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Using Reviews to Grow Your Business

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It wasn’t too long ago when we shopped solely at physical stores. At the time, we would pick up a product off the shelf and wonder “will this really solve my problem?” Today, with reviews, we can quickly see what others think about that product. We can see what they liked about it, disliked, and whether it worked for them. Reviews have become an important part of how customers make buying decisions.

Not only can customers read product reviews, but they can read reviews of services and companies as a whole. As a result, as a business owner, you need to keep abreast of what’s being said about your products, services and company, and best manage the reviews available online.

It’s important to first understand where customers find reviews. Sometimes, companies will post reviews on their own websites. Customers will find these on the site, or when doing a search engine query on the company’s reputation. A company page like growthink reviews is an example of reviews posted on a company’s own website.

But company websites are not the main source of reviews; rather the main source are on what’s known as review websites. These are third-party sites in which customers can rate products, services and companies, and employees can rate current and former employers.

Also, there are review sites depending upon your type of business. For instance, if you sell your products on Amazon, you will have Amazon reviews to manage. Or, if you operate a restaurant, you’ll need to keep an eye on your Yelp reviews.

Now that you understand the types of review sites, it’s time for you to focus on getting the best reviews. Knowing that customers will often research you before buying your products or services, you want them to see positive reviews.

While seemingly obvious, the best way to achieve great reviews is to create great products and services. Even if your initial offerings aren’t perfect, solicit customer feedback and use it to improve, so customers feel obliged to leave you great reviews.

Next, don’t be afraid to ask customers to review you. You can reach customer via email, social media or your website. In these mediums, request that they leave reviews for your company in the places you’d like. Or, if you operate a storefront, you can have signage or train your staff to ask for reviews.

Importantly, it’s okay, and inevitable, if/when some customers leave negative reviews. Just be sure to act appropriately when they do. This entails first leaving a counter-review to explain the issue. Explain whether the customer was right or wrong and if you did anything to rectify the situation. Your counter-review tells prospective customers you care about them. Next, use the review as appropriate to improve your product or service offering. For example, if the customer complained about the time it took your company to perform a service, figure out how to decrease such times.

It’s also important to note that if you ever wish to sell your business, you can be assured that acquirers will do an in-depth review of your customer and employee reviews during the process. This is particularly true if they plan to use your company or brand name post acquisition. Knowing what customers and employees say about a company provides incredible insight and intelligence to them.

In summary, keeping your head in the sand about customer reviews is not a viable strategy. Reviews are just too important to both the short-term and long-term success of your company. Clearly, if reviews about your company are summarily negative, they will hurt your company’s sales and profits. But if you focus on reviews, and continually solicit positive reviews, they can dramatically improve your reputation, your sales and the success of your company.

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