Online reviews have become a staple of the web. From appliances to restaurants, everything has its way of allowing its user base to review it. The benefits of this are obvious: It helps drive business efficiency and protects businesses’ reputations.
However, as with any online form of content, some downsides need to be considered. When it comes to online reviews, several different risks need to be acknowledged. Some risks can be minimized through careful planning and execution; others have a way of creeping up on you when you’re least expecting them.
To help ease your mind about what might go wrong, we’ve come up with some mitigating factors for common pitfalls that you may encounter when launching your business or app through an in-person review launch.
What is an Online Review?
An online review is a form of content that a customer can leave for another business. In-person reviews are still a critical part of the buying process, but online reviews allow you to reach a wider audience.
They can also be a great way to let your customers know how you’re doing as a business, or even as an individual. There are many different types of online reviews, and the one that applies to this book is user reviews.
User reviews are the impressions that your customers leave behind when they leave a review on your website.
Types of Online Reviews
There are a few different types of online reviews that you need to be aware of:
Product Online Reviews
Product reviews are the most common type of online review, and they tend to be the most polarizing. On one end, you have glowing reviews that are heavily weighted towards being positive.
On the other end, you have brutal reviews that are heavily weighted towards being negative. Both ends of the spectrum have their merits, as each has its own set of pros and cons. You can learn a lot about a product from customer reviews, but you can also get caught up in the praise and criticism that’s inherent in them.
Service Online Reviews
Similar to product reviews, service reviews can also be weighted heavily toward being positive or negative. However, unlike product reviews, service reviews rarely have a consensus from customers. Instead, each customer’s experience is different, and they provide a unique perspective on the service.
For example, one review could be very positive and three others could be quite critical. The average rating is lower than average, but that customer’s experience is so positive that it outshines the rest.
Possible Disadvantages of Online Reviews
Lack of Relevant and Appropriate Content
This is perhaps the biggest pitfall that you may run into when it comes to getting reviews from your target audience. It’s easy enough to find a plethora of content ideas on the internet, but how do you decide which ones to use for your review launch?
The problem here is that you don’t know who you’re writing for until you sit down and talk to them. What are the chances that your target audience is going to be interested in your products or services? What do they care about? And even if you do know the answers to these questions, likely, you don’t know them well enough to write content that addresses their needs and wants.
How to Overcome?
Your task here is to come up with ideas that are general enough to capture the attention of the public, but specific enough to whom you’re writing to know what they’re talking about.
Lack of Expertise
This is perhaps the most obvious risk of all when it comes to reviewing products and services online. You don’t know how to write a review, how to set up an account, or how to properly promote your brand.
You don’t know the best way to set up a website, blog, or social media account to host your review. You don’t know the lingo or formatting needed for online reviews. These may seem like small things, but when you don’t know them well enough to get the job done, you run the risk of sounding tech-savvy or professional, but not insightful.
How to Overcome?
When it comes to tech-savvy reviews, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of readers are likely going to be using a computer or smartphone. They may not know the internal workings of your product or service, but they’re likely to be able to tell whether or not your review is accurate based on some search query or way.
This is why it’s crucial to have an expert in your corner when you’re writing your reviews. You may not be tech-savvy, but you know your audience, and you can Tailor your review to the needs of your particular customer base.
Use the Wrong Format
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when it comes to writing reviews on the internet, many companies use the wrong format for their product or service. You might notice that when you Google a certain product or service, a large number of reviews appear on the first page with the term “good” or “bad.”
These are often one-star reviews, where the writer just wants to get it over with and move on. One-star reviews don’t reflect well on the brand or product, so they’re oftenPolymailed or buried in a pile of negative reviews somewhere on the site.
How to Overcome?
There are several different ways that you can include a rating or review on your site or app, but you might consider using the following format: Format your reviews with these words. Make them as descriptive as possible without being cumbersome.
Not Collaborating with Reviewers
Having a strategy in place to collaborate with your reviewers is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to avoid pitfalls when it comes to reviewing launch. You need to be open and honest with them from the get-go.
How to Overcome?
Collaborate from the very beginning to figure out what their needs and wants are. This may mean going through some early prototyping or revising the product to get it to a place where you can test it out for your potential audience.
Not Responding to Negative Reviews
A large number of one-star ratings and reviews are from people who didn’t use the product or service, so it’s important to respond to these as quickly as possible. This is because not responding to these reviews will make them more credible to current and potential customers.
Having negative reviews may not only decrease your sales but affect the reputation of the business as well.
How to Overcome?
While you don’t have to engage in a full-blown debate with your reviewers, it’s still a good idea to acknowledge their points and try to down-stacked them. Depending on the nature of the review, this could mean simply acknowledging that you’ve heard them out, or responding with a counterargument, explanation, or offer of a free sample.
Getting reviews from your target audience can be a great way to gain exposure to your brand, product, or service. You can choose from a wide array of review platforms, and it’s important to use them appropriately.
However, there are still disadvantages that you need to overcome. This may not be resolved as quickly as you want but simple progress is still progress. There are ways to minimize these risks, but it’s important to be aware of them.
A lot of what has gone into building your business will lead to mistakes. You need to be careful with your online strategy because every interaction you have with a customer can affect how they think of you as a business. If you’re not careful, you may end up with negative online reviews that have a taint of an impostor to them.
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