Negative Online Reviews Can Cost You New Customers

Written by: Jimmy Newson

Jimmy Newson is the founder and CEO of Moving Forward Small Business, a membership-based digital publishing company on a mission to save a million small businesses from failure by 2050. He presents workshops and training regularly with Start Small Think Big, NY Public Library, SCORE, Digital Marketing World Forum, DC Start-Up Week, and international SaaS companies.


October 6, 2018

Online reputation has become a deciding factor in the digital environment. Whether you own an online or brick-and-mortar business, your online reputation is absolutely essential for your success. The better and more positive reviews you have, the higher the chances to convert. However, the opposite is also true. The more negative online reviews you have, the lower your chances to outstrip your competition.

According to the latest stats, over 58% of online consumers are sharing constant feedback online. Out of them, over 90% have written at least one negative review this year alone. Studies also show that customer reviews are 12 times more trusted than the product or service descriptions from the manufacturer or seller. Good reviews can generate an 18% uplift in sales, while the total number of reviews contribute to 10% of Google SERPs rankings. In other words, reviews appear very high in search engines in the form of schema markup and can boost your SEO rankings. For hotels alone, a one-point increase in review score results in a whopping 12% increase in room reservation. The top 5 industries affected by reviews are restaurants, hotels, hospitality, doctor offices and hair salon industries. For more interesting information about online reviews and the actual sources of the information, read this infographic.

Why Should You Stay Away from Bad Reviews?

Inbound marketing comes with a whole new approach to marketing, enabling you to stay away from ad blockers. Due to their interruptive nature, ads have become the bane of digital marketing. People simply hate ads. The result – outbound marketing is not as effective as it used to be ten years ago. In fact, outbound marketing can even hurt your chances of converting. On the other hand, inbound marketing does not fight to get your customers attention. Instead, you create tailored content that provides value to the users and solves their problems. This content, when inserted in the right stage of the customer buyer journey, can spike their interest and convince them to choose you over your competitors. With inbound marketing, you rely on earning the interests of your prospects by providing them with something that is of value to them. Whether it’s a blog post, an infographic, white paper, eBook or a try offer, you can use inbound marketing to attract more customers, convert them into leads, close the deal and ultimately delight them. To discover more about the huge importance of inbound marketing and to understand the whole process, we have created a great whitepaper titled: “The Real Importance of Inbound Marketing for B2C Businesses”. You can download it here for free (note: add here your barter – I guess you want their email addresses). Just enter your email address and download this whitepaper that could help solve your problem of unqualified leads once and for all.

So What is the Cost of Negative Online Reviews?

According to Laura Entis, a writer for Entrepreneur, a single negative review on Yelp can cost you up to 30 new customers. Just a single negative review can reverberate for years to come for your company.  Not just that it can detract precious potential clients to choose you over your competition, but might also drive people away straight to the competition. Additionally, a negative review that looks convincing enough could influence other reviewers into giving you 4 or 3 stars instead of 5, even if they are content with your services. Ultimately, negative online reviews affect the performance of your campaigns, increase your costs and minimize the ROI.

What can you do About it?

Now the good news is that you can take advantage of online reputation management services to deal with those negative reviews that have been plaguing your efforts for so long. An effective online reputation management strategy can help you recover after being hit by negative reviews and can even help you become better than before. Ensuring that a customer leaves your store happier than he was when he entered, or an online client leaves your site satisfied because he had a flawless navigation and buyer journey is the first step towards dealing with negative online reviews. When you go above and beyond and exceed the expectations of your customers, they won’t hesitate to praise you and even recommend you to other people. Here are four strategies on how to ensure you will always get positive reviews from your customers and that they will become business promoters instead of unhappy customers.

1. Improve your Customer Service

We can’t stress enough the importance of excellent customer service. In 2017, more than ever before, people complain about poor customer service. Whether it’s online interactions, interactions via phone or face-to-face interactions, it is imperative to provide outstanding customer service. Your customer service team should strive to solve the customer’s problem ASAP. Even though you might need to refund the money for a product or service, you should do it without hesitation. A negative review can make you lose even more money in the long run.

2. encourage positive reviews

You can actually control the reviewing process to some degree. For example, after a customer has bought your detox program, send him an email where you thank him and ask him for a genuine review of the buying process. After a few weeks, send him another email where you request a review of the detox program. During all the emails that you send part of the lead nurture program, remember to ask your customers to interact with you on social media platforms. This might help you get additional free reviews that you didn’t ask for.

3. respond promptly to negative reviews

By promptly responding to your customer’s complaints and negative reviews will make them appreciate you for coming up with a solution so quickly. They will understand that their satisfaction is one of your primary goals and might change their minds regarding the review. While some will change it into a 4 or even 5-star review, others will update the review with a positive comment.

4. monitor your online presence ultimately

Ultimately, you can keep tabs of your online reputation by hiring a reputation management contractor. These agencies specialize in solving customer problems, helping generate more online reviews, and transforming negative reviews into positive ones.

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