Skip to content

The importance of online reviews: years to build, minutes to ruin.

I’m sure that most of you agree that we are more likely to make a purchase if others agree that it is a good decision. That shows the power of social proof in the traditional way. In the modern world, online customer reviews have become the biggest source of social proof and have a clear and powerful impact on sales.

My recent experience

For example, I felt like having fish and chips for lunch today while I am on a business trip in Sydney. I went online to check what’s available nearby and find the following two restaurants that offer fish and chips in a similar price range. Which restaurant should I choose? It’s clear enough I’d pick the first restaurant with better customer reviews to increase my chance of having a good dining experience.

What the research says

One of the most interesting findings from recent research is how powerful customer reviews are at building your business’ online identity and creating credibility. Research also shows that many shoppers tend not to trust businesses that have ratings below four starts and businesses with better than average ratings are significantly more likely to see views leading to sales.

While online customer reviews are of paramount importance, it can take years to build up a good rating but may take only a few minutes to have it ruined by unhappy clients.

How my review impacted a business

Let’s take another personal experience as an example. I had a very sore shoulder and neck so I went to a nearby clinic for acupuncture. I told the doctor that my neck and right shoulder are very sore. Not sure if he had a very busy morning or had something else on his mind, but he barely checked my muscles and started to put needles in my left shoulder. I was puzzled by this and asked him why he started on my left shoulder and he replied: oh, I thought you said your left shoulder is sore.

What made my whole experience worse was, the nurse accidentally left three needles on my shoulder at the end of the treatment. I found out only when leaning toward the wall and feeling the pain in my shoulder. They offered a chair for me to rest on and asked if I wanted a cup of water. To which I refused and left in a shock. To let others know how bad my experience was and how unprofessional this clinic is, I immediately went online and left them the lowest rating. A few months later, I surprisingly received the following email from Google saying that my review had been seen over 3,000 times. I was delighted that I successfully shared my experience with others, and at the same time, I hope my review helped the clinic improve its services.

Other than providing an apology and waiving the fees etc., what should the clinic do to save their reputation and stop me, the unhappy client from giving them the bad review? I mean, bad things do happen and what businesses need to do is to intervene and improve. If the clinic gave me a managed link to give them a review, it is very likely I would have taken the bait. Though I might still leave a similar comment, it left space for them to provide follow-up services and try to change or at least improve based on my opinion about their business.

In conclusion, it is not the end of the world if a client has a bad experience with you, but it can be detrimental if you don’t follow up with them and build a steady stream of positive reviews! And lucky enough, when you need a managed review system, RapidReviews is here to help!

Table of Contents