The Importance of Business Reviews

Before you buy something online, drive across town to that new restaurant, or download a new app. What’s the first thing you do? Probably check the reviews.

As a business owner, you need to be aware of this and pursue both negative and positive feedback. Planning in advance benefits your business, increases the credibility and recognition of your brand, as well as drives up online traffic.

If you work hard to earn great customer reviews, you’re not alone. Trustworthy reviews are one of the most significant factors in driving quality traffic— so much so that online reviews can often carry more weight than testimony from friends and family. As Neil Patel, a well-known SEO expert wrote, “Today, 97% of consumers read product reviews before making a purchase decision. 89% of them consider online reviews to be an essential resource in the process.” You can see how vital this customer feedback is.

Trustworthy Reviews

Trustworthy reviews come from many different platforms, but mainly Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Out of all these platforms, Yelp seems to have the strictest rules and regulations. With the lowest average business rating, Yelp proves to be the most reliable place to gauge reviews.

Which is important, having a realistic representation of your business, rather than only having 5 star reviews, can often be much better for your customer trust. Only seeking 5 star reviews can be seen as fake, or inorganic.

Reviews can make or break your brand so, instinctually, it makes sense to only seek good reviews. However, it’s almost inevitable that, on one of these platforms, you will receive a negative review.

As a company, you should have a plan to handle this.

Negative Reviews

The way a business handles negative responses online can tell us a lot about the company. The key is not to panic and embrace it!

See how Wendy’s, an international corporation, takes this to heart.

Wendy’s has recently gained notoriety for challenging negative customer feedback on Twitter. This is a humorous example of breaking away from the formal PR strategy, and it was very well received by consumers.

Wendy’s responses to negative feedback are taken to the extreme, however, we can learn something from their openness to negativity and their response times to consumers. Rather than sweeping negative feedback under the rug, Wendy’s encourages a dialogue. Their approach may be brash, and their responses are sassy, but it has created an effect where people are interacting with the brand online. Creating a conversation about the negative feedback allows other users to see both sides of the situation and formulate an opinion of their own. How a business handles negative reviews can often provide better insight on the company, than a positive review alone.

Whichever way you choose to respond, being genuine is paramount. Templated responses to customer complaints are mostly deterring. Take the time to investigate the issue, and respond accordingly.

Mixed Reviews Lend Credibility to Businesses

If your business only receives 5-star positive feedback, consumers might question the legitimacy of those reviews. Those who are cautious may be turned away by only seeing a few positive reviews.

With so many fake and paid reviews circulating on almost every platform, this has become a real problem. Amazon has seen the most prominent “fake review” issue, and it is apparent when shopping online. This has created skepticism in the validity of online reviews. In this modern age of click farms, and internet trolling, online reviews are indeed under the microscope.

Mixed reviews of your business give a consumer a more reliable source of information. They have a realistic snapshot of what others experienced before them and are more likely to convert.

A consumer is more likely to be turned away from strictly glowing references than by one negative review.

Pursue Customer Feedback

Altogether, the benefits of having online reviews are unmatched, and both positive and negative feedback should be welcome. Response to negative feedback should be formulated around improving the consumer experience, and should not be shied away from.

Reviews will be one of the first places a consumer looks when determining where to eat, or what product/service to use.

Ask more of your customers for reviews, their responses are essential!