Online review sites – no CEO can afford to ignore them

reviewsI have always been an advocate of online review sites, so read with interest this week the story of a customer who was sued $750,000 for leaving a negative review about a company. The customer had wrongly accused a contractor of stealing from her home, in a review that apparently cost the company $300,000 in lost revenue. It just goes to show how visible online reviews are and the impact they can have on sales.

Of course, these incidents are rare, and positive reviews can also have a significant effect on your business – research has shown that 70% of UK consumers trust review sites and good reviews can increase sales by up to 18%.

Online reviewing is on the rise. For hotels and restaurants, review sites are often the first port of call for potential customers before booking. It’s also becoming much more common for other types of business, thanks to the different review sites emerging all the time.

Review sites put power back into the hands of consumers but you shouldn’t let this put you off. After all, if you’re not confident in the quality of your product or service, something needs addressing. It’s easy to submit your company to review sites, and don’t be afraid to ask your customers to review you. I have embraced the trend myself, and have been amazed at some of the feedback bOnline has got since using Trustpilot (take a look here).

The most important thing to do is monitor review sites constantly. Reviews are a great way to keep track of public opinion of your business and easily spot recurring trends. Is a certain employee being mentioned a lot, either in a positive or negative way? Are any of your processes confusing or frustrating for customers? This is your chance to see your service from the customer’s point of view and take action. You can also have the chance to respond, but don’t be tempted to remove negative reviews – just take the opportunity to learn from them.

As long as your company is doing everything right, there is no need to fear review sites. Customer reviews should be encouraged.  Besides helping you to boost your company’s reputation and sales, good reviews can also help you attract top talent and improve staff motivation.

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Anthony Karibian is CEO of bOnline. Find Anthony on Google here or follow bOnline on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn,

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