Internet reviews can be a valuable resource for a company – just as easily as it can tear it down. How many times has this happened to you? You’re thinking about buying a product or service, but you don’t know much about the product. As a savvy consumer, you then check out some of the various reviews found online. There are dozens.
The first set of reviews you find are almost unbelievable – nothing but the highest of praise. So you move on, looking for a negative review or two. You found it – several reviews that weren’t too kind about the product or service you’re thinking about buying.
So you check the next website with reviews. Same thing.
Therein lies the problem: Who do you believe?
The power of reviews
All companies that sell products or services should at least consider adding a forum, testimonial or review section. Absent of that, there are plenty of websites that will offer nothing but reviews, so rest assured: your product will likely be reviewed by someone.
Reviews – even bad ones – won’t necessarily hurt you. One bad review could just be one person’s bad experience or one person’s axe to grind. But it’s not necessarily representative of everything a company has to offer.
By showing those reviews – even the bad ones – shows transparency by a company. In other words, it shows that a company has nothing to hide. Some companies will directly respond to those problems or issues and post the response. Again, this shows that a company is committed to its customers.
But several bad reviews should be a red flag, both for the prospective consumer and for the business itself. One or two bad reviews typically isn’t the worst thing in the world. A dozen or so? You’ll start to lose business fast. That’s why it’s important for businesses to include a section on their website that allows for customer feedback so that the company can monitor potential problems. And companies should monitor the reviews they receive from other review-only sites.
The ‘fake’ review
Some companies will post fake reviews or testimonials, either on their own site or on other review-only sites. This is a mistake. No company gets high praise 100 percent of the time, and consumers know that. So a bunch of reviews that sound like a mini-commercial could actually hurt a business, because most consumers know that the reviews are made-up. It also makes it seem like the company has something to hide. Avoid coming up with these faux reviews or testimonials. If your product or service is good enough, people will notice – and talk about it.
Don’t forget about social media
Social media is the perfect place for people to tout your product, either by sharing a post of yours or retweeting it, etc. But social media can also be the downfall of a business if a complaint goes viral. Business owners should monitor their various social media sites from time to time and respond to any complaints in a timely fashion. Ignore it, and a small issue with a single customer could mushroom into a much bigger headache.
But it works the other way, too. Several glowing LegalZoom reviews, for example, that have been shared on various Facebook posts have the potential to drum up business. If you’re unhappy with your cellphone company, for example, and read someone’s Facebook post about the great experience he or she had with another company, then you’re more likely to choose that company when it comes time to pick a new cell plan.