Bad Online Reviews Could Kill Your Business
When companies launch new products, they often relay on word-of-mouth marketing to keep revenues up. It's called buzz, and it's an important part of any company's business model. Unfortunately, if a product is a little less than perfect, that buzz could quickly turn sour.
In 2011, for example, Nikon released a new camera that was designed to be small, user friendly and somewhat hip. The reviews, however, were overwhelmingly negative. On CNET, for example, the product has been reviewed 16 times, and of those reviews, 11 are in the one-star range. Most of these poor reviews come with scathing comments, such as "WILL NEVER EVER BUY ANOTHER NIKON" or "absolutely crappy pictures." It's unlikely that this product will do well with anyone who chooses to examine reviews. After all, if so many people hate the product, why wouldn't a smart shopper look for something else? Similarly, people who travel to hotels often write about their experiences, and often, these notes are also negative.
One reviewer writing about a Japan ryokan, for example, wrote: "Nothing prepared us for the horrible atmosphere and bitter taste that would be left in our mouths barely 18 hours later, as we hurriedly checked out 4 days early." Would you stay here, after reading this? Few travelers would.
Not surprisingly, experts suggest that poor reviews can have a damning impact on a company's bottom line. For example, a study in the journal Marketing Science suggests that negative online reviews can send stock prices down by up to 8 percent, and some companies don't recover from this kind of loss. The taint of a negative review can begin to grow, and more people may choose to enter the conversation with their own negative reviews. In time, the company's reputation could be trashed. The customers they lose might never come back, and the reputation loss they endure might be difficult to recover from. Some might never recover at all.
Some experts suggest that negative reviews can be a boon for businesses, as consumers are leery of products that have only positive reviews. By this theory, consumers find all-positive scores to be a little suspicious, and they like to have a few negative comments sprinkled in to ensure that the entire product line isn't somehow suspect. Other writers suggest that negative reviews can trigger a dialogue between a producer and the marketplace. For example, a blogger in CFO outlines the case of a company that sold a credit card pocketknife that got some poor reviews, and enthusiastic approval from other readers who defended the product and the company. Buzz like this is hard to beat. When a company is attacked, loyal customers can make the attacker look bad. However, there's no way to buy that kind of loyalty, and there's no way to ensure that consumers won't give a product the lowest score possible when they're given the chance to do so. Many companies have tried and failed to stem the damage when a review has gone south. Some fight back, engaging in flame wars with their customers, while others ignore the comments and let their negative scores stand between them and financial success. Neither strategy is smart, but unfortunately, both are common.
Thankfully, there is another option available. We've successfully removed negative reviews from major websites for our clients, and we have seen their stock prices jump as a result. We work quickly, and we're discreet. Visit www.internetreputation.com to find out more.