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Online reviews are powerful for small businesses, are you putting your best foot forward?

Online reviews can be very powerful for small business owners. A few reviews online can seriously impact potential customers on whether or not to do business with you. It is crucial for businesses to respond to both positive and negative reviews. If you think otherwise, consider this:

  • Research shows 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34) read online reviews.

  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews.

  • Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use local businesses.

  • Negative reviews stop 40% of consumers from using a small business.

On top of this, reviews also have an impact on local SEO (search engine optimization). Whenever your business is mentioned online, search engines know. The more positive reviews, the better! If you have a lot of good reviews, chances are good that search engines will be more likely to favor your website in their results pages.


How to Respond to a Positive review

Reviews can truly make an impact on your business and it is important that you know how to respond to them properly. 

So you got a good review online, now what?

You don’t need to write a page back to them thanking them for a good review but being active online and responsive is very important. Start by being appreciative, and recognize that they didn’t have to take the time to leave a review –  they chose to! This is awesome news for your business and it means things are working. 

Start by being appreciative and recognize their review with a ‘like’ and a comment. It is best to be specific in your response to the customer showing you read the post fully. Address them by their first name and respond to something they said directly. Show you care by making a personalized response to each positive review.

Don’t be afraid to add a bit of marketing in your response. Plug another aspect of your business. Something as simple as, “So glad you loved the (product/ service). We would love to see you back, next time you can try (product or service) as it is one of our specialties!” can go a long way. This can also bring in new customers and keep existing ones coming back! 


Bad Reviews Provide an Opportunity to do Better

When someone provides feedback that is less than what you hoped for, it doesn’t mean your business is tanked. View the situation as an opportunity to do better. Feedback is given so that we try to improve. Business owners should always be looking for ways to improve and taking customer feedback in a receptive way is a great first step.

Don’t forget – a response to a negative review will almost always be read by someone. Use it as a valuable opportunity to convey your values.


How to Respond to a Negative Review

Negative reviews can look bad for business, especially when they go unaddressed. We suggest that you formulate a response that is apologetic and empathetic. This will make the customer feel that you have taken their feedback seriously and that you truly care about your business. 

Make sure your reviewer feels heard. Take your owner hat off and try to understand what the issue is through a customer’s eyes. Don’t react to the post when you are upset with their comments. Think of your response as if it is for future customers to see (because it is), and not just your upset client.

Remember, this isn’t a private conversation. Stand behind your work, but never tell a customer that they are wrong or attempt to argue online. Instead, offer up a suggestion to fix the issue or an explanation as to how it will be fixed in the future. 

Keep the conversation short and polite. Don’t say more than what is necessary. In many cases, it is better to take the conversation offline. The last thing you want is a public comment-war. So provide a phone number for them to call to speak further on the matter, sometimes people will have a lot to say and it is best to handle it privately.

If you address the problem directly, you may find your unhappy customer will delete their bad review and leave one about how you helped solve their situation!


Take your customer service one step further

In the digital age, everyone owns a smartphone. We carry around small computers in our pockets that allow us to search for something and have an answer in less than a minute. Consumers are accustomed to convenience and this is why your business could consider using a text messaging platform. It is helpful to have all of these notifications on a single platform to stay organized and professional. One such platform is Podium, but there are many viable alternatives that drive home the point that texting is a quick and simple way to contact customers in an efficient matter.

Best ways to use texting for your business:
  • Service reminders

  • Answer service & customer questions

  • Create an opportunity to upsell

  • Ask for feedback

  • Answer questions and solve problems quickly

  • Invite customers to review your business online


Make a Positive Impact using your Online Reviews

Overall, It is important to remember that responding to reviews is important for existing customers and potential new ones. The key is to pay attention to your reviewer, listen and then respond accordingly. Reviews can be a great opportunity to hear from happy customers and learn from unhappy customers. Remember a bad review will not tank your business but realize that you should address the problem. There are many ways to reach customers to ask them to leave a review, and texting is one option to consider. Always continue making improvements to reach your full potential! 

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