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Online Customer Reviews: Ways to Add This Modern Business Essential to Add to Your Toolbox

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Reviews are everywhere, and they are very much a part of the buying process for customers these days.

You have undoubtedly read a few online reviews in your time. Whether buying a book on Amazon or choosing a real estate agent to help sell your home, you will find a lot of value in reading reviews left by previous customers.

If you run a business, you will also receive reviews from customers whether you want to or not. These can appear in the form of reviews left on dedicated third-party review sites like TrustPilot, or comments made on social media.

Your temptation may be to ignore them. After all, it’s just one more thing to do. But you should never ignore your reviews.

Here’s why, along with some tips on managing your reviews properly.

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Why You Should Never Ignore Reviews

Reviews can be both positive and negative, but you should never ignore them. The truth is that you need online reviews, and they can be excellent for your business.

A review is a chance for you to show your customers that you appreciate their feedback. They have taken the time to make a comment, and if they have left a positive comment, you can thank them for this. It’s a very simple and effective way to build a relationship and increase loyalty.

If they leave a negative review, you can show them that you want to help, that you are a company that cares about its customers, that you want their experience to be positive, and that you will go out of your way to ensure this.

This can help to resolve a problem and change the customer’s opinions, and to even get more business from them.

But there is more than just the opinion of the customer to consider. Reviews are public, and other people will read them as well as your responses to them. They want to see that you are professional, friendly, open, and that you care about their opinions.

If they see this, you are more likely to win their business, so it’s important to respond properly to both positive and negative comments. Your responses will show potential customers the human presence behind the brand, and this can be very powerful.

Another potential problem of not responding to reviews, especially on social media, is that you are not involved in the conversation and you have no input. Suddenly a negative comment can get shared, and more people may comment and start venting.

The fact that you are not around to get involved can see it getting out of control. By responding, you can direct the conversation, and you can get your side of the story out. You can also show that you are sorry for any mistakes you have made, and that you want to rectify them.

How to Manage Your Reviews Effectively

One of the first rules of managing your reviews is to reply to them quickly. To do this, use a tool to help you rather than scouring every social network all day, which is not feasible. A dedicated tool like Chatmeter can alert you to mentions of your brand and products as they occur, so you never have to miss one again.

When it comes to key tips for managing online reviews, it’s a good idea to have one of your staff in charge of responding. Make sure they know how to respond properly, which may involve training them up. Ensure they get the tone right: Responses should always be professional and courteous.

Don’t shy away from negative reviews. Be confident, stay calm, and try to rectify the situation. But if the customer is clearly never going to be happy and wants to turn it into a public spat, offer to take it offline. Ask them to call you or email you personally, and leave the conversation. That will show anyone else that you are reasonable and keen to resolve the problem.

You can also encourage more people to leave reviews. Don’t bribe customers for positive reviews because that’s not ethical and it can backfire. But do remind customers, perhaps in a friendly email after they have purchased from your store, that you appreciate feedback, and direct them towards a few third-party review sites.

Make the Most of Online Reviews

Don’t be scared of reviews, and don’t shy away from them. You will get negative reviews, just like any other business. But if you respond to them properly, you can turn them into a positive for your business.

And if you build up a lot of reviews, this will give potential customers more confidence in buying from you.

Collin Holmes, founded Chatmeter, Inc in 2009 and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Holmes is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside and graduated with an MBA from San Diego State University. Prior to Chatmeter, Mr. Holmes served as Vice President of Product Management and Director of Product Marketing for xAD, Inc. (LocalAdXchange) (also known as V-enable). Mr. Holmes comes with a couple decades of overseeing and developing product roadmaps, business development and managing the process of driving applications to market.

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