Online reviews are a great way for customers to find your business and get recommendations from your customers, but they are a double edged sword for many small businesses. According to Nielsen, 70% of consumers say online reviews are among the most trusted source of information and 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.
I’ve written before that Yelp is not a small business owner’s friend, and that remains true. Yelp is not on the business owner’s side should there be a dispute over a review, but they still seek business owner’s advertising dollars as their business model. Conflict? Yep.
While it can be frustrating to see a business you pour your heart into get negative reviews, there are right ways and wrong ways to address negative reviews. One hotel in New York is learning the hard way how not to navigate online reviews.
The Union Street Guest House, which hosts weddings and events, has a clause in its reservation policy stating that $500 of a couple’s deposit would be held for every bad review from their event’s attendees. (Mashable)
We often talk with clients about how to encourage reviews and how to get close to the line of soliciting a good review while maintaining the overall integrity of the online reviews they receive. We also work with them on a strategy to respond quickly to negative reviews and threatening to charge them a penalty for a negative review is not a recommendation.