Learn how to protect your business against libelous online reviews.
All kinds of businesses benefit from receiving positive comments on user-generated online review sites. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, a one-star increase on Yelp may bring anywhere from 5% to 9% increase in revenue.
However, receiving negative reviews (whether they are legitimate or fraudulent) on sites such as Yelp, Google Places and Google+ Local, Angie’s List and Foursquare, can be bad for your business. According to an infographic published by Chatterbox.com, 24% of customers change their minds about making a purchase after reading two bad reviews while 39% will decide against making a purchase after reading three negative reviews about a product or service. In addition, you may lose 30 customers as a result of a single negative review. Needless to say, your loss would be your competitors’ gain.
Tips to Protect Your Online Reputation
Go the extra mile. You can increase your chances of preventing negative reviews by giving what your customers need and going the extra mile to please them. Provide excellent products, give away valuable free stuff, wow them with great customer service and do things that will compel them to write a positive review about your business.
Claim your business listing. Avoid false and inaccurate information from being posted in your name by claiming your business listing in major social media and business directories. You may choose not to set up a full profile, if you don’t feel like it, but you should reserve your business name to protect it against your competitors. This will also give you the opportunity to address any issues and respond to critical comments should they arise.
Monitor what people are saying about your business. Use Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts to monitor any new mentions or reviews about your business. You should also monitor your social media networks to keep on top of things.
Address complaints head-on. Whether it is your company’s fault or not, start by saying that you are sorry about the negative experience and that you will try your best to resolve the issue. Ask the commenter to send you a private message or email so you can look into the matter further. Remember, the manner by which you respond to a negative review on online review sites may have a profound effect on how your customers perceive you and your business. So, stay calm and always be courteous.
Determine if you need to take legal action. Posting false accusations and reviews with the intent of harming you and your business’s reputation is a clear violation of the law. It is also against the user policies of most email service providers and webhost companies so you may consider reporting the person to their email provider so their posts can be flagged as spam or being inappropriate.? In extreme cases, you may consider filing a lawsuit to protect the integrity of your business.