Danger of Negative Word-of-Mouth (WOM)

August 06, 2020

Word-of-mouth marketing is undoubtedly important for every business, large and small. However, the saying that all press is good press is not true. Negative WOM is very damaging to a brand’s reputation and bottom line, especially when the brand in question is an “underdog.”

The effects of negative WOM marketing

WOM marketing relies on first-hand accounts of a person’s experience with a business. First-hand accounts are immediately more credible than typical marketing, as consumers do not get paid to leave reviews. Brands use positive testimonials to attract new customers for this reason. However, whereas positive reviews increase trust and influence purchases, negative reviews have an adverse effect. Below are just a few ways NWOM can undermine the results from all other marketing efforts.

Change in attitude toward a brand

According to the findings from a study conducted by a University of New Orleans, consumers’ attitudes toward a brand are adversely impacted by negative reviews. The study focused on both “top dogs” and “underdogs.” While both big and small businesses saw a negative impact from public criticism, the underdogs suffered more from bad press than larger corporations. Additionally, participants’ perceived brand value decreased when they were presented with negative information about a company. Again, the drop was more significant for small brands than large ones.

What is interesting is that positive reviews had little to no effect on participants’ perceptions of brands. This finding shows just how powerful negative word-of-mouth can be.

Change in purchase intention

Negative WOM does not just hurt a brand’s reputation. It also hurts a company’s bottom line. According to the study, negative reviews influenced participants not to make the purchase. Positive testimonials, however, had little to no impact on individuals’ purchase decisions.

Findings from a Spiegel Research Center study back those from the university: according to the center, individuals who viewed NWOM about a brand decreased their spending by 12% and their spending frequency by 5%.

Difficult to overcome

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about NWOM is its persistence. The impact of negative word-of-mouth marketing persists for far longer than the results of positive WOM. According to a 2017 paper, the impact of bad press persists long after it has been refuted.

Managing your reputation

Reputation management is critical to the success of your practice. Whether you are looking into online reputation management as a proactive or reactive measure, Doctor Genius is familiar with the most effective techniques for mitigating the damage caused by adverse online reviews about health care brands. Below are a few techniques used to improve or maintain clients’ online reputations:

  • Respond to all online reviews, both positive and negative
  • Write helpful blogs posts
  • Maintain a website and the reviews on it
  • Ask patients to leave reviews
  • Maintain an active social media presence

The number one way to keep patients happy, however, is to put forth the effort. Proactively manage your online reputation and digital presence to show patients you care.

Explore strategies specific to your needs

At Doctor Genius, we take a strategic and thoughtful approach to reputation management. When you partner with us, we review what has been said about your brand, anticipate what has not been said and devise a strategy to boost and maintain your online reputation Call us by phone to begin discussing strategies today.

Doctor Genius, located at 2 S Pointe Dr #200, Lake Forest, CA 92630, provides a range of services for practice success. We seek to meet our clients’ needs by providing a variety of marketing, SEO, practice optimization tools, and coaching to transform the healthcare experience. Though we work to provide the most accurate information, the content found on this website is solely intended for entertainment purposes. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is entirely correct. You may not use the information on this site to cure, prevent, or diagnose a perceived medical issue. If you have healthcare-related needs, please speak directly to a healthcare professional. Never self-perform medical treatments discussed on this website. All images displayed are also for entertainment purposes only, and personal experiences may differ. Please note that the business tactics mentioned on this site might not be applicable to your industry or practice.

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