Did you know that more positive content is posted online per capita, however, negative content has a 70% higher share rate?
This is a scary number not just as consumers, but as business owners and what this means for your reputation. If you have faced defamation or are anxious about your business being defamed online, it’s important to know where bad reviews come from, the long-term implications of brand negativity, and how to take the next steps if it happens to you.
It’s not about where, it’s about who
Are you part of a smear campaign? It’s disheartening, but many companies will pay to have people leave fake negative reviews on their competitors’ pages.
In 2015, Amazon sued over 1,000 fake product review writers. The negativity strategy behind competitors or anyone with a personal vendetta is unfortunately very useful because:
- 68% of consumers read online reviews before a transaction
- 90% of consumers admit that online reviews influence what they buy (and don’t)
- 88% of consumers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations
With so much profit potential at stake, ethical sellers, entrepreneurs, and business owners need a solution that will help them sleep better at night.
Long-Term Implications of Negative Reviews
Research shows that a negatively-reviewed company earns 33% less revenue YOY than the averagely-rated enterprise. This is likely because 94% of consumers report they avoid a company with bad reviews. It is a vicious cycle to be rated poorly online and until you make product adjustments or customer service improvements, the negative effect on your revenue will continue to increase.
An Undermined Reputation
While revenue loss figures are hard proof of how negative reviews impact your business, there are also social implications that affect your business as well. The bottom line is that bad reviews break trust among customers or stunt you from building it in the first place. Even one bad review could cause a spiral of visitors and previous customers to not recommend or speak badly about you in the long term.
Google wants to help good businesses do more good business. So unfortunately, if your ranking in SEO is poor, the algorithm will do little to no work in boosting or recommending your business within a local or keyword search. This is detrimental to poorly rated small businesses, as localization within your niche is primarily how they generate most of their sales. Bad reviews can make your business virtually invisible in the e-commerce space.
How to Recover
Not only does the effect of a bad review influence that single purchase, but it also abolishes a potential customer relationship and therefore earnings you COULD have developed with that person over time. Overall, the cost of a bad review is quite hefty if it is not addressed and countered for the growth and perception of your business. Consider these two approaches when trying to recover from online slander:
- Compassion is King: When reading a negative review or critique of your business, it’s likely you may feel attacked and frustrated that the customer doesn’t understand you or would react in a public way. While your reaction is valid, it’s important to move beyond this and see the opportunity to rebuild trust with your audience. Reacting in a way that proves you want to create a connection is a win-win because 33% of customers who received a response to their negative review later changed it to be more positive, while 34% deleted their negative review! When replying to negativity, remember to keep your tone friendly and understanding. It’s often best to personalize it with a name if available, acknowledge what was written and add the steps that will be taken internally. Sign off with your name and position, to again, make it more personal + so they may be able to easily identify/ask for you when they return!
- Bury the Brutality: Sometimes, your only option is to bury the negative review by accumulating way more positive reviews you can boast. After receiving a negative review, you’ll want to work extra hard to solve the problem/concern while also trying to move it down the list. Prioritize acting on or fixing the issue if the claim is valid so positivity flows in the next time someone receives your product or service.
Bad reviews typically come from bad sports (or your competitors) and ‘internet trolls’, but the blow to your business can be intense and in need of reparation to bounce back. Fake negative reviews are illegal, but it’s largely up to the business owners to mend problems with competitors or report slander if they believe it is a fake review. If you are recovering from a reputation crisis after a bad review, there are options available for you to get back to doing good business!