In 1915, William Somerset Maugham wrote in one of his novels, “People ask for criticism, but they only want praise.”
We may laugh at this statement, but there is more truth to it than we realize. The Internet is loaded with opinions. Yelp, for example, reports 207 million visits from people who want to either share their own opinions about brands or read yours. Therefore, whatever is being said about your business online should be important for you, because it is important for everybody who’s reading it. That being said: Have you ever wondered about the impact of a negative review on prospective customers?
According to a recent study, 38 percent of customers will not make a purchase if they read even a single negative comment online about a brand or a product. So like most other reports, this one too tells us one thing: Don’t underestimate the power of online reviews. Customer reviews have the power to hurt or help your business. Here’s how negative online reviews can impact your potential customers:
1. Customer reviews are one of the most important influencers of choice. Negative reviews can remove your brand or products from a potential customer’s preference list. Even if you have lower prices compared to competitors or better marketing campaigns, nothing can overcome the impact of negative reviews. Customers will refuse to spend their hard-earned money on your products. Bad reviews make you lose new customers.
2. Negative reviews tend to cause more negative reviews. This is because potential customers will most likely trust the feedback of your existing users. And if your existing customers are posting negative comments about your business, then the likelihood of new leads trusting those reviews increases tremendously.
3. Negative online reviews can also increase refund and product return requests from your customers. All this can leave your business in serious trouble. You may lose customers, scare away new leads, generate bad publicity and become financially unstable. If left unattended, the impact of negative online reviews could be severe.
4. There are always new customers who are looking for products or brands that suit their requirements. When such leads find your brand, they tend to compare you against your competition. Now, you could be better than your competitors, but how will your potential customers get to know this? If they read more negative reviews than positive ones about your business, they’ll most likely choose your competitors over you.
5. When new consumers look up your business through a search engine, the first thing that pops up is customer reviews. Search engines encourage customer reviews because they drive traffic. Because consumers visit review sites such as Yelp often, these sites rank high in terms of SEO. If your business appears in searches, your rank is bound to shoot up. Make sure to monitor the reviews because you wouldn’t want to be recognized for the wrong reasons.
If you never bothered about online customer reviews, maybe now is the time to monitor what customers are saying about your business and services. The power to make or break your business lies in the hands of your consumers.