The advent of the internet has changed the way in which consumers share their thoughts and opinions about businesses. No longer are consumers forced to use word of mouth. They can now talk about their experience with a business in the form of an online review. If a consumer has a positive experience with a business, he or she may share this experience on Google, Facebook or other review websites. Conversely, consumers may share negative experiences in the form of a negative online review. As a business owner, you should embrace online customers reviews to drive more sales.

Do Online Customer Reviews Really Matter?

They absolutely matter. According to a report by Spiegel Research Center, 95% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product or service. The same report also found that displaying positive reviews on a business’s website or online portal can increase its conversion rate by up to 270%. Regardless of what your business sells, positive customer reviews instill confidence and trust, thereby encouraging new consumers to make a purchase.

While positive customer reviews will encourage other consumers to purchase your business’s products or services, negative customers have the opposite effect. According to BrightLocal, every one star a business loses on its review page, for example, costs the business about 5% to 9% revenue. If your business drops from five stars to three stars, you can expect to lose up to 18% of your current revenue.

Monitor Your Business’s Reviews on the Top Review Websites

To effectively use customer reviews to your business’s advantage, you must monitor what customers are saying about your business. There are numerous websites where customers can review businesses. Neglecting to monitor these review websites on a regular basis could result in negative and/or inaccurate reviews diluting your business’s positive customer reviews.

Some of the top review websites include the following:

  • Google Maps (Google My Business)
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Angie’s List
  • TripAdvisor
  • Trustpilot

Responding to Negative Customer Reviews: What You Should Know

When you discover a negative review of your business on one of these review websites, you should take immediate action to see if you can change the customer’s opinion. First and foremost, check to see if the review is accurate and not just a fake or false review left by a competitor. If it’s a fake review from a competitor, you can contact the review website and ask them to remove it. Assuming the review is accurate, though, you should politely respond to the customer by thanking him or her for their opinion and apologizing for their experience. Additionally, provide the customer with your direct phone number so that you can help resolve his or her issue. Dealing with negative reviews directly can often turn them into positive reviews, allowing your business to reap their sales-boosting benefits.