Negative reviews can destroy a company's reputation beyond repair. Current clients will stop calling and potential customers will choose a competitor over the negatively reviewed company.
However, if the negative reviews are handled in a timely and proper manner, the damage to a company's reputation can be avoided. Proper handling of negative reviews impacts a company's reputation almost as much as the negative review itself.
How Damaging can Online Reviews be to a Company's Reputation?
Customers rely upon the information in online reviews to form an opinion on an unknown business. A survey in 2012 conducted by Nielsen suggests that 70% of global consumers rely upon and trust online consumer reviews from social media and review sites before making purchases.
A company's reputation is at stake when so many individuals around the world rely upon online reviews to make a purchasing decision. A handful of strongly worded, emotional negative reviews can drive customers away and into the waiting arms of a competitor.
Positive or neutral customer reviews may be able to counteract the negative reviews, but the truth is people are more likely to talk about negative experiences than positive ones. An unsatisfied or angry customer is likely to tell 10 individuals about their experience, as opposed to the 3 a happy/satisfied customer will tell.
The same is true online, as unsatisfied or angry customers will likely voice their opinions more than happy customers.
How to Reverse the Harm Done by Negative Online Reviews
Considering the potential impact reviews online can have on a company's reputation it is best to know how to handle them in such a situation. Business owners need to be proactive in how they respond to online reviews, not reactive.
Some of the possible ways to handle online reviews include:
- Responding in a professional manner to negative reviews and offering to rectify the situation
- Asking satisfied customers to share their experiences on Facebook, Twitter, or review sites
- Creating a business reputation management strategy that works to improve customer opinions
- Interacting with customers through Twitter or Facebook
Online reviews have the potential to destroy your company's reputation, but only if you let them. Taking action when a negative review is posted can help save or repair your company's reputation.
When business owners see a negative review written about their company they tend to brush it off. After all, everyone is entitled to their opinion and what impact can a negative review really have on a business? The answer to that is a lot.