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Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force by Rob Fuggetta

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Chapter 17

Energizing: Boosting Online Ratings

Negative online reviews kill sales and damage your cherished reputation. Even a couple of bad reviews can stop shoppers dead in their tracks:

  • It only takes between one and three bad online reviews to deter the majority (67 percent) of shoppers from purchasing a product or service, according to a Lightspeed Research study.
  • Travelers are three times less likely to book a hotel with three stars compared to one with five stars, says market researchers Morpace.
  • 80 percent of consumers change their mind after reading a bad review, according to a survey by Cone, a Boston-based strategy and communications agency.

Silent Killers

You don't know how many sales you're losing from bad reviews. It's probably a lot more than you think. People don't call you after reading a negative review to tell you they've decided not to buy your smartphone, eat at your restaurant, or stay at your hotel. They just take their dollars elsewhere.

Or even worse, they spread more negative WOM about you by telling their friends and co-workers about the nasty reviews. “I wouldn't eat at that restaurant. I read about it on Yelp. It sucks.”

Dumb Ideas

Stung by negative reviews, some companies have tried apologizing, paying people to write positive reviews, or even suing Detractors.

John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods Market, used a fictional identity on Yahoo message boards for nearly eight years to criticize competitors and tout his company's stock. Mackey used the online ...

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