Let me be honest. I realize that I may be touching a nerve by writing this article, but I believe people should know the truth. In no way am I trying to say that what my business does is better or worse than other businesses; it’s simply what we choose to do. I came across some statistics that you need to know about! So let’s discuss online reviews and the major impact they have on businesses, as well as what some businesses do with the review system. That being said, there’s a dirty little secret with wedding vendors and really, many businesses out there. The online reviews aren’t always what they seem.
When people are trying to pick the right DJ, photo booth, planner, or any vendor for their wedding, party or event, most people will do research and read online reviews. Online reviews are today’s “word of mouth” advertising. In fact, nearly 100% of consumers (92%) read online reviews when considering a purchase. Also, 88% of consumers incorporate online reviews when making a purchase decision. Most importantly, an online star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business!
I’ll be honest, whenever my wife and I travel, and we are looking for restaurants, hotels, or entertainment options, we usually go with the highest star-rated business and read a few reviews, first. If it’s food, we always choose a restaurant that has 4 stars or more, and we read at least 4-5 recent reviews. On average, consumers read at least 10 different sources before making a purchase. Yes, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment options are different from the DJ business, but the same logic applies. Let’s face it, DJs and wedding/event vendors in general, aren’t cheap. So when you’re asking someone to give you hundreds, even thousands of dollars for your service, your reputation really matters!
So what happens with businesses that have less than a 4 star rating? Do they just lower their prices and try to stay in business? Some may do this. I know for a fact in our market, Austin/central Texas, I know a few wedding vendors who have done a few things to “beat” the online review system. We’ve been around long enough to know nearly every wedding vendor in our market. We’ve seen DJs/DJ companies get bad reviews, which obviously affects their business. Anything less than a 4 star rating definitely hurts business! Only 57% of consumers would use a business with a 3 star rating! That means if you have a 3 star rating, more than half of possible clients will choose to not book with you!
So what do businesses with poor ratings do? Many have simply “closed” their business on Yelp, Facebook, or other sites, and renamed their business to something new, to start over with reviews. They won’t change staff, management, ownership, etc. Is it illegal? No. Is it the right thing to do? Maybe in terms of staying in business and making money, sure, but it’s also deceiving.
We’ve also seen many companies pay their clients to maintain a good status. Many companies will offer a huge refund to their clients, in exchange for removing a bad review. Other companies offer a large financial incentive, for their clients to leave only positive reviews. These practices aren’t wrong by any means, but they definitely provide skewed results. We get it. Online reputation is very important and the better your reputation, the more money you make. Whatever a business chooses to do, there’s no overlooking the fact that good reviews are vital to any business.
This is part 1 of 2, of my writing on this subject. Check out part 2, next week, to learn more info and find out more about ways to respond to a negative review and how to overcome negative reviews. I’ll write about what we’ve actually done in this case (yes, no business is immune to negative feedback). If you want to read where I got the stats, above, read 50 Stats You Need to Know About Online Reviews.