Reputation Rescue: Dealing with Your Business’s Online Reviews

February 4th, 2014 by Will Scott

These days more customers are turning to their social networks and online review sites before making purchases. While local directories and review sites are important for your business’s online presence and SEO, it also opens up the door to both positive and negative reviews from customers.

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Yes, People are Actually Looking at Them

It’s been estimated that about half of American consumers have written at least one online review. Even those not writing reviews are reading them, with 70% of consumers saying they read reviews before making a purchase decision. The same number, seven out of ten, share the reviews they read with friends and family, meaning that these reviews are reaching even more people.

And Making Decisions Based Off of Them

For positive reviews, this is great! In fact, 87% of consumers say a positive review confirmed their decision to make a purchase. As one might expect, a similar yet opposite effect comes from negative reviews. Four out of five consumers report having reversed a purchase decision based on negative reviews. Yep. That’s 80%.

But You Can Take Action

Luckily, for businesses, there is a positive way to handle negative reviews. Respond quickly and publicly, keeping your response polite yet personal. Own the issue without being defensive and try to rectify the situation while still keeping your response simple. A whopping 97% of people found the reviews of a product they purchased to be accurate. This confirms that no one should be brushing off negative reviews. Responding correctly will give future customers confidence that they will not have the same experience.

You know the saying about the best defense, right? Give your business a good offense by encouraging reviews from loyal customers. Reach out to customers via Facebook, Twitter, and email. Make reviewing your business as easy as possible and send those that do review a thank you.

Real Reviews = Real Revenue

Getting a considerable volume of real, accurate reviews will lead to real revenue. Positive online reviews have been shown to increase sales by 74%, and on a related note, consumers who conduct research online spend 18-36% more than those who do not.

Don’t be scared to put your business out there! Transform your online review portals into revenue-making tools by garnering your existing customer relationships, addressing negative experiences, and improving your online presence. Reviews also create 21% higher purchase satisfaction and 18% higher customer loyalty. These are huge numbers for something that you aren’t even spending money on.