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Doug Daley, Kiers Marketing

When you are visiting a business for the first time, do you check their website or Facebook page before you visit? Most people do that now. If there are customer reviews, do you read them? A recent study says 90% of people do. 

Reviews are quickly becoming the new word-of-mouth. If a site has 50 reviews and they have a rating of 4.9/5 it’s a good indicator that it is a good place to do business. But how did businesses get people to write a review? Is the 4.9 a real number? To me, this seems almost too good to be true. 

We have a client that received a scathing Google review from someone – who it turned out – was never a customer. Yes, that happens too. How did the business handle that review? They solicited happy customers to write good reviews to nullify the bad one. And yes, that happens a lot as well. 

Unsolicited reviews are usually the most believable. A good example of this is TripAdvisor. Resorts, hotels, restaurants and attractions live and die by TripAdvisor, because the reviews are generally real. When you are planning a vacation, and you will again someday, you visit TripAdvisor to find the best place to stay. It’s what we do now. 

When deciding whether or not to implement online reviews, many businesses worry about the impact of bad reviews. Bad reviews are a fact of business, whether you have a brick-and-mortar store, an e-commerce business, or some combination of both. It’s hard to please all customers all of the time. 

Negative feedback is something you should not shy away from – it may even help your business. The one thing you shouldn’t do with negative reviews is ignore them. Instead, follow these steps: 

  1. Don’t panic! Remember that negative reviews are not that bad, and they can actually help your business. 
  1. Resist the urge to remove negative reviews. It’s natural to have some unhappy customers, and posting the negative reviews you’ve received shows you have nothing to hide. 
  1. Respond to negative reviews publicly. Show that you care about the issue and have resolved it with a public response.  
  1. Learn from negative product and business reviews. Is there anything you can learn about your products or service from the negative feedback? Stop bad reviews at the source by addressing any core issues. 
  1. Follow up. Make sure to follow up after the issue has been addressed to ensure the customer is happy with the resolution of their issue. Turn a negative into a positive. 
  1. Get more good reviews. Research shows that 86% of reviews are four or five stars. This means that getting more positive comments is simply a numbers game. You just need to get more reviews, period. 

What can you take away from this? Negative reviews are not that bad. They can help your business, they’re easy to handle and you can easily combat them by just getting more reviews in general (because we know most of them will be good!). 

Does your business get reviews? Do you have a formal process in place to solicit them? Ask your satisfied customers to give you a review. A recent survey stated that 57% of consumers would use a business with a three star rating and 94% would use a business with a four star rating. If your competitors aren’t soliciting reviews, they will be soon.  You better get a jump on them, now! 

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