The Power of Reviews

I was surfing the internet the other day, as I often do.  I was looking to buy some special something that I needed.  You know just what I’m talking about. Some items that you just must have and you will comb the internet to find the best deal on the best product.

So I’m hitting the sites and I see that many of them have reviews.  I also notice that many of those reviews are super awesome five star reviews, and some are this-thing-is-junk one star reviews.  Then, or course, you have the middle dwellers. The two star reviews that seem almost meaningless.

I was trying to hunt for my must have item and it dawned on me that these reviews are by people, or bots, that I have never met.  I have no idea who enticed them to leave a review or why they felt that their voice was the voice to be heard among the many other reviews.

Reviews By Who?

You see, reviews are a bit funky to me.  It is nice to bring some group-think into the quality of a product.  But sometimes, that group is biased or addresses issues not relevant.

For example, I came across a one star review for an item that was complaining about the way the delivery driver left the package at the customer’s house.  That really doesn’t have any relevance to the product, yet the review dragged down the total rating.

A few five star reviews I saw looked like they came straight out of a program where English was not the first language spoken by the programmers. 

Trust is Key

The mighty review is something I want to trust, and we as a group of people that buy stuff online do, indeed, trust.  Yet we really don’t have a solid foundation of trust to rely on.

Have you ever gone into a store and just bought the product without hunting for reviews?  Of course you have. Unless you are 12 or younger, we didn’t have the option of even finding reviews outside of asking around, in person, with people we knew and trusted.

Oddly, sometimes I will recommend a product and the person I am speaking with sees a poor review and chooses something else.  This means they trusted anonymous person over person they know enough to ask.

That is simply crazy.

What Website?

Then we have the platform for these reviews.  Most review sites allow you to leave anonymous reviews on any product, service or place.  This is regardless of if you have actually experienced doing business with these places.

In addition, some platforms are notorious for highlighting bad reviews unless you, as a business owner, pay them to include the happy reviews.  That is extortion, and it is one more thing that business owners have to deal with.

Screw It

Recently I came across an article that had a restaurateur asking his clients for one star reviews on Yelp to combat Yelp’s extortion practices.  They wanted him to pay them for showing the five star reviews. He said no, so they only showed his poor reviews. That is to say, if he would have paid he would have shown up a four point whatever.  Without paying, he shows up as a one point whatever. That can hurt a business, if the consumer is unaware of the shady tactics that companies like Yelp will employ. So this guy, my new hero, asked for one star reviews to combat and bring awareness to the Yelp issues.

So what is a business owner to do?

Or Work With It

Step one is to bring on as many real, positive reviews as you can from customers that have actually used your product or service.  Eventually, every business has to deal with a bad review, and it is better to have some real reviews to drown out the frustrated customer.

Also note, sometimes the bad reviews you receive could be from either clients that are angry for no related reason, or from just random weirdos that take the time to mess with business reviews.

Step two is to do all that you can to make your customers happy.  Typically, this already happens. But sometimes bending over backwards twice can help get a bad review changed.  Sometimes, these reviewers casually forget to change the review, even after you do their bidding. Some people just need to drag others down to attempt to feel better.

Here’s the final step is to keep up with your reviews.  Watch for new reviews that come in and thank the people for leaving them.  If it is a negative review, ask the reviewer, as a response, how you can make it better.  You want to show that you appreciate the good reviews and are willing to work with the bad review people.  Often, if a potential customer sees that you at least tried to send out the olive branch and make peace, they will ignore that bad review.

The last thing you want to do is go off the deep end and berate a reviewer.  You may be upset, you may be livid. The reviewer may have no real foundation for leaving the bad review.  You need to take the higher ground. Your business reputation is on the line and available for the whole world to see.

Two Sides to Every Slice

To further strengthen that point, this little feud that you are having with the anonymous reviewer is all that the world gets to see in regards to the full story.  Most people won;t read the details, they will just get the tone. Then they will ask themselves, do I want to work with a business with a culture like that?

Enjoy your business, keep your customers happy and be aware of the power of reviews.  

James Kademan is a Business Coach for Draw In Customers Business Coaching in Madison, Wisconsin as well as the author of The BOLD Business Book. When he isn’t reading some reviews from the odd author, he is busy guiding entrepreneurs to success in business and beyond. He blogs successfully to the world at www.drawincustomers.com. If you are considering hiring a business coach, take a moment to call James at (608)210-2221. If you have used him before, leave a review.  If not, what are you waiting for?

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