Review Sites – The Necessary Evil

In the era of digitalization, modern consumers have been empowered with the opportunity to put forward their opinions and reviews pertaining to a brand, product or service, or an organization, whether good or bad. While consumer empowerment is considered a success to celebrate, it has often been a tragic to several brands and businesses, tearing apart their reputation, integrity and authority in the market. Prominent user review sites have emerged as the right platform for consumers to put forward their words, and have received overwhelming response for quality recommendations. However, everything has its pros and cons!! Discussed below are the top 3 user review sites that have been making quite a difference on the Internet.

YELP

Yelp is one of the most widely popular online review sites that comprise of quality user-generated reviews. It is one of the largest user review sites on the Internet today, without a wide spanning listing of businesses, brands, products, and services, and their respective customer reviews. However, it is not merely a platform for consumers to present their positive or negative reviews and opinions. Small businesses can open their free business owner’s account on Yelp and claim business listing to reach out and communicate with the customers.

Advantages 

  • It is one the largest user review sites on the Internet, and widely popular for useful consumer recommendations
  • Business owners can create their account on Yelp to establish a strong reputation, interact with customers, and respond to reviews
  • Help the business owners to address the grievances of customers with a bad experience, converting their negative reviews into a positive experience
  • Offers business trend information, enabling the merchants to see how well their business is doing on Yelp

Disadvantages 

  • Reviews on Yelp are typically negative, rude and disingenuous, which can tear apart the reputation of a business
  • Consumers consider reviews on Yelp too seriously, thus, having a strong impact on their buying behavior.

Google+ Local  

While there is confusion between Google Places and Google+, the basic difference is that business owners can update their contact information, hours of operation, and response to user reviews on Google Places, they can’t do the same on Google+ Local.

Advantages 

  • Google+ Local is an integration of all Google+ Services, giving the business owners more tools to communicate with their consumers
  • Maintain Google Places page separately to regularly update business information and responding to customer reviews

Disadvantages 

  • In Google+ Local, you cannot update business information; has to maintain a separate Google Places page for that

FaceBook

Though not a typical user review site, FaceBook is one of the most popular platforms for user reviews and opinions. It also serves as a powerful medium for business owners to connect and interact with their target audience, address their grievances, and convert negative reviews into positive.

Advantages 

  • One of the largest social networking platform for commendable user recommendations and product reviews
  • Functions as a powerful platform for business owners to connect and interact with consumers, presenting their brand or business, and increasing visibility and reputation
  • Respond to customer reviews; address grievances and negative opinions, and convert them into positive experiences

Disadvantages 

It is not a typical user review site, and hence, people rarely use it for putting forward opinions and recommendations as compared to Yelp and Google+

So while there are pros and cons to each review site, it is a necessary evil in conducting business today.  One important factor to consider is reputation management.  While it’s important to acknowledge every compliment and positive feedback you receive for your business it is critical that you pay as close attention to the negative commentary.  Many would say it’s important to recognize those that are providing negative feedback and to offer up a private conversation so you can rectify the situation.  Whatever you do, don’t ignore those comments, treat them with kit gloves so your adversaries turn into advocates.