Nutrition Firms: How to Deal with a Bad Online Review

July 2, 2015

A bad online review doesn’t have to hurt-that is, if a nutrition firm already has a recovery strategy in place.

A bad online review doesn’t have to hurt-that is, if a nutrition firm already has a recovery strategy in place.

Health and wellness businesses today face a hard truth: the Internet never forgets. Take negative online reviews. While a negative review can be completely unsubstantiated, any thumbs-down from a consumer-or a series of consumers-nevertheless lives forever online and, consequently, has potential to erode profits forever. So it’s best for a dietary supplement or healthy food/beverage company to craft a detailed strategy well in advance for how to tackle the problem head-on.

Because there’s no denying the power that online reviews leverage. “It used to be that word-of-mouth marketing from trusted friends and neighbors solely influenced a business’s ability to grow,” says Jerry Bures, owner, Ascend Marketing Solutions, whose clients include the nutrition sector. “Now, more and more, consumers are trusting of online reviews from perfect strangers as much as personal recommendations from people they know, especially among younger consumers,” he says. “So, to the degree that nutrition industry businesses execute flawless customer service, they will be able to influence positive opinions online by satisfied customers and the sharing of those opinions with a larger audience.”

Copywriter Pam Magnuson, who also provides marketing services to the nutrition industry, says that online reviews provide customers with something tangible. “Customers like to see proof,” she says. “Proof builds credibility, and that leads to confidence in the buyer’s mind.”

Indeed, according to a BrightLocal study, 88% of consumers surveyed said they read reviews to size up a local business. Moreover, 67% of those surveyed said they read up to six reviews to fully assess a business. “The significance of these stats is that it sets a benchmark for the number of positive reviews that [consumers feel they] need,” says Myles Anderson, BrightLocal’s CEO. “With 85% of consumers reading 10 or fewer reviews, we need to ensure that we have at least 10 reviews to satisfy them-but more importantly that the most recent 10 reviews are all positive.”

Of course, the easiest way to head off a bad-mouthing from customers is to solve the problem before it happens. Generally, consumers often contact a business with a grievance before resorting to a flaming rant online.

One of the easiest ways to put out antennae for this kind of customer is to send an auto-generated e-mail after each purchase or service, asking the customer how your business did and volunteering to solve any misunderstandings or mishaps.

Solve the problem at this juncture, experts say, and you’ll be dealing with someone who does not yet feel he or she is past the point of resolution and wards them off of eyeing the keyboard with fantasies of vengeance.

Of course, even with this tactic, some bad reviews will still slip through, threatening to permanently damage a supplement firm’s online reputation. At this point, marketing experts who serve the dietary supplement and health and wellness fields recommend the following best practices:

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Photo © iStockphoto.com/PashaIgnatov

 

Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.