The science of psychology plays a key role in marketing. At the heart of the psychology of marketing is a phenomenon called social proof. Let us first understand the meaning of social proof. Robert Cialdini was the first to write about social proof in his book, Influence, which was published in the eighties.
Social proof is a social and psychological phenomenon where people tend to copy the actions of other people in the same situation and under the same circumstance. Research has shown that a substantial majority of consumers tend to equate online reviews to personal recommendations. Consumers are increasingly relying on online reviews in order to make their choice about purchasing a product or a service. Reviews on Yelp, Google Reviews, Angie’s List, Open Table, Facebook etc. have emerged as the social proof of the day.
Welcome to the dark world of negative reviews
Significant researches on the subject of online reviews have been done the past decade. These research reports have also concluded that positive reviews have a very positive impact on a business or service.
Therefore, the converse is also true that a bad review can impact the business negatively. More importantly, market research studies have concluded that consumers are more inclined to share their grievances via negative reviews on social media with a product or service provider than their positive reviews. Additionally, studies have also pointed to the fact that aggrieved consumers want to be heard and are more likely to share their negative views on a review site.
Understanding the various categories of negative reviews
According to the philosophy of yin and yang, everything that we perceive as bad has an aspect of good in it. Almost everyone who has made it big in life has comeback from the bottomless pit of failure. Thus, it is important to understand the various underlying aspects of bad reviews.
The following are the various types of negative reviews:
The first category of negative review is genuine customer expressing his disappointment that the product or service purchased by him or her did not meet his or her expectations.
The next category is a person with a malicious intent posting an online review in order to hurt your business.
Your business or service can get a bad review for rude behavior while customer has no complaints regarding the product or service itself.
The effect of bad reviews on your business.
· Undermine the reputation of your business
As mentioned before, online reviews are as powerful as personal recommendations. Thus, negative reviews have a substantial effect on the brand image of your business.
· Losing customers
Research has shown that three negative reviews can result your business losing over 55 percent of its customers. The effect of more than three negative reviews is more pronounced as it can result your customer base being reduced by 70 percent or more.
· Low search engine ranking
Search engines try to recommend the best product or service to the users. Therefore, negative reviews drive a business to ranking lower in the search engines.
· Loss of revenue and decrease in profitability
According to market research report compiled by Womply, bad reviews have a grave effect on a business. A business which has a one star to a one and a half star rating only manages to do only 67% of average turnover of a similar business with a higher rating. According to a report by Forbes, more than 90 percent of consumers tend to avoid purchasing from a business plagued by bad reviews.
How to deal with bad reviews? Are bad reviews all bad and no good?
· Make it a habit to respond to bad reviews on priority basis
Human beings are said to be a slave of their habits. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon put a lot of emphasis on setting high standards. Mercedes Benz imbibes the philosophy of shooting for perfection or nothing. According to Forbes, over 40 percent of consumers tend visit a store that responds to negative reviews.
· Keep the customer engaged
Not only should you set a high standard for dealing with bad reviews but you should keep the customer engaged in communication either offline or online in order to reassure him or her that her grievance will be redressed.
· Identify the customer and take action against the fake, malicious reviewer
The genuine reviewer should not have a problem in identifying himself or herself. Carefully, understand the intent of the reviewer. In case you find that the reviewer is a person with a malicious intent hiding behind a fake identity, do not be afraid to take him to task legally.
If you need help in getting down your online reviews from google search results, Review Express can help you dealing with such issues.