Customer Feedback and Online Reviews

A lot of people wonder whether there is any importance in online reviews. The truth is that online reviews are vitally important to the success of any product or service. Consumers do a lot of research online about businesses, with the results they find playing a crucial role in whether they give their money to that company or not. For example:

  • 89 percent of consumers think of online reviews as worthy of their trust
  • 80 percent of consumers change their mind about buying something if they read positive or negative reviews
  • 85 percent of people surveyed in 2011 said they were likelier to buy something if it had more online reviews or recommendations
  • If a restaurant gets a one-star review, this impacts their bottom line by as much as 9 percent.

Online reviews are difficult for some business owners to handle. It is a moment of great anxiety when you think about the prospect of someone disliking your business, its service or the products they bought from you. Despite this unease, it is vital for business owners to start looking at online reviews, because negative publicity will have a serious impact on your bottom line. Keep in mind that the business you lose will hurt a lot more than reading a bad review or two.

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Think of online reviews in a number of different categories:

  • Trumpeting: Positive reviews talk about all the things that are great with your business. They are advising others to choose you, and they often praise the best parts of what you are offering.
  • Canary in the Coalmine: These reviews are mediocre. While they do not attack a business, they also do not offer any praise. Perhaps their already low expectations were met, or they had a pleasant but uninspiring experience.
  • Stop Sign: This is a review that you must worry about, because it is ripping apart your business and giving it one star out of five. If you get a bunch of these reviews in quick succession, your business is in big trouble.

Do not forget that there are a lot of inauthentic reviews about businesses all over the internet. Sometimes a person has a bad experience, which results in them posting multiple negative reviews from different accounts. Other businesses attack their competitors with negative reviews. Some businesses even set up fake accounts to leave themselves positive reviews.

There is no doubt you will get negative reviews from time to time. Even the greatest restaurants in the world have people visiting who do not enjoy their food, the atmosphere or something about the service. However, it is a volume of bad reviews that creates problems. If you see successive bad reviews, take steps to correct the problems they are highlighting.

Here are some steps you can take to swerve negative online publicity:

  • Set up a website. This helps people see your page as the first result when they enter your name in Google or Bing. Instead of seeing negative reviews, they will see your site. It also allows you to create more brand awareness.
  • When customers walk through your doors, ask them to leave reviews when they get home. If a majority of your customers are enjoying their experience, you will undoubtedly begin to feel the benefit of these positive reviews.
  • Never, ever pay money for fake reviews, or ask employees to set up dummy accounts. This is a huge mistake. If you are ever outed for this practice, your business loses all credibility.
  • Read or watch what people are saying about your business. Even if it hurts, it is better to take criticism on the chin. After all, how can you fix something if you do not know what is broken? Perhaps you can even respond to some of the negative reviews with a question if you do not understand why they were unhappy.

Customer feedback is a major part of any business. It does not matter whether you are operating online or offline. Think of these reviews as free advertisement for your company.

Whether you are a small restaurant or a local plumber, positive reviews mean more business in the future. Do not be scared to get a few negative reviews. If you have 100 positive reviews and 5 negative ones, customers will want to do business with you.

Engage with your customers from the get go and encourage them to leave reviews on specific websites. Keeping your customers satisfied is the best way to ensure your business succeeds in the long-term.

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