Igniyte has been working with consumer-facing customers for a number of years guiding them on how to deal with online commentary about their company or brand. Due to the authority of some review websites and forum platforms online, online marketers are having to deal with negative conversations appearing for searches of their company and brand name terms.
The survey of 1,000 UK business owners was commissioned by Igniyte in February 2015 and was conducted by OnePoll, the new findings are compiled in The Business of Reviews Report which you can download for free here, you can also see them summarised in The Business of Reviews infographic.
British bosses say malicious reviews and comments – as well targeting by trolls, are now a major commercial concern, costing one in five companies £30,000 a year to manage.
According the research, more than half (51%) of 1,000 UK businesses questioned have been directly affected by malicious online content in the past year alone, and the problem is getting worse.
The Business of Reviews – key findings
- An overwhelming 75% of businesses say online reviews, comments and forum posts are extremely important to the financial and reputational status of their business, but 17% worry that unfair negative posts could destroy their enterprise completely.
- Another 76% are concerned about the influence of malicious postings on new generation, third-party review sites, where consumers are prompted to report a ‘bad service’.
- As a result, managers are making online review and reputation strategies a priority and firms are paying more attention to digital conversations than ever before, spending an average of eight hours per week monitoring activity, with this figure expected to rise this year to 20 hours.
- Last year, 30% of the UK companies quizzed spent £20,000 dealing with the fallout from negative online postings, while another 18% spent £30,000 trying to put things right.
- This year, 23% of businesses are budgeting £10,000 and 33% plan to spend £20,000 – a rise in spend of 3% from last year.
“All companies should be referring to review websites and forums to form customer service strategies and to understand what their customers actually think about their products and services.
“These platforms give consumers a much needed voice. But while businesses of all kinds welcome the opportunity to gather feedback, a growing number are falling victim to unjustified negative content online and the effect can be devastating.” Caroline Skipsey, Director, Igniyte
Many companies feel helpless but there are ways to put things right. Igniyte works with clients to create the kind of strong online reputations that can withstand this type of unjustified negativity. While, in some situations Igniyte works in partnership with legal teams to challenge and remove content on behalf of companies, executives and individuals.
Unfortunately this isn’t a problem that is going to go away – for modern businesses, developing an effective strategy for dealing with online reviews is a must.
Igniyte undertakes review and forum strategies for a number of clients, which can help to:
- Align marketing and customer services departments together. Reviews can often be complaints that need to be dealt with quickly and to the customer’s satisfaction.
- Challenge unsubstantiated claims and defamatory content with relevant legislation.
- Develop relationships with the review platforms and sign up to their services where relevant to your business.
- Tracking re-occurring issues are important, if they aren’t dealt with operationally – a company will be susceptible to reviews of a similar nature ongoing.
- Address and respond to comments online where possible. Don’t leave open negative comments online about your business, but don’t air long conversations or “heated debates” to an online audience.