Online reviews are extremely important for businesses. Whether you’re an electrician, cafe or consultant, customers will check your business profile. Reviews and ratings are a way for the consumer to be able to trust that your business provides quality products and/or great services. There’s the potential to lose a lot of customers if your profiles are full of negative reviews.
This possible loss petrifies businesses. They hold back when it comes to asking customers for ratings. They’re afraid that any review that isn’t a glowing 5 stars will have a detrimental effect. We see this attitude often, even in businesses that have a strong belief that they do great work. While their competitors are out there getting hundreds of reviews, they stay stagnant on less than 20. They’re intent on protecting that perfect 5 star rating.
There are a few main reasons as to why you shouldn’t worry about getting a negative review. The first relates to what I just mentioned. Reviews are as much about quantity as they are about overall rating. Having loads of reviews proves that your business is being used by a lot of other people. This creates a sense of legitimacy in the customers mind. Consumers are more likely choose a business that has 300 reviews for a rating of 4.5 over one that has 10 reviews for 5 stars. This research found that almost 50% of people (and rising) looked at quantity of reviews. And that on average consumers expect a tally of 40 reviews before they believe a star rating is accurate.
As counter-intuitive as it seems, perfect 5 star overall ratings can seem suspicious. Most people are aware that businesses are able to manipulate and falsify information on the web. Scepticism kicks in when someone sees a profile with many 5 star reviews and not a bad word said. It indicates you may have bought ratings or asked friends instead of prompting customers. This study suggests that purchases occur most around the 4.5 star level. So funnily enough you want to have an imperfect review in amongst all your good ones. It will prove that your reputation isn’t fabricated and you be more believable. No business can be faultless to everyone.
A bit of criticism might also give your organisation a chance to learn and improve. Its naive to go on thinking that everything your business does is flawless. If you have a chance to discover something that might not be quite right, you take it and you work on fixing it. The last thing you want to do is to stick your fingers in your ears and close off all feedback
A courteous and constructive response to a negative review can be even more beneficial than a positive review. If something went wrong – be apologetic, if you could improve something – say you’re working on it. Explain the situation if there was a misunderstanding. Try and be helpful if the user is still struggling with something. Showing that you’re accepting of and responsive to criticism makes your business look responsible. This can immediately allay the fears a customer originally had in seeing the bad review. The same survey from above found that 89% of users read business responses to reviews.
Honesty and authenticity is always best when it comes to reviews. So put your business out there and try to gather as many as you can. Improve if you have to. Then put yourself on the road to building a strong and effective review profile.