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Online reviews: why they're important and how to handle them

Are your customers satisfied with your work and service? Was someone dissatisfied?

Online review site logosYelp, Google, Facebook, YP, BBB and dozens more are all places where customers can, and do, leave online reviews. Those online reviews can make the difference between someone picking up the phone to hire your business to do some work…or moving on to find another contractor to do business with.

Did you know:

  • 92% of consumers now read online reviews
  • 94% of consumers would use a business with a 4-star rating, but only 57% would use a business with a 3-star rating
  • 80% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 86% of consumers will hesitate to use a business with negative online reviews

These statistics from Vendasta drive home how critically important your online reviews are and the impact they can have on your business.

Here’s how to handle online reviews – both positive and negative:

Positive Online Reviews

These reviews come from the customers who were happy with the work you did and it’s important to acknowledge and thank them. Here’s a sample response as an example:

“We’re delighted you were happy with the work [Insert Business Name] did. Your 100% satisfaction is what we strive for every day and we hope you’ll recommend us to your friends and family.”

If they respond to your “thank you” comment, ask the customer if they would add their review to other places you have a digital presence, such as a Facebook page, Twitter account, on Yelp, and Google. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely your business will be to get found on the Web when consumers are doing their research.

Negative Online Reviews

Negative reviews should never be ignored. They won’t go away, and prospective customers could see them which can damage your business reputation.

Responding to a negative review is your opportunity to make things right, to show that your business cares about customer feedback, and is acting in an accountable manner.  Here’s a sample response to a negative online review:

“[Customer name] I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Our customers are normally delighted with the work we do, and we want to make things right. Please contact me at [email and phone] to discuss this further.”

By adding in your contact information, you are moving the conversation offline while demonstrating to the digital world that customer satisfaction is important to you. With a negative review you do not want to use your business name in your response since that will increase the likelihood a negative review gets found by online search engines.

Proactive tip:

Set up an alert in Google so that every time your business name is found you are notified. This will help make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to respond in a timely manner.

Whether it falls to you, or someone else in your company, set a requirement that responses to reviews – be they good or bad – are sent within 24 hours.

In short, handling online reviews on a timely basis is a critically important element of managing the reputation and marketing of your business.