When Looking for a new restaurant or an opinion before making a purchase, where do you go?  Google, of course! Your first inclination is to pick up your phone and google it; your second is to read the reviews.

Your time and money are important to you. Getting instant feedback from actual patrons or users provides valuable insight for making an informed decision without leaving your couch.  In fact, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.

Reviews have the power to influence your business in many different ways. For example, did you know the number of positive or negative reviews left on Google Reviews affects the ranking of your website within search engine results?  First, let’s look at the impact of positive reviews on your business.

It only takes five positive Google Reviews to boost your ranking within search results. 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review.  That same percentage says a favorable review makes them trust a local business more. When customers trust your business, they spend more, recommend you to others offline as well as online, and become loyal repeat customers.

Positive reviews can help your business boom; however, negative reviews can lead to impending doom!   86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews. Not only can a negative review cost you potential customers, it can affect your revenue.   According to Moz,  1-2 Negative Reviews= 22% Revenue Loss, 3 Negative Results = 59% Revenue Loss, and 4 Negative Results = 70% Revenue Loss.  Another disappointing fact, negative reviews cannot be removed from the internet.

So how does a business handle reviews, good or bad?  Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to build good reviews and negate the bad. When a customer leaves a positive review be sure to respond and thank them.  Show your customers that you are listening and appreciate their feedback.  When trying to build your good reviews, be intentional!  Start a campaign requesting a review after each purchase.  Ask your satisfied customers to leave you a review after a good experience with your business. This can be easily done through an automated follow-up email after a customer purchase or transaction.

If your business receives a negative review, the worst thing you can do is ignore it!  Follow-up immediately with a response such as, “ I am sorry your experience was unpleasant, what can we do to rectify the situation?”.   If there is an actual grievance, try to take the conversation offline.  If someone is trolling you or just trying to negatively impact your business showing empathy and concern as well as following up as soon as possible will show others the true intentions of the negative reviewer.

If you are a B2B business or B2C business, reviews can definitely impact your reputation, sales team, and overall bottom line. The best course of action is to be patient, proactive, and pursue positive feedback.