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In the last few years, consumers have become increasingly aware of their purchasing power, and that shift has led to a rise in online reviews. Online reviews are now an important part of the buying process for many customers. But do they affect your business? Especially if some of those reviews aren't glowing? Here's what you should know.
As a business owner, you know that reviews are critical to your success. They help potential customers make decisions about whether or not doing business with you is worth their time and money. They can also help you understand what products and services your current customers need from you.
Reviews allow consumers to share information about their experiences with other people, creating a space where customers can build relationships and trust between each other. The more positive reviews your business has received from past clients, the more confident potential new clients will be in working with you.
But the thing is when it comes to reviews, who wrote them and what website they were written on matters, too.
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There are three main types of reviewers: customers/users, organizations and experts. Customers are the most common type of reviewer; they're people who have actually used a product or service and want to share their experience with others.
A lot of people don't realize that the companies that review products and services for profit are biased. They have to be: They're businesses, and they need to make money. It makes sense that a company that pays to review your product or service will want you to buy theirs as well — and if you don't, they'll lose money, so they'll try anything to get you to buy, like filtering out good reviews or giving you an unfair rating.
There are also people who don't use the product but still feel compelled to comment on it — and sometimes these reviews can be just as powerful as those that come from actual users.
It's also not always clear whether or not a reviewer has actually used a specific item for its intended purpose. If you're looking at reviews in order to decide whether or not a particular product is right for your needs, then it's important to read between the lines and look at what reviewers are saying beyond their initial impressions.
Whether your business is doing well or not, you'll certainly find bad reviews from all sorts of people and review sites. If you find yourself trying to redeem your product from what seemed to be an unfair judgment, here's what you should do.
When responding to negative reviews from customers who have had an unfortunate experience (whether it's with your product or service), there are some things that should always be kept in mind:
Be polite and respectful at all times. Good manners go both ways; when responding politely and courteously to bad reviews, other potential customers will notice how professional your company is and take their chances on doing business with you instead of taking theirs elsewhere.
Respond quickly! If someone leaves feedback about an issue they had while using one of your products/services online through social media channels like Twitter or Facebook, then reach out immediately to not only resolve any issues but also to avoid having additional problems such as further complaints being made against you because others might think there isn't any way for someone else experiencing similar issues get help from those responsible for creating said product/service.
While you should pay attention to online reviews and respond accordingly, don't let them overwhelm you or dictate how you run your business. There are a few reasons for this:
You can't control what people say about you in their own words — and that's okay! The fact is, even if someone had been disappointed with their experience at your restaurant or hotel or spa (or whatever), they still might leave positive feedback if they enjoyed themselves overall. While it's certainly worth responding when any negative comments come up, remember that it's not always necessary or possible to change someone's opinion of an entire company based on one person's experience at one location or event.
Negative comments are likely outnumbered by positive ones! In fact, many people who write negative reviews never bother reviewing businesses again because they feel there's no point — they assume all businesses will be terrible so why bother? Remembering this helps keep things in perspective: Even though one bad review may feel like the end of the world now (because we live and breathe our businesses), most businesses actually have dozens more fans than detractors out there!
At the end of the day, it's how you do your business that matters most. You can't control what people say about you on social media, but you can control how you respond to it.
If someone leaves a negative review, don't try to argue with them or defend yourself. Instead, take what they say as an opportunity to improve your business for everyone — and offer an apology if appropriate.
Remember: There are two sides to every story, and one person's experience does not equal everyone else's experience. People who leave negative reviews may not be satisfied with their purchase for any number of reasons — maybe they're just having a bad day, or maybe they had unrealistic expectations from the beginning. By responding appropriately, you'll show others that their experience is important, too.