Knowing the platforms on which customers prefer to express their views, and on which readers of those reviews are most likely to visit, is essential for effective online management.
Review Websites. Review platforms including Yelp, Amazon, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, and more heavily influence consumers when researching desired products and services. Unfortunately, these sites, and others, often end up authorizing unauthenticated reviews and manipulated reviews on their websites which could unduly damage the reputation of your business. For instance, the Yelp platform contains an algorithm that automatically determines which reviews are “most useful” without actually authenticating the reviews. This is because, like many other review sites, Yelp has no verification process in place to validate whether the reviewer actually participated in any transaction with the business in question, which enables fraudulent reviews by Yelp users and business competitors. After analyzing the writing style of reviewers and the effectiveness of manipulated reviews through sentiments, readability, and ratings, researchers have determined that 10.3% of products were subject to online review manipulation.
Review credibility is important, particularly in situations where reviews falsely or purposefully misrepresent a situation. Your business should develop an appropriate response to counter the effects of negative word-of-mouth (NWOM) communication. How your business responds to NWOM is crucial in terms of limiting the negative effects to the business.
Sensory marketing helps to identify and comprehend the senses and influences of marketing engagement in light of customers’ perceptions, behaviors, and judgments. How your business reacts to NWOM is critical in determining whether your business can recuperate from the negative reviews and feedback. While positive reviews do have an influence on customer decision making, one negative review from a disgruntled customer generally has a more significant effect on overall product ratings. Conversely, negative reviews have less of an influence when contrasted to a vast majority of positive reviews.
While you may be aware of the effects of customer reviews, do not succumb to the temptation of generating fake reviews to help promote your products or services. The drawback of manipulated reviews is that they could unduly damage the reputation of your business. Respond to customer reviews in a timely and effective manner as they influence customers’ perceptions of your business. Your business should place a priority on responding to both positive and negative reviews. Don’t ignore negative feedback, as from an overall brand perspective, negative reviews have the potential to hinder brand awareness by creating customer doubt which can decrease leads and referrals.
 Fan, Y. W., Miao, Y. F., Fang, Y. H., & Lin, R. Y. (2013). Establishing the adoption of electronic word-of-mouth through consumers’ perceived credibility. International Business Research, 6. doi:10.5539/ibr.v6n3p58