For consumers seeking information about different products and services, there are many places to turn. A consumer might visit a corporate website and read a manufacturer's description of the product in question; a consumer might also consult with friends and family members for more personalized recommendations. The source to which consumers increasingly turn, however, is the online review site. In fact, a recent Nielsen report finds that the level of consumer trust in online reviews has dramatically increased in recent years--meaning that, for businesses, the need to manage these reviews is more vital than ever. That is why more and more companies are turning to the reputation management services of organizations like Reputation Changer.
EDITOR'S NOTATION : I don't ordinarily run submitted articles that are so blatantly pitchy for a specific product or service. And let me be perfectly clear that this is not necessarily an endorsement for this particular service -- however -- reputation management is an important emerging issue that all online practitioners need to be attentive to. BE SURE TO search, and do sufficient research into the 'reputation management' field to be confident with the service you use. NOW back to the story ...
Indeed, the need for businesses to address online reviews, and other online reputation management issues, is dire, if the new Nielsen numbers are to be believed. The report indicates that as many as 70% of online consumers place their trust in online reviews. This is an overwhelming figure, and it marks a significant increase from even four years ago. In fact, the number marks a 15% increase over 2008's figures.
The fact that consumers place such extreme trust in online reviews is good news for businesses whose products receive good reviews across the board; for many companies, of course, this simply is not the case. Even for companies that currently receive positive reviews, there is nothing to prevent a disgruntled customer or even a rival company from posting negative feedback to a site such as Yelp. This, according to companies like Reputation Changer, is what makes the need for reputation management services so urgent.
Mark Reffert, the Senior Strategist for Reputation Changer says
One negative review is all it takes to damage a company's reputation ... And the longer that review goes unchallenged, the more damage it can do. There is no erase or reset button on the Internet. Once a bad review is out there, it is out there.
Reffert also cautions that a single negative review is often the first step toward an avalanche of bad press.
One of the foundational rules of reputation management is that consumers typically do what other consumers have already done ... If a consumer is on the fence about a product, and they see that other consumers have left bad reviews, that consumer is going to be much more likely to publish a bad review of his or her own, or worse, to request a refund or a chargeback.
Managing online reviews can effectively stop this chain reaction of negative actions before it even starts. Reffert is quick to point out that a reputation management company cannot erase or delete bad reviews, but they can do the next best thing.
While many businesses think it is a good idea to rebut or refute their bad reviews, this ultimately just draws attention to them, and makes things much worse ... However, Reputation Changer practices what we call review suppression. We cannot actually undo a review, but we can bury it under so many positive reviews that we effectively make it non-existent.
Indeed, review suppression, as practiced by companies like Reputation Changer, involves inundating Google, Yahoo, and other search engines with positive content--content that presents the product or brand in question in a positive light. This content is matched with strong SEO techniques, which, according to Reffert, helps the content rank above online review sites like Yelp. Reffert concludes by saying that review suppression is a service companies can no longer afford to ignore.
These Nielsen statistics tell us what online retailers have long known--which is that online reviews are incredibly potent in shaping consumer behavior ... A single bad review from a site like Yelp can totally sink a business, but reputation management companies can provide a way for effectively combating bad reviews and negating their impact.
Founded in 2009 by a team of online marketing and sales professionals, Reputation Changer is one of the premier providers of online reputation management. The company works 24/7 to provide comprehensive reputation management strategies to its clients, which have included politicians, public figures, Fortune 500 companies, and more. Reputation Changer owns several media outlets, and is known for its innovation in positive SEO techniques, social media implementation, and more. The company is also unique for the custom, individualized process it takes for every client and every campaign.