Reviews are a double-edged sword– too many negative reviews can tarnish the online reputation of a business, while positive reviews will boost product sales. While they are subjective to customers’ unique experiences, business reviews are a critical element of online reputation management.
The Importance of Monitoring Reviews
In the 2019 Bright Local report, 90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% looking every day. Not only do consumers use the internet to find businesses, but they also use it to leave reviews of the places they decide to visit.
Monitoring online reviews can benefit your business in many ways. You can use the information and feedback consumers leave online to make necessary changes in your products and services. This will make customers appreciate that your businesses personalized your products to meet consumer demand. Review monitoring can be very enlightening from a marketing standpoint, as well as reviews show what consumers are interested in the most.
There is another aspect to realize about review monitoring as well– that is fake reviews, which are more common than you think. The UK consumer group says that Amazon is littered with fake reviews, and this can become a huge problem for small businesses that are constantly trying to uphold their online reputation.
The Importance of Responding to Reviews
According to Moz.com, “Interacting with reviews via owner response fields is a core component of reputation management.” Review management is more effective when you respond to what consumers are saying. This is because responding to reviews shows the integrity of your business to consumers who are reading reviews, and it helps you find and fix any problems customers have had in the past. Google even confirmed that responding to reviews improves your local SEO. The Google Local Rankings survey shows that reviews account for 15.44% of how Google ranks a business.
Make sure that you respond to business reviews on the right websites as it is important to pay attention to not only Google, but to other business review platforms as well, such as Yelp, Trustpilot, Yellow Pages, and Google+. Social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, can all also act as a means for responding to customers.
Some review sites are best for certain types of businesses, so you should pay attention to the platforms that you find the majority of your customers use to leave reviews. Typically, restaurants find the best place to respond to reviews on Yelp, while attorneys should monitor and respond to reviews on sites like Avvo.com and Lawyers.com.
How to Respond to Positive Reviews
It is also important to note that positive reviews need a response just as much as negative reviews. When you respond to positive reviews, always thank the customer for their response and then make any changes from the notes they provide. You can also take their compliments into consideration with marketing.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Some businesses choose not to respond to negative reviews because they fear that it will only make matters worse, but it is critical to overcome this fear. Responding to negative reviews can help to win back unhappy customers, show mistakes the business may have made with operations, and make solutions visible to the business owner.
When responding to negative online reviews, you should always make calm statements and start with an apology on behalf of the business, no matter whose fault the incident was. Responses should be professional and problem-solving and if there is anything you can do to appease the upset customer or help prevent the problem from occurring again in the future, you should act on it.
The Importance of Asking for Customer Reviews
Online customer reviews build your brand reputation. 4 in 5 American consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision and what some businesses do not realize is that you can ask customers to leave reviews.
It is not always appropriate to ask for a review from customers. For instance, it may not be a good idea to ask a customer to leave a review online right after they make a complaint rather than resolving the situation then and there. However, it could be a good idea when you are giving a customer their receipt to mention an online survey or a website where they can make a review if they would like to.
You can also ask for reviews over social media. According to Review trackers, “The two best times to ask for reviews are between 2-3 pm and 6-7 pm.” To ask for their review, provide the appropriate link in the post and explain that customer reviews are used to better their experience.
Overall, customer reviews help businesses in every way, and with online reputation management, responding to those reviews is going to improve your understanding of what your customers want.