If business was like school, you may be sent to the naughty corner for thinking customer reviews aren’t important.  They’re more than worth the time it takes to get great at obtaining them.

Because modern consumers rely so heavily on reviews and ratings, companies who don’t pay enough attention to reviews miss out on the goldmine of feedback each review contains.

Here’s why managing your business’s reviews is important:

  • Online, you’ve got more eyes on you than if you were racing in the Melbourne Cup (probably).  A big chunk of your market is reading the feedback online from your existing customers, and the type of reviews you have could be the decider between them following through on a purchase with you, or ditching you after seeing one poorly answered review.
  • Ratings and reviews are more useful than a helmet that helps you see into the future (trust us, those things are unreliable!).  Reviews can shed light on existing issues, inform product/service innovations, and iron out kinks before you start scaling.
  • They improve your SEO – and, hey, in the crazy, volatile world of SEO, everything helps!

So how exactly should you be managing all your reviews?  Keep reading as we lay out our three best-practice tips.

1. Always Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews

First and foremost, always respond! Remember when Nana used to send you a birthday card with a sweet tenner enclosed within the card and you didn’t respond? Well, that was mean, and it probably hurt her feelings!

Your customers are just like Nana.  They’re giving you a gift, and it’s up to you to send back a thank-you note.  It may not always be easy to do, but every review your business gets should receive a timely, professional and personalised response. 

If you want more gifts from your customers, then a response is a small effort. Forty-four percent of consumers are more likely to visit a local business if the owner has responded even if it was to a negative review.  Responses are indicators that businesses value their customers, showing that they give a ‘you-know-what’.  Consistently responding builds trust and humanises your brand. 

If you have multiple locations or are present on multiple review sites, it can be challenging to keep track of all your reviews.  A review management system like Brag is a must, so ask us and we’ll give you the low-down.

2. Ask for Reviews

When you proactively ask your customers for reviews you get the whole cookie – all the info that you need to improve and grow.  As you probably guessed, it’s asking that’s the hard part.  

You do need to ask, but don’t be like that person who just grabs cookies and crams them down by the fistful.  You need to ask your customers politely and at the right time, or they’ll ignore you.

Remember, regardless of whether it’s a positive or a negative review, you’ll get insanely valuable information that can help enhance your operations, improve your SEO and increase conversions (and maybe even achieve world peace?).

Here’s why asking is important:

  1. You can identify, as early as possible, customers who have been disappointed by their experience, enabling you to address their issue before they vent their dissatisfaction online.
  2. You can encourage happy customers to share their experiences online, resulting in a greater volume of positive reviews on third-party sites like Google or Facebook, and making your reputation seem rosier than Cupid on Valentine’s Day.

Whether it’s an email campaign sent out to customers or a simple suggestion box, the main idea is to hone your strategies for requesting reviews. 

3. Develop a Culture That Welcomes Feedback

Incorporating strategies that encourage reviews into your business has a bunch of obvious benefits (they’re excellent social proof, they improve SEO, and so on), but the most valuable one is being able to learn from the negative reviews. Listening to your customers means you match your solution to their needs, which helps ensure your business’s longevity. The other benefit of this is you get known for incorporating customer feedback, creating a reputation as a company that values its customers.  Customers tend to feel loved when you listen to them. 

The Bottom Line

You can best manage your customer reviews by:

  1. Always respond to positive and negative reviews
  2. Ask for reviews
  3. Develop a culture that welcomes feedback

For these three tips to find a place in your business, consider using an online review management tool like Brag Reviews.  Just like the truth, help is out there … but you gotta ask!