Bright Local's Consumer Review Survey, an annual report that was first released in 2010, explores how consumers behave around online reviews for businesses, and the factors that influence their decisions to use a business.
Regarding big tech, online reviews and consumer opinion, the latest edition, finds:
The presence of fake reviews appears to be eroding the overall trust in reviews on these sites and on the internet in general.
BrightLocal's Head of Content and author of the research, Jamie Pitman, said: "It's clear that fake reviews are playing a part in the diminishing trust in some of the world's largest tech companies. This makes things particularly hard for both businesses and consumers as both have to be ever-vigilant around the reviews they read and factor into their customer service or purchase decision."
She added, "The research reveals that more consumers than ever use reviews to evaluate local businesses. 98% of consumers looked at reviews for local businesses in 2021, compared to 87% in 2020. It's clear that more needs to be done by the large companies that house fake reviews to stamp them out and regain consumer trust, especially during such a long period of uncertainty being felt the world over."
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Building trust with customers is essential and a necessary part of an ethical marketplace. It is also key to boosting loyalty and ultimately your bottom line. Businesses and consumers benefit from genuine customer reviews because it helps them make informed decisions about where to spend their dollars and gives businesses a chance to improve or maintain their reputation. Customer trust is dependent on a company’s ability to tap into the human experience and form an emotional connection with customers by displaying thoughtfulness, openness, honesty, and reliability. Reviews offer a chance to address shortcomings and rebuild trust.
Bad reviews can happen to any brand it is how your company responds that matters. Potential customers are not just reading what others have to say about your business; they also read how you reply to that feedback.
Here are some tips for handling consumer trust issues related to your business:
1) Make outstanding customer service a priority Both sales and support teams can develop customer trust by establishing high service standards. Delivering unique experiences by personalizing interactions with your customers will make consumers feel more engaged. Businesses that take the information they have about them and use it to improve their experience will leave a lasting impression. From using their preferred method of engagement or offering specific recommendations based on their prior purchases, these good impressions are invaluable to building loyalty, trust and a sterling online reputation.
2) Respond promptly to negative reviews. Prospective customers consider the newest reviews to be the most relevant and accurate, and they could interpret a lack of response as a business's lack of interest in a customer's concerns. Consistently check reviews on various websites, so you can quickly respond to negative comments, but it is also important to respond to positive reviews, as that shows appreciation.
3) Be respectful when responding to negative comments. You should avoid making denials or excuses, even if you have a different viewpoint. Recognize their concerns, apologize for the error, and demonstrate that you value customer feedback as an opportunity for you to improve.
4) Be sure to claim your business profiles. Claiming your profiles on as many platforms as possible will allow you to respond to comments and reviews. On certain platforms, managing your profile includes being able to appeal negative reviews.
5) Tell the customer how to contact you. Responding online is important, but it can feel impersonal for the customer. When you talk to a customer one on one, they'll know that you genuinely listened to their concerns. This also gives your company a chance to reach a resolution that makes both you and the customer satisfied.
6) Encourage customers to leave reviews on Trustpilot, Google and BBB.org. Customers can post feedback about marketplace experiences with businesses, brands, and charities. Trustpilot, Google and BBB.org reviews can be verified and responded to by your business’ team members and in the case of the Better Business Bureau may be sent to the business before they are published online.
7) Concentrate on an emotional connection over a transactional one to improve customer trust. Put your most empathetic foot forward because customers increasingly want empathy from companies. To establish and deepen those connections with your customers, become familiar with their needs, respect their opinions, and practice responsiveness. In the digital age with increased accessibility, you can be sure people will see your genuine and compassionate approach.
After facing legal class action suit for selling misleading subscriptions to small and medium sized business in February of last year, the business review platform is suing a London Immigration company. Global Migrate is accused of posting more than 700 fake reviews. The suit filed in London County court seeking equitable remedy and compensatory damages.
It has been alleged that Trustpilot allows businesses to pay them to access its marketing services and use Trustpilot technology to filter reviews, selecting favorable posts that customers may place on their own website or other places. Trustpilot published fake reviews for Bizzyloans but deleted them after they were brought to light by KwikChex, an online investigations company. Trustpilot denies that it permits any known fraudulent reviews on its site.
Global Migrate is said to have “failed to respond to repeated enforcement action to end the abuse of its platform.” Trustpilot is seeking monetary damages and injunction preventing other fake reviews. The suit also alleges breach of contract which expressly forbids fake or altered reviews. If successful, Trustpilot will donate the proceeds of monetary damages to consumer rights groups.
“Anyone trying to misuse reviews to potentially mislead consumer opinion will be held accountable,” according to Carolyn Jameson, Trustpilot Chief Trust Officer. She added, "Trustpilot exists to build trust between businesses and consumers, which is why our rules are so important. In order to protect consumers and help ensure they are able to shop with confidence, we are increasing our enforcement strategy - it is the right, and necessary, thing to do."
Taimur Jawed, director of Visa Embassy Limited the alternate name for Global Migrate did not respond to an invitation to comment. Trustpilot stated that in 2020 it removed more than 2.2 million fake reviews, amounting to more than one in 20 of all reviews submitted to the site that year. It said it had also invested in technologies to detect anomalous reviews and automate detection, as well as introducing a function for users to verify their accounts.
More about TrustPilot Marketing Assets
Trustpilot’s Marketing assets are official, downloadable and ready-made graphics, logos, and templates. to showcase your company's good reviews.