Online reviews are important to business and need to be managed appropriately as they can influence the purchasing behaviour of customers and your overall reputation.
Online reviews provide information about your business’s products and services based on the opinions of customers. One of the first steps in managing online reviews is monitoring where they appear. Reviews can be found on a business’s own website, social media, blogs or third party review sites. Managing your online presence helps to monitor customer satisfaction and provides leverage from criticisms to improve your business.
Responding to feedback
To successfully manage online reviews, both positive and negative feedback should be constructively responded to. It is a good idea to allocate a staff member to handle online reviews. Responding to positive feedback shows your appreciation which helps to foster a relationship with your customer. On the other hand, negative feedback should not be ignored, instead it can be turned into an opportunity to show your concern and rectify the problem.
Identifying fake reviews
Fake or misleading reviews pose a concern for business owners but there are ways to identify and combat reviews that are not genuine. It can be challenging to distinguish between fake and genuine reviews; however there are some characteristics to look out for:
a significant spike in reviews about a business over a limited period of time
written in overly enthusiastic writing style or extreme use of marketing jargon
written in a similar language as other reviews of the same business
written about the same business, product or service where the reviewers’ accounts are very similar
written from the same email or IP address as one another
Avoid misleading reviews for your business
To ensure your business’ reviews are not misleading they must not be written by the reviewed business, someone who has been paid write the review but has not used the product or by someone who has used the product but written an inflated review to receive a monetary or non-monetary benefit.
A review may be deemed as misleading if you encourage family and friends to write reviews without asserting their personal connection to the business or request others to write reviews about your business or a competitor if they haven’t experienced the product or service. Businesses should also be wary if considering offering incentives to those that write positive reviews for their business as it may be considered misleading.