How Much Do Negative Online Reviews Cost Your Business?

by Leon on February 6, 2013

online reviews of your businessBusiness has changed considerably over the past several years, and this has been largely because of growing technology. Lightning fast communications and far-reaching networks have helped companies everywhere advance and streamline their services, but technology has also had important implications for the customer. Customers everywhere have a voice that they’ve never had before, and that voice is growing louder every day. Online reviews are the modern customer’s way to express their opinions, good or bad, about every business they patronize. What you may not know is that those reviews can cost your business quite a bit.

Many business owners are quick to dismiss a negative review on a website like Yelp. They understand that you can’t please all the people all the time, and some customers may not be satisfied with even the highest quality service. If this sounds like your attitude regarding online reviews, you’re underestimating the power of this platform. Review networks are not just places for disgruntled customers to air their frustrations and play the role of critic. In fact, those reviews are a significant factor in determining whether or not a new customer will ever try your business. Studies indicate that as much as 83% of customers are influenced by online reviews.

What’s truly dangerous about these online reviews is that they can kill businesses silently. If a potential customer is turned away from your business because of a negative online review, you’ll never know it. No one is going to call up and tell you that they decided not to patronize your business because of a negative review on Yelp. They’ll simply forget about you and move on to the next business. This can cost your business thousands of dollars in potential profits, and you would never know why. This is why it is important in this day and age to tune into these review networks and find out what your customers are saying.

As much as negative reviews could be costing your business, you have the power to use them to your advantage. Give every review fair consideration and listen to the customer’s needs. There are sure to be shortcomings in your business, and reading negative reviews will help you to identify those weaknesses. Perhaps your customer service is not adequate, or maybe your products need to be streamlined. Of course, you should be careful not to reinvent your business every time a negative word comes up. This could end up costing you even more.

To avoid letting negative reviews wreak havoc on your business, use this opportunity to resolve problems directly with the customers. Most review sites allow users to hide or remove personal info from their profiles, but you should be able to contact them directly through the site. Let them know that you appreciate their feedback and try to resolve every situation to their satisfaction. Nothing is better for building your reputation than conflict resolution. Don’t let negative reviews destroy your potential profits. A bad review has immeasurable potential costs, but resolving conflicts will put you back on track for success.  Why not ask clients and staff for their feedback before you do get negative reviews on your business profile?

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