Research indicates that consumers believe reviews posted online as the second most trusted source of information about a business next to having someone tell them about it using word-of-mouth. (Nielsen Trust Study). But for some reason, a number of businesses want to try and game the system. They are even willing to pay for it.
We see too many companies on the Internet touting Reputation Management. They claim they can sweep bad reviews (we call them remarks) under the rug and out of site of Internet shoppers. The problem is that a Car Dealer, Dentist, Lawyer, Doctor or Real Estate Broker may get away with this for a short while but if you get caught… if the company that you hire, isn’t 100% on the up-and-up… your listings will be removed.
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. ~ Benjamin Franklin
According to recent research in the auto industry: “89 percent of car buyers read reviews online before purchasing a vehicle” (DealerRater Study). This can be a near death experience for a dealer who gets caught trying to fudge the numbers.
Recently Edmonds.com, the prestigious automobile site caught a company doing this, is now suing them and has removed all reviews from the 25 auto dealers it caught using their service. And from this point forward, any reviews from those dealerships will now be suspect.
In the Real Estate field, a study just released by NAR indicates that: “The most important factor in choosing an agent is their reputation.”
In every field this is happening. I am doing some research into the Financial Advisor industry and have found a number of studies that are supporting this same premise…Accenture found recently that: Of the 4,000 FA Consultants they interviewed accross the board, ~75% of them answered that working with social media to engage their clients has lead to an increase in client transactions, client retention and increase in assets under management.
And another study by Cogent Research says; “Seven out of ten wealthy investors who use social media for investment research have either have changed their relationship with an investment provider or reallocated actual investments because of something they read on social media.” Read Cogent Research study here.
Playing with fire is exactly that – eventually you will get burned. Trying to buy your way out of or ignoring a bad situation is never going to work. Understand how important social media has become to your customers… even if you don’t use these tools yourself – they do!
The funny part about all this is that the little bit of extra work it takes to solicit positive reviews will more than offset any negative reviews anyone gets. All businesses get negative reviews… but it takes work to ask for and get positive reviews. Consumers are not wired to automatically write positive reviews. But often they will when asked.
Are you asking your customers about how they feel about you?
Look at www.remarking.it for guidance and further blog posts about Social Media Remark Management.