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In the age of technology, online reviews are often the deciding factor for prospective customers. For instance, online statistics website Qualtrics found that 93% of consumers reported online reviews impacted their purchasing decisions. What happens when the good intention of online reviews goes awry?


Thew Brewing Company received backlash in the form of negative online reviews in August 2019 after hosting fundraising events for an LGBTQ organization. The brewery held two drag shows in support of Tanager Place LGBTQ Youth Center. The first drag show was for people over 21, and after many teens who attended the center shared their interest, the brewery held an all-ages bingo drag show. 


Once word about the shows spread, online reviews began flooding in, most of them displaying disapproval of the company’s LGBTQ support and events. Thew Brewing’s dedicated regulars took note and began posting positive reviews and recommendations on the company’s Facebook page. In just two hours the brewery received 24 positive reviews and 16 negative reviews. 


Many of the negative reviews were dishonest; however, they still had an impact on the company’s overall rating. Unfortunately, many other companies have been the subject of false reviews, and some companies have even taken legal action, like this business owner in Forest Lake, Minnesota. Luckily, Thew Brewing had the support of its regular customers and other individuals to combat some of the negative backlash. 


Online review sites are a platform for honest and helpful reviews of companies. Is it OK to use them to show disappointment or disagreement with a company’s business practices? If you’re disappointed in a company’s services, then a negative review is acceptable. However, reviewers shouldn’t tarnish a company’s image if they’ve never done business with the establishment. Negative reviews can be detrimental to an organization. Thew Brewing was able to recover from its negative reviews. Would your company recover from something similar?


Your reputation and reviews are a big part of how customers decide to do business with your company. ReviewMaxer can help your company build a positive online presence. Schedule a demo today!


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Reviews can have a measurable impact on your company, both good and bad.


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Luxury skincare company Sunday Riley settled with the Federal Trade Commission after an accusation that it had been posting fake online reviews to Sephora’s website for years.

A user on Reddit exposed the company back in October 2018. The whistleblower was allegedly an employee at Sunday Riley and posted an email from an executive in the company encouraging employees to post fake positive reviews on Sephora’s website. Employees used a VPN so their computers were untraceable. The company also requested that employees dislike any negative reviews, because with enough dislikes, Sephora would remove the negative reviews.

Many skincare brands don’t test their products long enough to have solid scientific evidence that they work, so they rely on online reviews to build brand recognition and loyalty. What Sunday Riley did was deceptive and unethical. Companies should earn authentic positive reviews from customers.

What brands can learn from this

Sunday Riley should have focused on reaching out to customers instead of its employees to write reviews. The brand has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media as well as customer emails it could market to. Additionally, since the focus was on obtaining online reviews, Sunday Riley could have posted signs in stores asking for feedback on review sites including Sephora.

From this scandal brands can learn that customer service should come before reviews. By giving the best experience possible to a customer, good reviews will flow in on their own. And ReviewMaxer can help make that happen.

What consumers can learn from this

Customers are getting better at evaluating the credibility of online reviews. Buying a product based on glowing reviews and then finding out it was all a lie is infuriating. Ultimately, when companies try to trick consumers, it turns them into smarter shoppers. Consumers should learn not to trust reviews at face value and how to spot when a review is fake, so in the future, they can find a brand they can trust.


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