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Online Reviews and Your Small Business

If you own a business, produce a product, or offer a service, chances are you’ve been reviewed online.

Reviews can be an asset. They help build trust between your brand and the public.

When a potential customer reads about the first-hand experiences of others, they gain a better understanding of what your business is all about before they even step foot across your threshold.

But what happens when a negative review from a disgruntled customer gets posted online for the world to see?

Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for small businesses to treat negative online reviews with the same weight as in-store customer complaints.

 

Which review sites do customers turn to first?

 

Before companies can start improving their online reviews, they should pay attention to where reviews are appearing across the internet.

According to Uberall, Google is the go-to site for customers who are searching for reviews and researching local businesses, followed by Yelp and Facebook.

 

Review sites ranked:

1. Google Maps & Reviews
2. Yelp
3. Facebook
4. Better Business Bureau
5. TripAdvisor

Reviews can have a massive impact on how potential customers perceive your business.

In 2019, positive reviews made 91% of surveyed consumers more likely to use a business, while 82% felt put off by negative reviews.

Negative reviews can happen to any business.

 

If you get a negative review, try to follow the same protocol you would if the person were standing in front of you.

Respond quickly, address the customer by name, and use a polite, sincere tone in your reply.

Avoid copying and pasting “cookie cutter” responses.

Most importantly, offer a next step to work toward a solution. This might include posting a customer service phone number or asking the person to direct message you with more information.

93% of consumers say reviews impact their purchasing

91% of adults age 18-34 trust online reviews

89% of consumers read companies’ review responses

 

One way to stay on top of reviews - the good, the bad, and the ugly - is through social listening, which is the practice of observing your online presence by monitoring, tracking, and analyzing conversations about your business.

We previously wrote about why social listening is important and how to start conducting social listening audits for your business.

Be sure to check it out!

Additional sources: Fundera | Bright Local

 

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