When Reviews Go Wrong

Are online reviews and recommendations as important as they seem?

The answer is a loud and resounding YES.

A comprehensive study conducted by Bright Local (2020) found that 87% of consumers read business reviews before engaging with a company.

It was also found that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation, while a whopping 94% of consumers said that positive reviews meant they were more likely to do business with a company. Need I say more?

While we all might agree that reviews and recommendations are undeniably important for a business, how exactly do you get someone to leave you a review or recommendation? And what happens when they go wrong?

Let’s delve a little deeper into the world of reviews and recommendations and these particular questions.

Getting Reviews On LinkedIn

On LinkedIn reviews are listed as Recommendations. You can read more about how to request a LinkedIn Recommendation here.

Depending on your business, customers might also leave reviews on your website, on Google, or other product/service pages. If your business is lacking in reviews, encourage your clients to post by adding an easy-to-use link at the bottom of emails and invoices.

Once you get the ball rolling, getting reviews and recommendations isn’t typically a huge problem. If you deliver a great outcomes and provide exceptional service, people are usually happy to share the news. The problem is that annoyed or frustrated customers are also motivated to share their experiences.

This is where things can start going wrong. All it takes is a few (or in some cases, one) bad review, and future clients are discouraged from doing business with you.

What To Do When Reviews Go Wrong

In the context of LinkedIn, a review on a personal profile is a LinkedIn Recommendation.

LinkedIn recommendations need to be approved by the profile owner so you have full control over what recommendations are displayed on your personal LinkedIn profile. 

However this is not the case for all platforms.

If you find negative reviews online, respond to the complaint.

Sometimes things go wrong. If this is the case, a negative review might be valid.

While it’s never a good thing to see negative comments about your business put in writing and posted publicly, responding to the review is the best course of action. It will demonstrate that your business is committed to improvement and that you value your customers and their opinions.

This is especially important for potential clients who may be scrolling through the reviews and come across the negative experience. If they see that you have handled the situation in an apologetic manner and that you intend on making improvements, they are more likely to overlook the initial comment.

If, however, they see you responding to a negative review poorly, this can be an extra mark against your business. This is why it is critical that you never trade insults with customers, no matter how unfair or inaccurate their reviews are. You want to foster good relationships with every client, and responding in a positive way will help this.

Why it is Essential for Business’ to Handle Reviews Appropriately

When it comes to honesty and fairness, it goes both ways. Reviewers have the freedom to deliver honest feedback about a business, but a business also has the responsibility of ensuring reviews are communicated fairly and accurately.

In 2018, Meriton (a large hotel company) was ordered by the Federal Court to pay $3 million after being found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct.  The specific reason? Putting processes in place to reduce negative reviews. You can read more here.

Reviews and LinkedIn recommendations are critical to engaging new customers, but there’s no doubt they can easily go wrong. The key is to remain rational and fair, treating every review with logic, integrity and good manners.

 Kylie Chown is the founder of My Digital Brand, helping businesses and professionals create a powerful world-class digital brand.

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