compliment, apology or voucher for future service. It may smack of blackmail to some business owners, but it is an approach that seems to resonate with reviewers.
Reputation management firms can monitor a company’s reputation, looking for negative reviews and then interacting with the writer of the blog entries on the company’s behalf. If the response is rapid, and the amendment offered is reasonable, the writers will often remove those reviews and the cleanup required will be minimal. The company will be left with only positive reviews, and this can boost a company’s online profile.
Reputation management firms can also create a barrage of content that is positive in tone, and that holds the same keywords found in the negative reviews. Consumers hoping to find out about a company will be met with pages and pages of search results that explain the company’s benefits and positive attributes, and if these consumers continue to dig for reviews, any negative content will seem much less powerful. After reading through five, six or even eight pages of positive content, the negative content will seem like an outlier, and will therefore be ignored. Most consumers won’t even bother to read this content in the first place.
If you’d like to know more about this service and how it can help you, contact www.removesearchresults.com for a free consultation.