Welcome to the age of online reviews where the opinions are plentiful, the feedback is instant and the five star reviews don’t come cheap.

Online reviews have become an integral part of today’s customer journey, with consumers relying more heavily on review platforms like Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google Business to make informed decisions about the ways they spend their cash.

According to FlyResearch (2015), ‘62% of people rely on user-generated content over information provided by the company’ during their decision making process. When we look at this in terms of the sales impact, sites with online reviews recorded an average 18% uplift in sales (Reevo); highlighting not only the value of these reviews but also the importance of managing them well.

Great reviews are, well, great! but it’s the bad reviews that will really mould your business’ image online. So, what to do if you get a bad online review?

  1. Don’t panic. Bad online reviews aren’t always bad, in fact a couple of bad comments can actually help to boost the authenticity of your reviews and make customers more likely to choose your product/ service
  2. Own your online reviews. Check your Google Places, Trip Advisor, Yelp etc. reviews daily
  3. ALWAYS respond to negative online comments. The faster the better
  4. Make the most of the public forum by responding publicly. Let everyone see that you’re open to feedback and that you’re always willing to find a solution that leave everyone happy! *if it gets nasty, switch to private messaging
  5. Don’t forget to be yourself! Whatever the circumstances, you’re still representing your brand and what they stand for, so be funny, be serious, be yourself!

Now that we know the value of a good review, how to combat a bad review, we’re left with the furtive fake review.

Fake reviews, or “astroturfing” has gained popularity recently, as the online review industry continues to boom. These reviews can mean big bucks to any business as they can give companies a competitive edge and can equally have damning effects.

Fake reviews are increasingly on the agenda for big companies like Amazon whose brand image and business model is critical to maintaining the integrity of their online reviews.  They made the news recently because of their large investment into a new artificial – intelligence learning system which allows them to identify and remove fake reviews. The same technology will also promote reviews from trusted sources. The algorithm will become more advanced over time so fake reviewers be warned: Amazon is watching.

We’ve taken a glimpse into the wonderful world of online reviews, we’ve identified some of the best bits and some of the struggles we face as we continue to live out our lives online. Remember your online reviews are the shop window into your business. Listen to your customers, they know best after all.

 

Sources:

https://econsultancy.com/blog/67117-analysing-amazon-s-palliative-approach-to-fake-reviews/

https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/22/amazon-ai-fake-reviews-star-ratings-astroturfing