Florida Business: Don’t Post Fake Reviews

From insurance to restaurant reviews, nearly everything can be purchased online. The wide availability of products online has also shaped something completely different. Online review sites such as Yelp or Trip Advisor can make a huge difference in a restaurant’s traffic, or a business’ leads.

Here’s a summary by Venture Beat of the clout online reviews have in consumer purchase behavior:

  • A one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue. (source: Michael Luca, Harvard Business School)
  • Seventy percent of global consumers trust online reviews, an increase of 15 percent in four years (source: Nielsen).
  • 80 percent of consumers change their mind after reading a single bad review. (source: Cone Communications).
  • Once negative review can cost you 30 customers. (source: Convergys).
  • 7 in 10 people who read reviews share them with friends, family, and colleagues, only further amplifying their impact. (source: Deloitte & Touche)

Because of the value of online reviews, some companies are fluffing up their reviews a bit, creating fake ones in hopes of boosting their online reputations. Do NOT adopt that approach. Review sites have strict policies on writing false reviews, and the repercussion could cause more harm than good. Yelp will post a consumer alert on a business page that posts a phony alert. Trip Advisor will penalize a Florida business or hotel review in the site’s rankings, and may even post a message alerting the millions of travelers who follow them what they’ve found. It could cost you a significant reduction in site traffic and even customers.

It is a difficult balancing act. Dissatisfied customers are sometimes more inclined to write a damaging review, and your online reviews may not be an accurate representation of the great service you provide. Encourage customers to post reviews of your Florida business by posting the links on your website. Make sure your top advocates (satisfied customers) can easily post a review. The easier it is, the more likely they will take the time.

Above all, make sure you only have honest reviews. Authenticity and transparency is key in social media, and consumers are quick to slam companies who don’t adhere to those standards. It could do your company much more harm than good.

At Newman Crane, we have Florida business insurance plans to protect your retail operation from a number of potential losses, including liability and property damage. Contact us today for more information about our Florida Retail Insurance programs.