Online Reviews – Are They Valuable or Just Fake?

onlinereviews_thumbsOnline Reviews are promotions for your business written by your current or past customers. Some reviews are delivered through online video, but most are written and presented through websites, blogs and social media accounts. Your customers share their experiences with your products and services in order to help other consumers make educated buying decisions.

Online reviews are powerful promotional tools because they backup the claims you make about your own business. You can tell potential customers how great your products are and how reliable your services are, but they are going to listen to the experience of another consumer before they take your word for it. This is because you have something to sell them, but your customers have nothing to gain by telling the truth about their experiences.

What about Negative Reviews?

Even if you have an excellent product or service, you may run into a dissatisfied customer or two. You may not know that they are dissatisfied until you convince them to write a review, and you won’t like what you read in that review. Rather than getting mad or acting defensive, use this as an opportunity to correct your mistakes and win them over.

Consider the validity of the negative review and offer complimentary products or services. Open a dialogue with the customer by asking what you can do to correct their experience with your business. You may turn that negative review into a review that glows with positivity if you react in a professional manner.

Promoting Reviews for Business Growth

Encourage your current and previous customers to write out a review regarding their experiences with your company. Even if they only write a few words or a couple sentences, their support for your business is valuable when new customers come along and wonder about the legitimacy of your business. You can give incentives to those who write reviews, but never withhold that incentive if you receive a negative review.

Promoting reviews from your customers is easy. Display the reviews on your website or allow customers to enter their reviews directly onto your website. Promote the reviews further by using them in social media and blog posts. This gets the word out that your business is legitimate and has a lot to offer customers.

Consumer reviews are excellent market research tools. If you find customers routinely complaining about the same thing, you know that area of your business needs improvement. When you receive compliments on one area of your business on a routine basis, then you know that area is one of your strengths.

If you pay attention to the opinions expressed in these reviews, you can use this insight to make important decisions regarding your business. For instance, you may go ahead with a new product because a similar product was wildly popular with your customers and you see that demand is high. You may also decide to invest more money in customer service or packaging if those areas are routinely criticized in customer reviews.

Yes, there are some fake reviews floating around online. That does not mean that reviews are not powerful resources for your business. Embrace real online reviews, listen to your customers, and watch your business grow.