This whole Internet became a spot of globalized communication, allowing business consumers to give their feedback on the products/services they have used, and what they think of them.
Considering the limitless pool of information available to consumers online, hardly anyone goes purchasing today without seeking reviews about a certain business product/service they are interested in. Whether it’s about a new restaurant or a hair shampoo, people look for reviews, good and bad, pertaining to almost everything in order to make solid purchasing decisions.
According to Gorman, a Reputation Changer Blogger, “The main reason why online reviews are so important is that so many consumers use them to inform and guide their purchasing decisions.”
Reputation means a lot to a business. It requires a lot of hard work to create and uphold your business reputation. In the modern age of internet and social media, businesses need to take more control than ever over their online reputation. Your online reputation is not just limited to what customers think of you; it could be your prospective employer, business partner, colleague, marketer, a personal contact or just anyone who wants to learn more about you.
People use online review sites, social media, forum posts etc to share reviews which may be positive or negative, exaggeration or useful statements, true or false. While positive online reviews can strengthen a business reputation and increase sales, negative online reviews can sink your business value to an under par level.
Therefore, in order to create value for the business, it is important that we understand how customers perceive our products/services.
Negative Online Reputation can bring a lot of embarrassment and put your business prosperity at stake. Below are mentioned some of the implications of negative online reviews on your business value:
Companies use ‘word of mouth’ as a powerful tool to market their business. However, this may become threatening to business reputation, if negative feedback is spread through word of mouth.
According to statistics, a consumer who has had an awful experience with your business product or service will generally speak about it to 5 other people. Also, only 3 negative reviews can make75% of the consumers reconsider their purchasing decision.
B2B Magazine states that a single negative customer review on Social media networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter can cost a business about 30 customers.
Negative online reviews can have adverse implications on a company’s credibility.
According to a research a fall in 1 out 5 stars of a business ranking can cause a 10% fall in business.
Google is said to be the world’s largest search engine, most widely used to get reviews on a certain business product or service. Unhappy customers tend to create hate sites, negative reports and spread negative reviews on forums etc. A large number of potential customers who might have come across your company’s negative reviews and unhappy customers lose trust in your product/ service.
Low sales and earnings
In the age of internet and technology, negative word of mouth can spread abruptly and widely through face-to-face meeting, over the phone or using online medium; In any case, your business can suffer disastrous effects. Even a single bad review can bring adverse implications to your company’s financial status. As negative reviews spread, the number of customers to your business website will also reduce over the time. Few customers imply lesser sales, and lesser sales mean low earnings. Under such circumstances, it becomes difficult for a company to pay employees, get supplies, maintain business standards, or invest anywhere.
Damaged business relationships
Negative online reputation can baldy affect a company’s relations with other businesses it is tied to. Your business partners or marketers may refuse to renew a contract or provide further financial support, fearing that your company’s bad reputation can risk their brand value and reputation as well. For example, negative reviews about your company might cause a supplier to stop further dealing with you, which in turn would require you to spend money and look for new prospective ones. Once a company or business is talked about negatively, every operational department of the company is at stake.
According to a survey, four out of every 5 people who read negative reviews about a product/service reverse their decision to buy it.
Customers then look for other better options to meet their needs. This gives business competitors the advantage to win your potential customers trust; damaging your company’s reputation.
It may even be possible that the every employees of a company are not satisfied with the internal affairs of a company. This works to catalyze the process of worsening the image of company’s brand.
What can be done?
The business owners may know that occasional negative reviews and unhappy customers are only natural. But, people and businesses need to keep a constant check on their online reputation through devising proper means of Online Reputation Management. Before the misperception regarding you or your business gets absorbed in the belief corners of your prospects’ mind, it is better to avoid the disastrous effect on your business on time. You can work on recovering or improving your online reputation through reaching out to the unhappy customers as effectively as possible.
According to Online Reputation Management experts, effective reputation management may be difficult, but is not impossible; so, people should take the following measures to avoid negative talks about their business:
a) Close the communication gap with your customers through constant interaction using forums, social networks, online surveys and questionnaires, and other means.
b) Evaluate the feedback, plan an approach to meet or exceed the quality standards in your business activities, accordingly.
c) Keep your customers updated about the actions taken in terms of improvements or changes made after their reviews/ feedback.
In order to get rid of such negative comments on your brand; a proper Online Reputation Management is required and do it yourself or get it done by someone who are expert on it. Best Luck.