Perhaps the headline of this article may seem a little exaggerated or alarmist. Thinking that the future of your business depends on the reviews that people write about it may sound excessive, but the truth is that this aspect is becoming more and more relevant in the marketing of all types of businesses, and users are increasingly influenced by what others say about your company.

We give you some guidelines, tips and tricks to work well this fundamental aspect of your online marketing strategy.

What is a review?

Let’s start at the beginning. A review is an opinion that a user gives about the services or products of your company or business. There are dozens of spaces where a user can leave a review, the most famous of which are the giants, Google (Reviews) and Facebook (Opinions). In addition, there are other thematic vertical portals such as Yelp, Tripadvisor, Booking, or Amazon, where reviews or opinions also take on a fundamental relevance.

Benefits of getting product reviews for your business
Getting reviews or opinions for your business has 3 main benefits:

  1. Local SEO Positioning
    Google reviews are directly linked to your Google MyBusiness listing. Getting quality reviews is one of the key factors in the algorithm by which Google ranks the search results that appear in the maps part:

In other words, apart from many other factors in terms of the information available on your business listing and the geolocation of your business, having a high quantity and quality of reviews on your Google MyBusiness listing can help you rank better in these results.

  1. Trust and reputation
    Whether you are found through a branding search (the user searches for your brand), or if they are looking for your products or services, finding a large number of users who show their satisfaction and positive experience with your business is a priceless source of trust for potential customers who have just met you. We trust what others tell us, even if we don’t know them at all.
  2. Sales
    As a result of all of the above, if you improve your rankings in Google map results, and also offer trust to your potential customers through the positive experiences of your previous customers, it is very likely that these new users who have just discovered you will be interested in your products and services and end up buying or hiring you.
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Some (surprising) statistics about reviews

Here are some facts to help you understand the real relevance and influence that reviews have on the behaviour of users and buyers. Some of them are really surprising and revealing (*):

90% of consumers read online reviews from other users before going to a physical shop.
88% of consumers give as much credence to online reviews as they do to a personal recommendation from friends or acquaintances.
Consumers are willing to spend up to 31% more at businesses with excellent reviews.
72% of users recognise that reading positive reviews about a business increases their trust in them.
92% of users would visit a local business if it had 4 or more positive stars in its reviews.
86% of consumers would not buy from a business with a majority of negative reviews.
According to Yelp, a one-star increase in a business’s review rating can lead to a 5% to 9% increase in turnover.

Tips, tricks and best practices on reviews
Encourage the generation of reviews
Some users will leave a review about your business on their own initiative, but in many other cases you will have to “chase” customers to get them to write a review or opinion about your business. In addition, internet users tend to write when we have had a bad experience, but we find it difficult to put the same effort into writing something positive when we have had a good experience.

Therefore, it is important that you make it a routine to generate new reviews of your business. Tricks can range from directly asking satisfied customers to write a review, using social media to reach out to your audience and ask them to write reviews about your business, mailing your customer database with this request, or directly, if you have a local business, setting up a small space in your shop for users to leave their reviews or opinions, for example via a mobile device or tablet at the checkout line.

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Answer all reviews (including positive ones).
We know that in certain cases this can be an arduous task. If you generate a lot of reviews, it may not be feasible to answer all of them, but you should at least be aware of the most conflicting and negative ones. Likewise, if you take the routine of attending to all the reviews, do not forget to also answer the positive ones, thanking them for their comments.
In this way, before new customers who read those reviews, you will show an image of closeness and concern for your business, resolving or providing extra information about a negative review, or thanking the positive messages from your satisfied customers.

What to do about negative reviews

As with almost everything on the internet, customer reviews and opinions have their dark side. There will be “scorned” customers who, faced with what they consider to be poor management on your part, will take their anger out on the internet instead of trying to resolve their problem face-to-face or through other means.
Worse still, your competitors, intent on doing harm, may generate false negative reviews about your business in order to tarnish your reputation with potential new customers.
First of all, be clear that it is not possible to remove reviews from Google, but you can submit a report about an inappropriate review.
First check Google’s policy on reviews, and then find out how to report inappropriate reviews.
Remember that this last option offered by Google is NOT for deleting negative reviews about your business for a service that the customer did not like. We can only use this complaint form for 3 specific cases.

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The user has posted an inappropriate photo.
Inadequate review (false opinion that you can prove is actually made in a destructive or wrong way).
Review on the wrong page.
In any case, if you have a lot of negative reviews you should start to consider that the problem is not your customers, but the way you manage your business.

In a nutshell
Many customers ask us what to do to avoid negative reviews, and the answer is very simple. Put the customer at the centre of your business and offer an excellent customer experience, before, during and after the buying process. All of this, accompanied by exceptional service that exceeds your customers’ expectations.

Then you will be on the verge of excellence, and your review history will become a well-oiled customer generation machine. Remember, reviews can decide the future of your business, so take care of them!