A single especially venomous online review needs mere hours to put any business’s online reputation management strategy on the defensive.
In particularly disastrous cases, it doesn’t take even that long.
Spontaneous virality and lingering screenshots create an incurable poison together that consumer advocates and trolls alike never entirely forget. If you think operating primarily in a remote market with a relatively small internet saturation shelters anyone from Yelp or Google reviews, ask yourself something: have you ever heard the old saying about small-town gossip, "You fart in church and by the time it gets down the street, you’ve soiled your pants?"
Give how truly that speaks to the speed at which gossip travels where everybody knows everybody, how long do you suppose it would take for one disgruntled Topix or Facebook post among a close-knit hamlet’s citizens to damage your reputation when an online review can be seen by an incalculable audience from the second it goes live?
There are few corners of America left that the internet hasn’t yet touched. Your word-of-mouth notoriety has never meant more. The good news being, every online review offers an opportunity for you to directly influence perceptions of your products and services, for better or for worse.
Instant Interaction Leads To Innovation
Elon Musk doesn’t "have" to engage everyone with an opinion. When fellow entrepreneur Loic Le Meur tweeted his frustrations about Tesla drivers creating a five-car queue at the San Carlos supercharger by wandering away from their vehicles while they powered up, the Tesla founder took it personally.
"Most drivers seemed to have gone somewhere else as their cars were charging," Le Meur later told wrote on Medium. "The San Carlos supercharger is located within walking distance from Whole Foods, Peet’s Coffee, a gym and some restaurants."
It took Musk literally minutes to directly answer Le Meur’s frustrations. Six days after promising to act on the unintended logjam, he proved to be impeccable with his word.
@loic You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2016
"We designed the Supercharger network to enable a seamless, enjoyable road trip experience," Musk wrote on Tesla’s official website. "Therefore, we understand that it can be frustrating to arrive at a station only to discover fully charged Tesla cars occupying all the spots. To create a better experience for all owners, we’re introducing a fleet-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability."
Online reviews, like these Lexington Law firm complaints, are not always a curse. Some complaints or reviews can be a great source of knowledge for your company and an opportunity to improve your processes. They can also be a great opportunity for you to show your customers you are listening and working to actively find a solution.
Let’s face it: our loved ones are often an echo chamber. That’s why we don’t always solicit friends, family, co-workers, etc. first for referrals. For as much as there is to be said for opinions we already implicitly trust, a larger sample can fill in a lot of blanks and add needed depth to information that will eventually form a purchase decision. That’s why people shoppers increasingly turn to the internet first when browsing for almost any product or service.
The numbers don’t lie:
- 57% of consumers who read online reviews about a business will later make a visit
- 69% of people take the time to read positive reviews, compared with the 63% who check out negative ones
- 72% of online shoppers admitted positive reviews increase their trust in a local business
- 80% of consumers who read online reviews say positive feedback on a company’s website, mobile site, or
- Facebook page will convince them to purchase a product or service in-store
- 88% of internet users read online reviews and the same percentage confirmed they trust virtual impressions as much as personal feedback
However, it isn’t always the reviews themselves the cement your company’s identity.