The power of customer reviews


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Having an opinion and sharing it online has never been easier. Where once the trusted opinions and recommendations of family and friends were paramount to making decisions, it’s just as easy– if not easier– to go online and read reviews before making any kind of purchasing decision. If you’re trying to decide what to see at the movies, you can scour ratings on Rotten Tomatoes; if you want to know whether that five-star hotel you want to stay at is actually a shack on the beach with questionable cleaning practices, you can read about it on Tripadvisor. The point is, online reviews have become an important and trusted source for users.

The reviews that a business receives can mean the difference between success and failure, but is it all doom and gloom for businesses that receive negative reviews? Unfortunately, research suggests that it’s a likely scenario. Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 70% of consumers say that positive reviews inspire trust.

If you’re a small business with a few positive but many negative reviews, you might expect to hear the ring of the death knell. There are, however, a few things that you can do to help your business escape the clutches of the grim reaper.

In order to get excellent reviews, the foundation is making sure that you offer an exceptional product or service. Once you’re confident with your product, the next step is making sure that your customers actually share their thoughts by reviewing it.

One way to encourage reviews is to include a review section on your company’s website. If a customer contacts you to let you know that they’re really happy with your product, invite them to leave a review online. If someone has left a review of your company on a site like Yelp, claim it as your own. Not only should you have a place for customers to leave their reviews, but you’ll have the ability to reach out to them by responding to those reviews.

When you receive positive reviews, share them on social media; other satisfied customers may be inclined to share their positive experiences as well. Remember to acknowledge people leaving positive reviews.

Dealing with negative reviews can be a bit trickier. Surprisingly, a few negative reviews can actually be good for business. A smattering of negative reviews adds credibility to all those positive reviews you’ve already received.

Like you’d acknowledge a positive review, if you receive a negative review, you should respond immediately. It’s important to listen to and understand the customer complaint and offer some kind of solution. Never get angry or respond in a negative way, as this will only worsen the situation.

Consider it this way: a negative review is simply customer feedback telling you which areas you need to improve upon. Listen to the customer and make those improvements so that future customers don’t experience the same issues. It’ll also send a message to customers telling them that you value their opinion.

Whether you have positive or negative reviews, it’s important to remember to stay engaged with your users and respond to their feedback, comments, and questions. Getting them to leave a review is only the first step; it’s what you do with that feedback that’ll benefit your business the most.

Christophe Primault
Christophe is the co-founder of GetApp, the #1 Cloud Business Apps Marketplace. He writes about cloud computing trends and provides tips on how businesses can benefit from cloud-based apps to improve their profit.


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