There’s nothing quite like a good review. When a satisfied customer takes time to sing your praises on your company website, social or third-party platform, it makes everything feel worthwhile. And better than that, it’s likely to encourage further business: 85% of customers will trust an online review just as much as a personal recommendation, and nearly half of all customers need to see at least a 4-star rating before they click ‘Buy.’
But it’s said that if you read all the good reviews, you ought to read the bad ones too. In today’s world of online fakery, that means more than just learning from the feedback you receive – it means staying vigilant against saboteurs and rivals planting fake negative reviews!
It just takes a single fake bad review to cost your business money. This is why your marketing team needs to balance posting irresistible product photos and sending upbeat tweets with fixing negative publicity. Fortunately, platforms such as Google and Amazon are aware of the fake review problem, and they want to work with you to keep their websites honest.
So, what steps can you take?
The first thing is to verify whether a negative review is or is not fake. Even the most customer-friendly businesses can get an authentic bad review if they or their client is having an off day! And you don’t want to get tagged as ‘the boy who cried wolf’ by bringing every genuinely dissatisfied customer to the Amazon service team’s attention.
Start by assessing whether the tone seems reasonable. A truly unhappy customer wants to warn other customers, and will usually write in a way that encourages them to be taken seriously. A vicious review is less likely to be genuine. Keep an eye on how specific the wording is, too. Do they mention a specific product, service, or encounter? Verify it if you can and if not then use your judgment as to whether it sounds realistic.
You can often find out a bit more about your reviewer’s background by clicking on their profile. If you spot that they’ve left lots of glowing reviews for one particular competitor, they could be a phony. Likewise, if they seem to review more products and services than they would humanly have time to use, you’re probably on to a plant.
So it’s time to make a report. Most sites will have a little icon next to the review – a flag or a menu button – that you can click to begin the reporting process. Keep your own records of user names, review text, and the date and time you left your report, so you can build a case if things continue or get worse.
And finally, your own damage limitation. Other customers may already have seen the bad review, so you need to deal with the negative publicity boldly and transparently. You may want to use social media to post a calm, smart report and rebuttal of the fake review. (Don’t do this with a genuine bad review!). And encourage your satisfied customers to leave positive feedback. A personal approach can get your regulars invested in your success, and they’ll be happy to spend a couple of minutes leaving an upbeat review so that others can enjoy your great service.
Found a fake review of your business? Work through this new infographic from Headway Capital to set things straight!
John Cole writes on behalf of Headway Capital. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.