How Do Online Reviews Affect Your Brand and Its Ability to Grow?

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While negative reviews might make people question the quality and integrity of your business, they’re not always bad. Research suggests that businesses can turn negative reviews into positives simply by responding publicly. One survey found that 45% of consumers would be more likely to visit a business that responds to its negative reviews.

So, how does an online review impact your brand, and what can you do about it? 

Online Reputations Are Earned — And Managed

For small- and medium-sized businesses, allocating the time and manpower to actively manage an online reputation might feel impossible. But without consistent reputation management, businesses are leaving their online reputation to chance. Research shows 92% of consumers now read online reviews when researching businesses, including their healthcare practitioners. While you might assume that no news is good news when it comes to online reviews, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. A consumer is 270% more likely to trust a business with five reviews than one with no reviews. No reviews could make your business seem brand new, or worse, it could send the message that customers had such unmemorable experiences with your business that it wasn’t worth their time to leave a review. 

When resources are already scarce, and it seems like there’s more urgent work to be done, it’s common to ignore an online presence that you might feel like you can’t control. But pushing online reputation management aside is a major mistake when the majority of your clients are spending time researching your business online. Humans aren’t the only ones paying attention, either. Search engines actively index reviews, utilizing the keywords to better understand your business. This affects your SEO, including your local SEO.

While you can’t control what people write about your business, you can absolutely impact the volume of reviews for your business. which can help balance out any negative reviews you may receive and lessen their overall impact. However, negative reviews aren’t necessarily a bad thing. 

Negative Reviews — Turning Bad Into Good

While you’re going to want lots of reviews, and positive reviews are always better than negative, there are important online reputation management opportunities via your (hopefully few) negative reviews. 

So what are the positives of negative reviews? “Allowing negative reviews on your site helps build credibility with shoppers. Rather than trying to eliminate negative reviews, monitor them and respond to them,” according to the “Evidence of the Power of Online Reviews to Shape Customer Behavior” report by Spiegel Research Center. Because negative reviews can actually be legitimizing, they have a surprisingly low impact on consumer behavior – only 22% of consumers said they wouldn’t buy or work with a business after reading just one negative review. 

However, there’s one caveat. While getting negative reviews is okay, ignoring them is not. The key to managing your brand through good and bad reviews is all in how you respond to them. Doing this correctly means positively impacting your brand. 

4 Tips to Respond to Reviews

  1. Keep sensitive information confidential. Regardless of which industry you’re in, be sure not to disclose your client’s private information when you respond. 
  2. Don’t address the reviewer directly. The goal is to respond, not to combat your reviewer. Not addressing them directly helps achieve that goal. While apologizing and acknowledging their frustrations is, of course, a good idea, keep your response professional and demonstrate your customer service skills. 
  3. Learn what you can from legitimate complaints. When you get a negative review, run through a few questions before formulating your response. 
  • Is this something we hear from many clients?
  • Could we have prevented this?
  • Was the client warned of this potential outcome ahead of time?
  1. Say thank you, offer solutions, and continue the conversation offline if needed.

We Can Help

Managing the review and reputation management process is time-consuming, which is why we created Review Power. Contact one of our digital marketing experts to see how it can help you save time.

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