Are online reviews destroying the reputation of struggling shops?

Posted on 19 October, 2018 by Bailey Clarke

Unfounded online reviews are becoming increasingly frustrating for many businesses that are fighting to keep their good reputation intact.

Are online reviews destroying the reputation of struggling shops

Long before review websites, a retail business, food outlet or tradesman would rely on word of mouth or customer loyalty but sadly it seems to be slowly disappearing with the new generation.

Obviously, not all negative comments are fake and can actually help to improve a business’s vision. There are many reasons for inflammatory reviews, it could be a competitor or a disgruntled customer. Whatever the reason if a business is targeted it could impact their financial position and discourage new customers if they choose to check online reviews before visiting.

A recent survey by Brighlocal reported that 84pc of people favour online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Monitoring online reviews

Many large retailers in the UK have an allocated budget in place to help with damage control from negative reviews. Some businesses have an in-house social media team or external agency helping to monitor on a regular basis. Many companies are spending big money to help reduce trolling which is time-consuming and challenging.

Unfortunately, smaller establishments haven’t got the required luxury of an allocated budget. With a struggle to survive it’s difficult to allocate time for smaller setups. However, a big budget is not always required as there are lower-cost options such as moderating online reviews across various platforms. Responding to every review including the negative ones could help as it shows that the business cares and wants to improve their current service.

Reduce suspicious reviews

If a review seems to be fake or malicious then there are options for the owner to highlight their concern with the online review provider. On Google reviews, businesses are able to monitor, flag or dispute a suspicious review.

A similar protocol is in place with the popular social media platform, Facebook, they provide an option to report a fake or unfair review. In some cases, if the FB business page is being targeted, reviews can be disabled completely but this is only a last resort.

The Future

There are many businesses that have many genuine reviews which can boost a business and help influence new customers. However, as well as the negative comments can fake positive reviews also become a concern in the near future?

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