One critical, yet overlooked practice all businesses should focus on is their online presence of customer reviews. Customers have the entire world-wide-web to document any and all opinions they have about a business. For businesses to succeed in online marketing, owners must keep their fingers on the pulse of any online reviews.

9 out of 10 consumers check out online reviews before purchasing

The bad news about this statement is that consumers already trust these reviews, even if they are completely untrue. They do not weigh the fact that a competing business could be using underhanded tactics but posting negative reviews on purpose. They do not think that the person leaving the bad review may just be having a bad day and is lashing out at a business without justification. They believe reviews until they have overwhelming odds to change their minds.

Steps to Online Business Review

Follow a regular, standard procedure to keep up-to-date on a business’s reputation. Take actions to lessen the blows of negative reviews and add a large number of positive reviews. These positive reviews will help attract more customers.

  • Research Current Reviews
  • Respond to Posts
  • Offer Customer Incentives to Review
  • Repeat Regularly

Research Current Reviews

The first step in damage control is to ascertain the extent of the damage. Be creative and search the web for any sites that might list a consumer typing an opinion about the business. Especially sites that attract the most traffic. Sites like Yelp, Facebook and Twitter can easily make or break a business with the amount of reviews other people can see.

Respond to Posts

Although it is rare a customer will take down a bad review, there are ways to make the bad review look better. Businesses that respond to negative comments with apologies directly on the social media site, and discuss ways to remedy the issue gain huge customer service points in the consumer’s eyes. No matter how negative the review is when a company responds they look like they really care. People reading the review may even be quick to completely ignore the review with a proper explanation.

Offer Customer Incentives to Review

While researching, if it appears there are not enough customers adding honest reviews, offer a discount or incentive to current customers to take a moment and write a review, either good or bad on the social media outlet that works the best. Customers will complete a review for a free gift, or if they are entered into a drawing to win a prize. Customers also seem to be responsive and leave reviews is the actual employee asks for their name to be specifically mentioned so their boss is happy with them.

Repeat Regularly

Online reputation building is not a once-and-done thing. It is a process that should be repeated regularly. When repeated often, a solid, long-standing reputation is created that provides detail and word-of-mouth that a negative review can no longer be effective. When consumers see thousands of good reviews, mixed with some bad reviews that were properly addressed, they tend to skip or and become blind to other negative reviews. They are more quick to harshly judge a consumer posting a negative comment, and they feel a sense of loyalty to the business.

Online review management of a business is a constant job to keep a reputation spotless. Online reviews can mean the difference between business success and an early grave. Thorough research on what is being said is the foundation for tackling the toughest reputation issues. Following this standard procedure regularly will increase any business’s reputation.