In decades past, consumers used to choose which businesses to visit based on word of mouth or suggestions in local newspapers. Now, thanks to the internet, anyone can share their opinion of a business and put it out there for everyone to read. While this can be great for business if the reviews are good, negative online reviews are often detrimental.
But just how bad are negative reviews for business? One study found that 94 percent of people have avoided a business that had bad reviews. A single negative write-up online is all it takes to deter potential customers! In fact, one bad review can deter up to 22 percent of potential customers, while that number jumps to 59 percent with just 3 negative posts.
Negative reviews can affect your business’s prestige, trustworthiness, and bottom line. If customers don’t trust your business to give them the service they need, you not only lose money, but also suffer from reputation damage in your community.
The most unfortunate aspect of negative online reviews is that consumers trust them more than they probably should. Most platforms and review sites have no vetting process. This means that any person can write anything they want about any business, without verification of their identity or story.
An angry former employee could make up vicious lies about your business. Someone you had a fight with in your personal life could post a one-star rating without context. A rival could write a fake review to hurt your business and help theirs. A customer could post a complaint that only tells their side of the story. Reviews about your business might be exaggerated or totally made up. Unfortunately, people can’t tell the difference and assume that they are telling the truth, leading them to choose another business over yours.
One way to combat this and improve your online reputation is to use post removal services. They get negative posts about your business taken down from websites like Complaints Board as well as removed from search engine results. Removing negative posts helps boost your reputation and bring in new customers who aren’t swayed by false information.
More people than ever are turning to the internet to help them choose which businesses to patronize. Around 93 percent of consumers read local reviews when making a decision and 50 percent say that negative reviews make them question a business’s quality. With such a vast majority of people turning to internet reviews, you have to make sure that your business’s online reputation is accurate, true, and fitting with your brand.