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Reviews: A Close Look at the Recommendation Culture

Lucas Shaffer - June 14, 2011 - 0 comments

I know what you are thinking. How can a generation of online tools and closely interconnected communities NOT change culture?  Right?!  🙂

We tend to forget that each of us possess the natural tendency to let everyone know we do not like something.  What’s worse is that a large majority of those people are shy or introverted.  That means that even though they do not want to make a scene and profess their unhappiness they are burning inside. Nothing makes this more evident then the accumulation of hate reviews on the web.  In particular, Facebook Reviews are the most convenient.  What I mean by convenient is that by the time you have read this line you have already checked your News Feed twice.  I did say I knowwhat you are thinking…

The glory of the semi-non-confrontational post to a website (including Facebook) is less evasive and becoming the norm.  PowerReviews states that ‘the value of a positive review shared to Facebook is $15.72.’  I believe them.  PowerReviews is the industry leader is understanding the way consumers think.  They work in the social commerce journey devouring stats and making them readily available [case-studies] to the inquiring mind.

“70% of all reviews shared to Facebook spur further interaction through Comments or Likes”
– PowerReviews INFOGRAPHIC

The Negative

If PowerReviews is right, and I think they are, then the expense of a negative review is actually a reduction from the overall value. Depreciation at it’s most dangerous.  In the past, you could simply deny the accusation and hope that the frailty of your relationships from ‘word of mouth’ wavered in your favor.  This is not true anymore.  Everyone sees everything if they chose to; especially online reviews.  The same story told over and over and over is, in the end….the same story.  Your biggest fault displayed for everyone to see.  This is the reality for small business and big business alike.

It’s not all that bad though.  The game is not over.  Your ability to turn a negative review into a positive experience is always the best approach.  Take the hits on the chin and do better next time.  It counts more for principle.  Erasing the comment or ignoring it is not an option anymore.

Take The Black Cow for example.  Response to the review was critical.


In an attempt to respond, a representative of The Black Cow gives clarity to the issue and shows how it has been responded to.  Bravo!

The Positive

I recently had a client mention they do not like review sites because they are always filled with negative reviews.  I agreed and went on to mention that the would-be positive reviewer sometimes forgets to say thank you.  Review sites are abound because people will seek out to leave a negative review without a moments notice.  What are you doing to capture the positive review while it is hot and fresh on the mind? You can simply ask.  Or you can devise a strategy dedicated to capture these moments of consumer bliss.

Not all of us could be as lucky as the Wood Stone Restaurant’s reviews on Facebook.  I have a feeling there is more than meets the eye here.  😉  Out of 13 reviews…all 13 were 5/5 stars.  Cheers to you.  🙂  I do not think this ‘just happened’.

What are they doing differently than you?

The Results

The ultimate goal is to create enough positive momentum that the negative comments are overshadowed by the sheer volume of great reviews.  They do exist.  You should go after them.

“71% of recent respondents say reviews from friends and family exert the single greatest influence on their buying decisions”
– Booz & Co., 2011

At Stand And Stretch, we can build a plan of attack to grab these reviews using simple things like the Facebook Review Application (which you should add to your Page now) and point your customers here when they have a great experience.  Other sites like Yelp.com or TripAdvisor.com can be your best friends with benefits when the shift of sentiment goes from negative (or worse, neutral) to positive.

The Conclusion

It is often this important factor in the consumer experience that is left to the dagger wielding shy-types.  Our new culture of referrals and recommendations have staying power and can not be shrugged off as common misunderstandings. We can see your worst and directly from the source.  Understanding that it is your responsibility to engage the negative and cultivate the positive is a step in the right direction.

When can help you discover the many avenues to encourage positive growth for your review site.  For if you have more negative reviews than positive you would not be in business very long.  Right?  🙂


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