Everyone is familiar with customer reviews of products on Amazon, as well as reviews of vendors on Amazon and eBay.
Many are also familiar with customer reviews of service providers on sites like Yelp, as well as Yahoo.
But did you know that Google is now including customer reviews and “star” ratings of many companies directly in its search results? This is true not only for service providers like attorneys, doctors and accountants, but also for B2B companies like manufacturers and advertising agencies.
We’re calling these “customer” reviews and ratings, but that’s not always the case. We’ve seen an attorney get a one-star rating (the worst) by someone who admitted in her review that she wasn’t a client, but was instead basing her review on what another attorney told her about the attorney she was reviewing. We’ve also seen a Massachusetts attorney reviewed by a “client” whose address traced to Bangladesh. (Paid by a competitor?)
Even when the review is by an actual customer or client, it’s not necessarily fair. For example, attorney clients who lose a case will often blame their lawyer even when the real problem was the weakness of their case. Clients also may not understand why a case takes so long, often for reasons outside of the attorney’s control, or all the work their attorney has to do behind the scenes.
Similar misunderstandings arise in other industries. This means that the reviews and ratings are often unfair. Also, an unhappy customer is far more likely than a happy customer to post a review, which tends to skew reviews and ratings towards the negative.
Thus the frequent unfairness and general negative bias of these reviews is evident — but not to most people searching for a provider. They’ll skip over providers with a 1 or 2 star rating, and just look at those with a 4 or 5. This means a low rating can be devastating to a provider.
And yet many providers, especially smaller outfits, don’t yet even know they’re being rated. A low rating may be hurting their business on a daily basis, and they may not even know it.
Well, now you know it. And you know its importance.
If you currently have a 1-star or 2-star rating, you have an emergency on your hands. If you have a 3-star rating, you have an issue that requires attention. If you have a 4 or 5-star rating, you have an asset that needs maintenance to protect it. And if you have zero stars (which is better than a 1 or 2 star rating), you still have to keep an eye on it.
All this is part of the growing field of reputation management, a rising need for companies as well as many individuals today. Without it, businesses are failing, some have gone out of business, and others are on their way.
WebGrow has over 20 years experience helping companies build and protect their brand’s reputation.
If you are getting “dissed” in reviews, contact us. We may be able to help.