When you're buying your new smartphone, consumer reviews are your best friend. However, as a business owner, consumer reviews can be a scary ordeal.

Dimensional Research conducted a survey which included the responses of 1,046 people about the impact of consumer reviews on their buying decisions. Of the consumers who recalled having read online reviews before purchasing, 90% claimed positive reviews influenced their purchase while 86% claimed negative reviews also impacted their decision.

On top of this, Google says that searches for ratings and reviews about consumer products is growing. With the popularity and authority of review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, alongside SERP review snippets, these reviews have become very easy to find.

So we know that the search for reviews has increased, and the reviews that are found are impacting buying decisions.

How can a business manage bad reviews? And how can you gain value from them?

Here are the steps you need to manage your online reviews:

1) Monitor Your Online Reputation

First, you need to know when and where people are talking about your business. An easy way to monitor your online mentions is by making use of online tools. Google Alerts is a free tool that sends you emails when Google finds new results containing the terms you specify (In this case, you would set an alert for your companys name).

2) Listen And Learn

It always hurts to read bad reviews from your customers. However, many companies invest big dollars towards gathering this type of customer satisfaction insight -- so make sure to mine the value in your reviews. Find the root problem within each review. Learn from the feedback to prevent any future dissatisfaction and better your overall customer experience.

3) Take The Opportunity By The Reins

Remember that a negative review is an opportunity to show reviewers and potential customers that:

a) You are open to and value a customers feedback.

b) You are committed to repairing their experience.

c) Your company is dedicated to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

4) Respond Quickly And Appropriately

Be sure to thank your customer for their feedback. Apologize for the experience they've had and own the responsibility for the problem. You should acknowledge the fault made and address it in a calm and respectful manner with a promise to resolve it. Do not reply robotically -- be thoughtful and genuine in your response. Remember, you have the opportunity to resolve the issue and give this dissatisfied customer a reason to become a loyal one.

5) Encourage More User Reviews

Managing the negative reviews is one part of the battle. In order to maintain your online reputation, you should encourage reviews from your satisfied customers in order to balance out the negative. Satisfied customers don't usually take time to review you online unless you make an effort to remind them. Make it as easy as possible for customers to review your business.

Try the following:

a) Contact customers after their experience with your company and ask them to review. If you are emailing them, include a link to where you would prefer for them to leave a review. Remember to thank them for their time and feedback!

b) Include review buttons on your website that either allow users to review on-site, or open new windows for them to review on your preferred review site. (Google+ Local Page, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, etc.)


People like to see a business taking care of their customers. Make the time to respond to your negative reviews and have a say in how they impact your business.

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