Where would we be without customer reviews? The importance that customer reviews play in the success of startups, sole traders and SMEs cannot be overstated. In a world where more business is being conducted online and customers are prompted to review their recent experience, what they post can make or break a business.
Reviews are great for understanding customers and improving customer service. They are an important ranking factor in local searches and help smaller business compete against their bigger rivals. And probably most importantly of all, reviews provide credibility and social proof. Trust is a vital factor before making any buying decision. If you don’t trust a company you won’t spend money with them. Conversely, if you do, then you may enjoy a harmonious long-term relationship.
Research carried out by Dixa reveal that 93% of customers read online reviews before purchasing. Alarmingly only 47% will share the news of a positive experience compared to a whopping 95% agreeing to share their negative experience.
I always look at reviews if I am buying something online or booking a table at a restaurant. I do take each one with a pinch of salt – no pun intended - and accept the fact that every business will have some disgruntled customers. However, if there are too many negative comments I will spend my money elsewhere.
But what if the reviews we are relying on to make a purchase decision are fake? Look online now and there are numerous stories about the escalation in fake reviews. Commerce is a cutthroat world and companies have been adding their own reviews to give an overinflated impression of their products and services. While some even go as far to sully their competitors by posting negative reviews. You hear about displeased customers complaining about a recent dining experience only to see the owner of the business confirm that this serial complainer never came to their restaurant and lives hundreds of miles away.
Amazon fight back
This issue isn’t only affecting small independent businesses, it has hit the biggest of corporations. Amazon made the headlines with scammers flooding their online marketplace with false or inaccurate reviews. Although Amazon is a pioneer of product reviews and has always prohibited fake reviews, some reports suggest up to 40% of reviews were fake.
The behemoth has dedicated significant resources to combat the problem and employs 12,000 staff worldwide protecting stores from fraud and abuse – this includes fake reviews. Amazon has reported more than 10,000 fake review groups to Meta, which were identified by their investigative team, across various social media sites including Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.
Trustpilot is protecting it’s platform
Even the consumer review platform Trustpilot has suffered from fake review scandals. In the past couple of years Trustpilot has taken down more than 2.7 million fake reviews. The consumer platform has invested significantly in the latest fraud and anomaly detection software to speed up and bolster the process of identifying, barring and eliminating fake reviews.
Trustpilot’s transparency report revealed that public warning banners at the top of businesses’ profile pages increased by four hundred percent to just over 2,600 in 2021.They also sent 1,425 “cease and desist” letters to “bad actor” businesses, which was an increase of almost 40% on the previous year. CEO and founder of Trustpilot, Peter Muhlmann was quoted as saying: “Any attempts to manipulate and undermine confidence in our platform cannot and will not be tolerated.”
With ratings and reviews so important for businesses across all sectors, it is reassuring to know that action is being taken to fight back against the scammers and resolve the issue.
Only verified reviews at Business Butler
Thankfully, here at Business Butler you can be assured that all reviews on the platform are authentic because only verified customers are able to post reviews. Customers are contacted within a fortnight of their appointment and the average net promoter scores are on each expert’s profile page, clearly visible for prospects to view.
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