Customer reviews are the new word of mouth, and the modern day suggestion box. You’ve probably used them, and left them, yourself. Sure, there are always the “crazy” ones, written by those who can never be satisfied (not you or I, of course.) But, by and large, online reviews represent a reliable cross-section, and they help us make informed choices, whether impulsive or more thoroughly researched. In fact, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 92% of buyers regularly or occasionally rely on reviews when making a local buying decision. So, why not benefit from the myriad ways positive online reviews can work for your business? 

Great For Your Rank

If you’re able to generate online reviews authentically and consistently, you’ll be in a winning position to build trust and acquire customers. In addition to that, reviews improve your search engine rank. Multiply that when customers use keywords relevant to your business. It’s an opportunity for SEO victory.

Call To Action

A “delighted” customer isn’t necessarily compelled to take the action to write a review. You need to be proactive to encourage it. Build a template email to ask for reviews. Have links on your website to your Yelp or Google My Business profiles so customers can easily leave a review. Put those same links in the signature of your email, on invoices, business cards, and other marketing materials. Consider also directing your customers to Grade.us or GetFiveStars.com which host a review page you can set up for your business. 

Stay Connected

Once you’re getting some review traffic, stay in the loop. You need to be aware of what’s being said, and ready to address and engage, where appropriate. This is where the “Suggestion Box” comes in. Thank people for positive reviews, and address anything negative in a professional and gracious manner. 

Learn From The Feedback

Sure, we love of the good stuff, the five stars and adulation, but if we’re open to constructive criticism we can really make strides in improving our game. Reviews can be great for allowing us to see problems in order to solve them. Reading the “suggestions in the box” can help you out of ruts, and help you better address your customer experience.

Learn About Yourself

Sometimes it’s useful to be reminded of that which we already know, or have perhaps forgotten. When certain key phrases or themes emerge consistently it can act like a mirror for your core messaging. Do you recognize the reflection of what you’re putting out there and how it’s being perceived? It’s important that your self-image is in line with your customer experience. You may find your messaging is validated or challenged. Objectively reading your reviews can help reinforce your mission statement.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? The same goes for reviews. If a business doesn’t have any reviews, or a Yelp account, does it exist? Probably yes (for the tree, and the business) but why limit yourself? Online reviews are like expanded, virtual yellow pages, without the bulk. They can catapult you up the search engine list, make your customers feel important and heard, and give you key insights into your business. Get started prioritizing this key tool today!