Online Reviews: Beware
I'd like to think that most consumers are wise enough to be able to sift through your online reviews to know which are fake, sincere, or just some pissy customer who didn't want to pay their bill or something. I'll remain optimistic, but I thought it was worth writing a little bit about.
I have some really great clients. They're good at what they do. Good people. Good employees. But once in a while you'll see a review that doesn't fit. So, I ask them about it. I've heard some explanations that just go to show that sometimes you can't please people. At all. Ever. Some people don't like to pay full price for anything. Even if it's the service they asked for. Or they are whiny and mommy and daddy gave them everything, and they're not used to not being treated like princes and princesses. Some people just like to complain no matter what. It's in their nature. And they'll always have a crappy life.
Here are a few examples of why people leave a bad review that's not warranted:
Didn't pay their bill. Now, they're getting calls from the business trying to collect and they feel they're being harassed. Hey... wake up... and pay your bill! Pay for what you received in product or service!
Disgruntled employee. Sometimes you have to let people go. That's business. Not doing your job... you'll probably get asked to go find another place to not do your job. So, then, they'll put a bad review up and usually make up or exaggerate something about the company or owners. Grow up. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. : )
Complainers. You can't satisfy these people. Nobody can. It's not your fault. It's what they do for a living. Too bad for them, it doesn't pay well.
They didn't understand what they were paying for. These people had something in their mind about what they were getting before they purchased a product or service from a business. So, when the job was finished, they say, "No, that's not what we agreed to." But they just weren't listening. They didn't read the estimate. They assumed they were getting something that wasn't agreed upon. The variables are all over the place here, but there was a miscommunication. I would just advise business owners to be very clear in describing what the customer will receive. Put things in writing. Go over it with them and say, "Do you understand?" "Do you approve of this?" Something to that effect. Consumers shouldn't assume things and neither should business owners. Just go over things a second time to make sure. Measure twice, cut once.
Family Members and Friends of the ticked off reviewer. It really sucks when you get a bad review that's not a truthful picture of how the transaction went down. But sometimes, they'll get their family members and friends to post bad reviews on your behalf, basically making up their own bad stories so Google or Facebook "thinks" it's real. Now, instead of one bad review, you get 8 of them within a week. Boo. Again... grow up, people.
A Competitor. Your competitors aren't all about appreciating good competition. They're out for blood. And sometimes they go down the darker paths of spreading false rumors or giving a bad review as if they were a customer. These people have a special place reserved for them in heaven where they don't get to ever have ice cream again or something. I'd say "Hell"... but that's a bit harsh I suppose. But needless to say, I really don't like these people. If you want to increase sales and take a bigger slice of your market, then how about just running a good business that treats their customers well? Try that.
I suppose there are many more reasons, but I'll stop there. You get the picture.
So, how do you fix a bad review? Sometimes, you can inquire with the Goog and FB people about getting a bogus review taken down. But don't bet on it. Hard to prove. Here's what you do. Give your customers the opportunity to give you good reviews. People are more apt to search you out when they're pissed off. The happy customers are satisfied with everything, and the thought of giving you a good review doesn't even cross their mind. So, you have to remind them. You give them an easy way to give you a review. Whether it's an after sale email with a survey on it and a button to click that takes them to a review spot, or just asking them if they'd mind giving you one as soon as the transaction is complete.
Yes, you'll also be asking for some bad feedback... but if it IS warranted... that gives you great information on where you need to improve service. On the flip side, if you're a GOOD business who does good work... then you're going to have about 99% happy customers. Even if just a small portion of those give you a review... those good reviews will far outweigh the bad ones.
And this brings me back to hoping that consumers are smart enough to sift through the good and the bad. If they see a heck of a lot more good reviews, you're going to be just fine, even if there are a few weirdly bad ones mixed in there. Just drown out the bad with good.
But that also takes effort on your part as the business owner who gets a bad review here and there. You need to be proactive in harvesting / asking for reviews. It's the world we live in. And bad reviews and bad word of mouth travels faster than ever now.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, South Dakota