In the online world, there’s a lot to absorb. When it comes to finding new restaurants, home service companies, or skin care products, we often turn to online reviews to guide our decisions. If something is rated on a lower scale, roughly three stars or less, a lot of users will think of the place, product, or service as subpar and look for other alternatives. On the other hand, if the rating is super high, users will flock simply because other people have loved it too. While reviews can certainly be helpful, they can lead a lot of folks astray. Fake reviews are rampant online and it can be hard to deduce what is real and what is fake in an evaluation these days. A large majority of consumers turn to reviews to guide their final decision, so you can see how maintaining a high review rating online puts a lot of pressure on businesses to keep the positive reviews flowing in. Sadly, businesses will turn to flooding their review sections with fake positive reviews to maintain an edge online. Not only does this give customers a false impression but it also makes your business and brand appear untrustworthy after the fact. With so much fake content flooding the internet these days, let’s take a look at a few reasons why your business should stand against it.
Short-term Gains Won’t Be Enough
Fake reviews may contribute to an initial boon in business, but if your general rating is a lie then the long-term risk you run is fairly high. For one, it builds consumer expectation up to a place where it may be difficult to meet. After all, the greater the expectation is, the greater the disappointment will be when they realize your business wasn’t as up to snuff as they thought. It also creates momentum that isn’t easily sustained. Consumers who expected to be dazzled, but weren’t, will leave negative reviews that will impact your false rating. This will cause your briefly high rating to fall and likely lead to posting more false reviews, which is only going to make things worse.
It’s All About Trust
Much like any solid romantic relationship, the connection between brand and consumer must be based on trust. If a consumer feels slighted by their chosen brand, the brand runs the risk of consumer backlash or losing the customer entirely. If customers realize your reviews are a sham, they will find other alternatives and likely more trustworthy companies. Once you breach consumer trust, it’s hard to get it back. Regardless of what service your business provides, not every customer is going to be happy. It’s impossible to put a smile on everyone’s face or turn every customer into a loyal one. However, reviews are there to reflect the positive and negative aspects of your business, not paint it as the end all be all service.
Touching on a previously made point, reviews are important when it comes to painting your business as realistic and not perfect. After all, if you comb the web often and look at reviews, it can be a bit of a red flag if all a company seems to have is five-star reviews. While they all might be authentic, it can make users initially hopeful and wary all at once. If your business receives organic positive, middle ground, and negative reviews, it helps consumers paint a full picture of your service. Even businesses that provide consistently stellar services have had their share of troubled and unhappy customers. No one online is asking for your business to be perfect, but what they are looking for is an accurate representation of your services and a business they can trust to fulfill their needs.
In the world of online reviews, the pressure to rank above your competitors is incredibly high. But, turning to fake reviews isn’t the answer to your problems. Approach your review rating realistically and, if you notice they aren’t what you’re hoping for, use them to see where you can improve your business. Reviews are meant to keep everyone honest, not lead consumers astray for a brief business boost.