How to Build Truthful Reviews About Your Company Online
The Issue of Truthfulness in Online Reviews
There are several issues when it comes to online review management, which should really be covered here before anybody enters into the review game themselves. It is important to note that a customer review will differ from a business review, but both are equally significant to the ongoing health of interest and traffic to the business and its online sites.
Once that is understood, move onto the content itself. People often lie when it comes to reviews, both individuals and businesses. Individuals can do so for many different reasons, but when businesses do it, it is normally because they want good Google reviews, positive Yelp reviews, or good feedback on some other platforms.
Online reputation management is something which is becoming increasingly important, especially when coupled with the changing ways in which people are interacting with the online world. The use of reviews can make or break a company, so care should be taken.
However, much businesses might like to avoid online feedback, it is impossible to do so in the current way in which the online world is used. No online reviews means no reputation, and because of customers using feedback to ultimately on where and from whom they are going to make purchases, no reviews ultimately means fewer customers and less business traffic to your sites.
The Importance of Online Reviews
Online reviews management is important because of the role they play in the overall health of the company being reviewed. When the internet and the online world as a whole did not exist, businesses, both small and large, depended on word of mouth to spread knowledge about their products, as well as the usual marketing methods which would have existed. Online reviews are almost an exact replacement for that word of mouth since they are used by customers in almost exactly the same way. Where word of mouth stood for opinions and advice, people online use reviews for opinions and advice, looking through most or all of the various review sites which exist in order to truly get a picture of what they are buying.
It has also been found that customers trust the online reviews that they see to a great degree, to the point where nearly all self-reported customers would be hesitant to buy a product if there were no feedback for it. Review management is vitally important for this reason, because if a review is what can tip 97% percent of people into buying a product over not buying it, then the issue of whether or not reviews can be ultimately trusted becomes even more important. Three quarters of all customers who have been interviewed over the years say that it isn’t so much the star ratings which lead to them to buy or pass over a product, but the review itself, and what it says.
As well as this, there are several things that should be remembered by every business which relies on reviews, to whatever extent: review sites have a lot of traffic to them every day. Having your name attached to them will boost traffic to your sites and social media platforms, and this goes double for having good feedback. The type of review matters as well – marketing is increasingly moving to social media platforms, so Facebook reviews are gaining in importance, particularly if you also have a Facebook presence. Finally, remember that customers have shown that they are willing to pay good money for products which have good feedback, and high numbers of good reviews at that.
Truthful Reviews as a Way to Understand your Customers
There has been a lot of research done into why customers act the way they do when it comes to shopping, but the underlying factors which go into that behavior and what caused it have so far not been the focus. Those underlying factors – the reasons for review management being as important as it is – are most likely a combination of adapting to changing circumstances with shopping habits which have not changed from before the advent of the internet.
The modern shopping experience takes the form of the three ‘r’s’ – research, recommendations, and returns, each one of which requires good online review services.
The rise of digital technology has, in some ways, completely changed the way in which people shop. Before the rise of the internet, there was a limit to a number of information people had access to – they could speak to people they knew about the products and services which they were thinking about buying. Moreover, they could perhaps compare products and services from various retailers, if they had the time to spend going between shops. Also, of course, they can see the marketing for the various products and services. Digitalisation and the ways in which people use the internet (particularly the increasing portion of them who use mobile devices) are changing the information that is available – vastly increasing it. People can now access multiple reviews and multiple retailers from the comfort of their own home, and compare notes to see what different products are selling for, and what people think of them.
Before the rise of digitalisation, companies and businesses of all sizes held most of the power when it came to the client-retailer relationship. This, however, is changing due to the increasing use of Google business reviews and online feedback of all kinds, a fact which is changing the balance in the favor of customers and clients. As has been discussed above, before the internet, people were limited in their options when it came to discussing what they wanted to buy.
The internet gives people a space to talk about the purchases they have made and so provides a way for other people to find those recommendations. Recommendations are a powerful thing – if a product is good, and people say it’s good, then it is likely that people will buy it more often.
It is not something which is immediately apparent, even when taking into account the huge explosion in internet usage, but the more expansive returns policies which are a necessary part of the online shopping experience is changing the way in which shopping and shopping in person, happens. Returns can happen for many reasons – the customer could have wanted to try something on to see for sure if it was what they thought it was, only to ultimately decide that they didn’t like it as much as they had; they could be suffering from buyer’s remorse; or, and this is the worst from the perspective of the retailer, they could have found that the product did not live up to the reviews which they had read.
What can you do to Build Truthful Reviews?
Building truthful reviews is something which can be done in a variety of ways, especially considering that companies have access to the same digital devices and information hubs that their customers do. Businesses and individuals with an online shop should encourage everyone who visits their site (even if it is just a visit) to leave positive reviews about their experience, and also to recommend the site to other people. An extension of this (and of managing online reviews as a whole) is reaching out to bloggers who write about the area you work in, and asking them to write about your site. Sweeten the deal by offering them discounts or free products with their next purchase from your site.
Monitor your social media – these platforms are becoming increasingly popular with people for sharing reviews and information about products which can be found online. The platforms are also helpful in tracking down fake reviews, and problematic ones. An email list can be helpful in a number of ways: when it comes to cultivating an online reputation, as it allows for emails to be sent out to everyone at once asking for reviews of your site, or you can simply use it to send out surveys to everyone who has come to the site. However, it is important that you do not use any kind of platform to either coerce fake reviews out of other people or write them yourself.
In Case of Negative Feedback
Negative feedback is something which happens to every company, but there are ways to deal with it that will mitigate the effect it has on your company. Getting management feedback on these reviews, and what to do about them is the first step to dealing with negative reviews, and managing reputation.
First of all, try to understand why the review is negative; maybe get in contact with the customer to get a clearer picture of the issues. Don’t try and hide any negative news behind the positive reviews you may have had. Focus on fixing the problem.
Follow the following steps when faced with a negative review:
- • Apology to the customer.
- • Explain what went wrong as far you are able and give a clear idea of how you intend to fix things.
- • Ask them to give the company another chance with their time and money, with an assurance that what happened will not happen again.
- • Finally, make sure to own the problem by signing your name to the reply.
In Case of Fake Reviews
Sadly, fake reviews are also part of the job when you are on the internet. There are only a few things you can do to manage your reputation in these circumstances. Always be polite when responding to fake feedback, and make a logical argument which takes down the fake review point by point.
The Pros of Having More Reviews
Online reputation management reviews in most cases only make the brand you are offering stronger, as they are concrete proof that you can deliver on your promises. Reviews also act as a means of advertising your business – they improve search engine ratings, allowing businesses to appear higher up in searches, meaning that they will be more easily noticed.