The Benefits and Drawbacks of Adding Reviews to Your Website

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If you’ve ever made a purchase online from an Ecommerce website (and who hasn’t), you almost certainly have encountered online reviews. When shopping for items online, being able to read reviews for those items is very helpful – so helpful that you may consider adding reviews on your own website.

Online reviews can have an incredibly positive, or disastrously negative, impact on your business and your company’s online reputation, so you need to be very careful about exactly how you go about using them online.

The simple truth of online reviews is that they are an imperfect system. While they can help your business grow and gain new customers, they can also do the opposite if you do not manage your online reputation effectively, or if you are not prepared to handle both the positive and negative effects of reviews.

Why People Leave Reviews

People tend to leave reviews when they are unhappy with the product they have purchased or the service that they have received. This is the main problem with reviews, online or otherwise. Since no company is perfect, you will have instances where someone receives a less than stellar experience from your business. Online reviews can give that disgruntledly customer a voice that they can use to bash your company, whether that is legitimately or not. One single review may not be a big problem, but if you do not also have a sufficient quantity of positive reviews to balance out that negative one, this can give a bad first impression of your business to potential new customers.

Building Positive Reviews

Gathering any quantity of positive reviews is challenging. If you provide someone with the quality service and experience that they expect, they are rarely sufficiently moved enough to go online and leave a review. Yes, that is unfortunate, but it is the simple reality of customer reviews. Emotion plays an important role in customer feedback, which is why a negative experience is often what generates these postings.

To get the same kind of emotion out of a positive experience as with a negative one, your company really need to go above and beyond. Pretty unfair, isn’t it?  If you fail to live up to a customer’s expectations, they will be prompted to leave a negative review. If you simply meet those expectations, the same is not always true. People will rarely be moved to leave a positive review. This is why you need to ask for positive reviews!

As easy as it sounds to “ask for reviews”, few companies have any kind of initiatives in place to do this. If you want reviews, the first step is creating an initiative to ask customers for feedback once the sale or project is completed.

Remember, most customers don’t ever consider leaving a review. The emotion of a bad experience and the desire to vent their anger may cause them to seek out a review website, but after a good experience, or even a great one, those customers will simply move on and not think about offering their feedback on that experience. If you ask for that review, and you send a customer a link where they can do so, you get this idea into their head. If you want to gain positive online review, the best thing you can do is to ask your satisfied customers to leave them for you.

Accepting and Dealing with Negative Reviews

Positive online reviews will give new customers insight into working with your company, but that is not their only benefit. Positive reviews can balance out negative ones that your company may find yourselves dealing with.

There are basically two kinds of negative reviews – those that are legitimate and warranted and ones that are not warranted and which may be left by online trolls simply to try to harm your business.

If you do receive negative online reviews and you realize that they are valid arguments against your company, the best thing to do is to address them head on. If a negative review is accurate, accept the situation and try to comment on whatever is being said about your company. Being open and honest will go a long way to showing people that you are willing to do what you have to do to ensure it does not happen again.

So what about an online review that is not warranted or which is intentionally damaging? First, you should contact the site in question to make them aware of this review. These sites all have a process for weeding out reviews that are not legitimate. Of course, they will not simply remove a review because you say it is not correct. Doing this would allow companies who want to see a bad, but legitimate review, get removed simply by requesting it to be done. That would negate the value of honest reviews of a company and what they have to offer.

In some cases, getting a review removed may not work, or you may be dealing with someone who really has it out for your company and is bashing you on multiple forums, making it terribly challenging to scrub them all away from the Internet. This is when you may want to consider hiring a firm that specializes in online reputations and handling negative reviews. These services can be very helpful when you are trying to manage a bad situation and get your online reputation back in order as quickly as possible.

In Closing

Online reviews are something that all companies need to deal with. How you use positive reviews, and how you handle negative ones, will play an important role in how customers perceive your company online. Ultimately, you may decide that it simply is not worth adding them to your site, but if you do choose to add them, make sure you have the proper processes in place to get the most out of the reviews.