Fake news? Isn’t it time we addressed fake reviews
For businesses, receiving a good review can be worth its weight in gold – however, receiving a bad review can quickly lead to serious consequences, and a hit to the bottom line. Alarming then 99% of the content from online review websites are written by one percent of the users – as the rest don’t have the time or the inclination to log on and write a review. Businesses counting on these sites for feedback are subsequently reliant on the mercy of the feedback left – which contains both genuine and fake reviews that they have little to no control over.
The rise of fake reviews has grown exponentially over the years as has the difficulty for consumers being able to distinguish between a real or fake one. It’s an issue that has progressively worsened with the rise of robots using artificial intelligence to create very realistic customer reviews and marketing agencies offering to reviews creation as part of their service. So how then can businesses maintain control over their reputation and counteract any negative fake reviews?
There are some simple and effective ways companies can counteract these negative influences, and take control over their online image and reputations. The first way is to learn how to spot a fake review. Fortunately, there are usually a few telltale signs that a review is fake. This includes accounts that only review once, leave multiple stellar reviews for different products or limit their reviews to only one brand. These can be reported and removed at the discretion of the reviewing platform.
To tackle genuinely bad reviews, it’s important for businesses to recognise where they’ve failed the customer and aim to make improvements by using it as a springboard. It can also help instill a greater sense of respect and trust in customers if you respond to both negative and positive reviews on each platform, for any failings on your part, or thanking positive reviewers for their custom. Of course, the best way to combat negative reviews is to learn exactly what your customers want using a strong internal data collection process – a process that until recently has been very costly, difficult to integrate and data mine.
In today’s highly competitive market however, the time is now to put the customer first and really get to grips with their needs and wants – and importantly to respond to that. Businesses that understand the value of doing so will gain valuable insight into what impresses and disappoints customers. This can all be achieved by collecting in genuine paying customer feedback at the point of payment – which not only removes the risk of fake feedback, but also engages customers who may be happy, but who wouldn’t usually take the time to review, giving the business a more complete overview of its performance.
We feel that businesses have reached the point where they need to take back control over reviews. Don’t you?
I was formerly a consumer rights lawyer at Europe’s largest consumers’ association, Which?, before founding TruRating in 2013 when I began to notice how influential online review sites were becoming and the make or break role they were playing for many businesses.
I was concerned that despite best intentions, feedback sites often just...