Many consumers depend on reviews to guide their purchase decisions, but they may be running into fake reviews more often than they know. PC Magazine reports that an average of 39 percent of online reviews may have falsified information in them, with some business and product categories having particularly egregious numbers. Your business needs an action plan to address these reviews to avoid negative consequences.
The Impacts of Fake Reviews on Your Business
Fake reviews make it difficult for potential customers to know the truth about your products or services. Several of the ways that they create problems include:
- Providing inaccurate information: The reviewer may discuss details that have nothing to do with your offerings, or they could make up their experience.
- Setting incorrect expectations: New customers may expect something entirely outside of the scope of your business. They could end up choosing the wrong product or service for their needs.
- Decreasing consumer trust in real reviews for your business: Every fake review casts a shadow on the rest of your reviews. When you’ve spent a lot of time building up great reviews from your customers, this situation is frustrating.
- Driving customers to your competition: If the fake reviews lower your rating enough, or have lots of incorrect details, then your potential customers may look for other options. The lower rankings could also make it more difficult to appear in the search results of online review directories and similar websites.
- Damaging your company’s reputation: If enough people believe the fake reviews, your business could have a public relations crisis on your hands
Signs of Fake Reviews
So how do you tell which of your reviews are fake? You need to closely examine both the review and the profile of the person writing it for this process.
In the review, look for:
- A lack of detail
- Listing of specific factual information about your product, such as the feature list or measurements
- Limited anecdotal information about using your product or serviceSpelling and grammar issues
- Extreme opinions, either positive or negative
- Smaller in size than your average review
If you’re unsure whether a review is legitimate based on its text, dig deeper into the reviewer’s online information. Some directories have profiles that you can look at. Problematic attributes of reviews can include:
- Blank profiles
- Stock image photographs
- Generic names
- Completely new profiles
- Profiles with a single review
Some fake review indicators you can observe as trends across multiple reviews include:
- Identical phrasing in the review text from different reviewers
- Reviews published within a relatively short period
Why You Need to Address Fake Reviews Head On
You should respond to every review for your business, even those that are obviously fake. You can mitigate a significant amount of the damage that fake reviews cause when you make it clear that you read all feedback.
Your response gives you the opportunity to include accurate information about your product or service, set appropriate customer expectations for the experience, and show potential customers that you’re willing to address negative feedback.
If your actual customers have problems in the future, they trust that you’ll reach out to make things right. A professional and measured response to fake reviews also helps consumers know which reviews they should consider when they’re making purchase decisions.
How to Respond to Real and Fake Reviews in a Timely Manner
Responding to a handful of fake reviews per week is one thing, but what happens when you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands? You end up in a rapidly unsustainable situation, and the longer fake reviews stay up without a response, the more damage they can do. Customers with legitimate issues also fall through the cracks, making them even more upset with your business.
Hiring additional staff to help with your reputation management is one option, but you can still easily end up with a workload that’s practically impossible to tackle manually. A reputation management platform like Retention360 is a technology-driven way to fix this problem at scale.
Instead of going to each online review source, you use Retention360 as a centralized platform. You’re better able to stay on top of what’s being said about you, and you can manage all of your reviews in one place. It’s designed as a one-on-one customer feedback platform, so you can deliver a personalized interaction for each review.
In addition to responding to fake reviews quickly, you can also collect, track, and analyze your customer feedback in real-time, filter feedback based on specific incidence, manage feedback for multiple locations, and offer diverse feedback options.
Don’t let fake reviews ruin the reputation you’ve spent so much time building. Get your policies and procedures in place to address this ever-growing problem, and ensure that you can handle it at scale with the right technology.