There’s an equally important variation of the question, “What are your customers saying online about your business?”
It goes like this: “What are non-customers saying online about your business?”
It might do business owners some good to be asking themselves both questions. These days, thanks to sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Amazon, and Foursquare, virtually anyone can write and share their opinions and reviews of pretty much every category of product or service. And yes, this includes people who haven’t even bought the product or service in question.
Newly released research by consulting company YouGov reveals that as much as 21 percent of Americans who have left reviews on the Internet did so without even buying or trying what they reviewed. When asked why, the fake reviewers gave a wide array of reasons:
- 32 percent said they did so because they just “felt like it”;
- 22 percent said they did not like the idea of the product;
- 19 percent said they did not like the manufacturer or service.
(Check out: “8 Awesome Tips on How to Handle Bad Online Reviews”)
The study is based on the responses of over 1,100 respondents chosen as representative of the US adult population.
It’s kind of ridiculous to think that consumers would share reviews and opinions of something they know nothing about. Right? And this also adds to the growing problem of fake online reviews, which review sites and regulators are already fighting back against very aggressively. (See here, here, and here.)
In any event, you as a business owner have to take on a more proactive role in addressing this problem, too. And it’s more critical than ever that you continue to be vigilant, and to find effective ways to monitor and manage online reviews across the Web. Good or bad, fair or not, real or fake, reviews can’t be ignored.
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