There are lots of things small businesses need to worry about – but reviews isn't one of them!
If you're worried about online reviews, you're not the only one! Lots of businesses are terrified of the power that consumers have – mistakenly thinking that any one individual can make or break a business. In reality, this is not true – and here, we'll address why. Online reviews are now the most trusted form of marketing for businesses, and you'd be crazy to miss out on the most effective marketing vehicle.
Here are 5 reasons you SHOULDN'T worry about online reviews;
- Only 7% of Online Reviews are Negative
We typically think of customer feedback with that old wives tale in mind – "a happy customer might tell 1 or 2 people but an unhappy customer will tell 5 or more". But our experience with over 360,000 online reviews shows us that reviewer behaviour is quite different. In fact, on WOMO 79% of reviews are positive with only 7% being negative, and the remaining 14% being neutral. (For businesses on the Happy Customers Program, only 3% of their reviews are negative as these are generally businesses very focussed on customer service.)
- Most Reviewers Review to Thank a Business
We recently surveyed over 1400 reviewers to find out their motivations behind writing reviews. Their motivations may surprise you;
38% – Want to let others know about a good business
32% – Want to thank a good business or show appreciation
22% – Want to warn others about dodgy operators
5% – Want to send a message to dodgy operators
4% – Enjoy having a community voice and being heard
So the vast majority of customers are actually posting positive reviews about businesses they love!
- There are Processes to Handle Fake Reviews
Unfortunately there are a few (rare) instances where competitors or disgruntled employees decide to leave fake negative reviews. However, these are usually found and removed (or prevented from being published) very quickly. If business owners Claim their Listing (totally free), they're emailed each time they recieve a negative review – so they're one of the first to see it. If the business believes it to be fake (ie not from a paying customer) they can click "Flag as Suspect or Inappropriate" and provide notes about their reasoning. This prompts our team to open up an investigation which can sometimes require the reviewer to allow us to pass on their real name and/or provide evidence of being a a paying customer (eg a receipt, invoice, quote or email).
- One Crazy Customer Can't Break a Business
Sometimes we encounter customers that are extremely difficult to please. They may have unrealistic expectations, might be grumpy, or have a situation which makes your work very difficult. There are also times when things go wrong. Even the best businesses sometimes experience problems. People make mistakes, stock might be late or might be of poor quality, and accidents happen. This is true for every business. (We always say that the best test of a business is how they respond when things go wrong – so do your best to apologise, make amends and put steps in place to avoid the same thing from happening again.)
But, it’s true that either a difficult customer or a genuine mistake can result in a negative review. Don’t panic! While every customer is entitled to share their experience, it’s the overall impression that the entire set of your reviews creates that’s important. (Which is another reason it’s important to build up a good body of positive reviews.)
One negative review does not change the impression consumers have unless there are very few reviews. In fact, we’ve heard from businesses that once they have one or two negative reviews (or negative comments) amongst a good set of otherwise positive reviews, their new customer enquiries actually increase! Why? It’s because their positive reviews seem more legitimate when they’re not ALL glowingly positive!
Plus, on WOMO, reviews are not a one-way conversation as you always have the right of reply. You can (and should) add a comment to your reviews to thank the reviewer and address any concerns they raise. (We have tips on how to respond to both negative and positive reviews.)
- Reviews are Not Testimonials
Some businesses in health industries have a governing body (eg AHPRA) which prohibits the use of testimonials in advertising. These regulations are in place to protect consumers from misleading claims. However, these regulations don't apply to reviews. Although there are some similarities between testimonials and reviews, the differences are significant – and these make all the difference. Ever heard of a 'negative testimonial'? They don't exist! The fact that reviews are outside the sphere of control of the business means that they're far more credible and are free from the inherent problems with testimonials. Businesses cannot control which customers review them or what they say in their reviews – which is the beauty of reviews and why they work so well.
Although the thought of online reviews gives some businesses a nervous twitch, smart businesses are finding ways to use online reviews to their advantage. In fact, we have many case studies of businesses attributing huge growth in new customers and revenue to their online reviews.
If your business is interested in using customer reviews to build up a fantastic online reputation, you might want to check out the Happy Customers Program. This is designed to turbo-charge your word-of-mouth marketing and help you build an irresistible online reputation.