Online Reviews 101 for the Smart Small Business Owner

Online reviews on a product or service, now more than ever, can do a lot for a company’s growth or failure, and how to respond to this is a must-know, especially for small business owners.

Long gone are the days when customer feedback was simply shunned or set aside. Big companies could afford to do that, not anymore.  

Thanks to social media, customers’ thoughts and feelings about a shopping experience or a paid service can be easily made and found virtually anywhere.

Which is why it’s vital to know:

  1. How to treat positive and negative reviews
  2. What to do when you get no reviews at all
  3. Ways online reviews can benefit your business

But first, we have to know what we have before we can figure out to handle it wisely. Just how do positive, negative and no reviews affect your business?


Positive reviews

Propagation or promotion via “word of mouth” has really become more of “word of fingers” over the years. And having positive feedback about even your product or service, much more your business as an entity, can easily spread today.

This is free advertising at work, and it works. According to a Harvard Business Social paper, revenue can increase up to 9% with a company’s additional star rating online.

Actually, Bright Local says that 85% of customers trust online reviews as they do personal recommendations.

If you can get more positive reviews from your customers, then it could really potentially impact your current and future sales.


Negative reviews

The statement above holds true on the other side of the spectrum. Since people trust online reviews as a friend’ or acquaintance’s suggestion, the same goes for negative feedback.

In fact, 22% of people will not spend on a business after reading one negative review; reading another doubles that figure.

So long as they feel legitimate and look substantiated, consumers, especially millennials, trust online reviews. That being said…


No reviews

Herein applies that age-old advertising saying: Negative publicity is still publicity.

While negative publicity does put your business in the spotlight, though not in a pleasing way, there’s still a chance that you can turn that around by offering apologizing and even offering a discount the next time they come around.

But getting no reviews can be bad, perhaps, even worse than having bad ones.

It’s important to get good reviews, and by good, we mean genuine ones from your actual clients’ through their experiences and thoughts about what you offer.

Luckily, there are different ways you can use as a business to boost your business’ presence by getting more positive feedback and even turning negative ones into welcoming experiences.


Inspect your processes early on

Why wait for feedback from clients, when you can get some from looking at your business from a third-party perspective?

Pretend that your the customer walking into your store or availing of your service and ask yourself:

  • How long did I have to wait to get to what I want to happen?
  • Is this really the best way to process this?
  • What could we do better?


Get feedback from your staff

How can you avoid negative feedback? Do your best to not let it happen.

As mentioned, see where trouble areas may lie, and the good thing is, you don’t actually have to do it all by yourself. Ask your staff what they think during team meetings.

Ask for their suggestions or what they find difficult to do and what customers might be saying could be improved.

But how about when we actually get negative, positive or no reviews? We’ll discuss these and more on our next blog post.

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