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Google Reviews | 2 minutes

How to Manage Online Customer Reviews

Customer’s opinions have a huge influence on a business’s reputation. Word of mouth used to be the way these opinions were spread. These days, customers are able to express their opinions online. As a result, millions of customers are posting their reviews online everyday via review sites, Google reviews, blogs and social media.

So, how important are customer reviews?

Well, research suggests that 90% of consumers will read online reviews before visiting a business. Furthermore, customers are likely to spend 31% more if a business has ‘excellent’ reviews.

Each kind of review site has a different approach to the way they allow reviews. We’ll have a look at each type in more detail and explain how customer reviews can work for your business, even if they’re negative.

General Customer Review Sites

There are lots of general review sites online. These include Product Review, Yelp, Hot frog, True local plus many more. All are open to anyone who wants to write a customer review and provide a star rating. The only real requirement is that a genuine email is provided. Generally, star ratings are then averaged and shown in order. In addition, businesses can ‘claim’ their business and can then join the site to enable replies.

Special Customer Review Sites

These are sites that specialise in particular areas. Such as, Zomata for restaurants and TripAdvisor for holiday-related reviews. However, look out for new review sites because online reviewing is growing everyday and other specialist sites are popping up. Recent additions include doctors (zocdoc.com), real estate agents (ratemyagent.com.au), makeup (MakeupAlley.com), and more.

Retailers’ Websites

Increasingly, retailers’ sites are offering the opportunity for customer reviews. This increase in the demand for transparency is becoming more and more prevalent. Amazon are leading the way with thousands of products and customer reviews. On a site like this, products will thrive or fail depending on their review status. As a rule, only verified customers of Amazon are able to post reviews. Furthermore, they provide strict guidelines for these reviews.

Social Media Reviews

A recent survey found that 69% of consumers regularly use Facebook to research a product or service. Obviously, the business’s review rating will be very important to a potential customer. Like the general review sites, Facebook allows anybody to post a review but they must be logged in. Also, Facebook page admins have the ability to reply to reviews.

It’s important to reply to Every review, even the bad ones

No business is perfect. And so, every now and then you may receive a negative comment a one-star review. Clearly, something’s gone wrong, but don’t panic. Now is the time to respond carefully, try not to be defensive and keep focused on a resolution. Customers read bad reviews and so responding in a positive and helpful manner can really help your business in the long term. In fact, Harvard Business Review found that good responses to bad reviews actually boosted ratings over all. Customers want to see empathy and fairness and will respond well.

It’s clear that online customer reviews are a powerful tool to leverage sales and customer feedback. To start gathering your customer reviews try a review management platform such as Fetch Review.