Embracing Internet customer reviews creates a positive cycle of customer satisfaction that builds your brand. Positive word of mouth is the greatest ally a small business has. Having a website gives you a platform from which to define your business. Use tools like Google Places to help customers tell your story. This is part of what is known as online reputation management.
Many people use search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing…) to learn about your business before going to your website. When a negative review shows near the top of the SER (search engine results) page, they look at it first! Because people are leaving reviews anyway, it’s a mistake to ignore them. You must get in the game!
Champion Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said that people go through life asking themselves three basic questions about others: Can I trust you? Are you committed to excellence? Do you care about me? Fulfill the customers desire to be important to you, and you’ll be important to them.
Be approachable and direct them to your website. Not only give them great service, but also ask for customer reviews. Search for customer reviews from multiple sources (urban spoon, yelp!, etc…). Overcome negative reviews with more positive ones. Respond to all reviews good and bad. Show customers that their opinion counts and you’ll be able to reduce negative ones in the first place.
Now, with the Internet, reviews are track able and customers are choosing if they want 5 star service or not. Be involved. Be their choice.
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