The Importance of Online Reviews

It’s no secret that online reviews in platforms such as Yelp! and Angi now hold great influence over the buying decisions of consumers. In major metropolitan areas, consumers rely on these review sites not only for testimonials and reviews but also to find businesses relevant to their needs within their geographical area. Good reviews provide valuable testimonials about your business. Yet, negative reviews cost your business thousands in potential dollars as well as require major damage control at times. Managing these platforms has become crucial in your digital marketing efforts. Here’s a few points to consider when managing these platforms that can help your business use these platforms to your advantage:

Don’t take online reviews personally

At Alter Endeavors, we always recommend that someone other than the business owner manages review platforms. Entrepreneurs take their business personally. Five star reviews are often a source of vindication while a one star review feels like an attack on the business’ integrity. Every business is going to have a negative review at some point- it’s how you respond to these negative reviews that matter. Yelp! has released studies that show the most powerful review is not a five star review but rather a one star review that was later revised to five star. How does my business go about “getting the user to revise the review”?

Our process for responding to negative reviews is called “The Four A’s”. First, remember, the customer is always right. Arguing over semantics or details will not help you “win” but rather scare away potential customers. Start by simply apologizing. Often times this is all the customer who posted the negative review is seeking. Then, thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention. Let’s face it: sometimes issues with customers may have never been brought to your attention as the business owner- these reviews can be valuable feedback about your internal process. Next, lay out the actionable steps that your business will take to resolve the issue. Finally, assure the customer that based off of these actionable steps the issue will not happen again if they choose to continue using your company’s services.

The “Four A’s” don’t guarantee that the users will change their online reviews. Sometimes people are stubborn and will be stuck in their mindset no matter what you the business owner try to do to rectify the situation. The process laid out above will at minimum put your best foot forward to potential customers that your business is reasonable and focused on providing the best customer service, even when you make mistakes (This is a nice way of saying, they’ll see that customer was crazy).

Don’t be afraid to ask for online reviews

You’ll be surprised how many previous customers will leave you a review if they had a positive experience with your business. The goal for your business should be at least 50 five star reviews or 100 reviews with an average 4.5 or higher. One simple tactic to increase reviews: include the link to your page on various review sites and asking the customer to leave a review in a follow up email. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews when asking previous customers.

A second tactic that we developed at Alter Endeavors uses our quiz tool, Catch Engine. Catch Engine allows the business owner to create a quiz that includes customized response pages/emails based upon the score of the quiz. By attaching a link to review platforms on response pages directed at users who scored in a positive manner on the quiz, Catch Engine has helped our clients boost their five star reviews on Yelp!, Google + and other online review sites. Square Cow Movers, for example, has almost 650 five star reviews. How powerful would that many five star reviews about your business be to your potential customers?


Keep your information relevant

As mentioned earlier, review sites aren’t just used by customers to learn more about the experiences others have had a with a business but also to find new businesses within their geographical area. Review sites allow the business to include their address, a phone number, website URL and even the ability to request a quote through the site (depending on the platform). If a customer finds your information through one of these sites, they may never go to your website before they contact your business. Make sure all of the relevant information you can provide about your business on these sites is current. It seems simple, but you would be amazed how many small businesses we come across with incorrect information on one or more review sites.

Online reviews are a large source of stress for a business owner. They are a publicly available evaluation of your business by a complete stranger at times. But that’s why they are so powerful. Implementing a strategy to grow reviews for your business can lead to exponential growth, while a review page littered with negative reviews can cost your business thousands annually. Using the tips outlined above, your business can master review sites and use powerful, real testimonials to grow your business.

If you would like more information on our quiz tool, Catch Engine, and how Catch Engine can grow online reviews for your business please contact me today at