TD;LR: Social proof is powerful. No matter what kind of business you have, online reviews have become a core signal for consumers in deciding which businesses to interact with.

Let’s review some statistics:

95% of consumers read reviews before making a decision.

The Power of Reviews

91% of consumers between 18 and 34 trust online reviews just as much as personal referrals.

Local Consumer Review Survey

85% of consumers believe local reviews older than three months are mostly irrelevant.

Search Engine Journal

Businesses with 9 or more recent reviews see an average increase in revenue of 52%.
Businesses with 25 or more recent reviews see an average increase in revenue of 108%!


Those are some pretty powerful statistics. So, let me ask you a few questions…

How closely are you paying attention to your business’s online reviews?

Have you generated more than 9 in the past two or three months?

Have you responded to the negative AND positive reviews?

How to effectively manage your online reviews

review rating options imposed on photo of lady looking at her phone

1) Engage with your customers

By regularly engaging and asking customers for reviews, you’ll have a much better chance of securing your online reputation.

70% of consumers will provide an online review when asked.

There are many ways you can proactively request reviews for your business such as adding your online profile information on the bottom of receipts, setting up a QR code at your checkout counter and training clerks to request reviews on the spot, automating requests through emails and text messages.

You’ll have much better luck if a consistent system is implemented so you’re not constantly thinking about or having to remember to send an email to each of your customers. Bonus if your system includes a follow-up with those that still haven’t left a review after a few days.

You might be thinking, “what kind of system are you talking about?”

We’re mostly referring to automation. By using a proper CRM (contact relationship management) system, you can usually tag or otherwise segment users within the system in several different ways. When a user in your system is tagged with a specific tag (“sale complete”) or perhaps after a specific period of time after they’ve been added (this will depend heavily on your business and how you interact with your customers), you can automatically send them a specific email asking them to share their feedback in select locations (Google, Yelp, industry specific marketplaces, etc.). Obviously, it’s critical that you’re actively collecting your customer’s contact details, specifically their name, phone and email address. If you’re not already doing this, start immediately!

2) Respond to ALL reviews

Your response to online reviews will act as a first impression for potential consumers reviewing their options before making contact or purchasing. In fact, 89% of consumers are more likely to engage with a business that responds to all of it’s online reviews. [Local Consumer Review Survey]

That said, there are a lot of templated based response systems out there. These are fine for getting started, but having the same response to all of your reviews won’t shine well on your business when someone is reading through them.

finger pushing a happy face to leave positive feedback

Positive Reviews

When responding to positive reviews, try to capitalize on their kind words with well-thought-out responses. It may seem unnecessary to comment when the review is glowing, this is your chance to reinforce customer loyalty and show your business is listening and values their customers.

  1. Be sure to thank the reviewer by name for taking the time to write a review.
  2. Acknowledge their joy/satisfaction with doing business with you.
  3. Remind the reviewer that their satisfaction is your priority and how happy you are it worked out.

Here is a quick example:

Wow – thanks for your kind words, {first name}! I’m delighted that {aspect reviewed positively} worked out and that you plan to {keep doing business with us / come back soon}.

We thrive on this type of feedback, so I’ll be sure to share this review with the team. Our goal is to {your company’s mission statement / goal}, and I’m really glad we were able to make it happen for you here with {aspect reviewed positively}.

Thanks again!
{your name}

finger pushing an unhappy face to leave negative feedback

Negative Reviews

When customers complain online, it’s critical that you attempt to show empathy and respond as cheerfully as you can. Remember, potential future customers will be reading these reviews and will be paying very close attention to how you manage customer relationships, particularly with those that are disgruntled. Also, keep in mind, almost all negative feedback will present you an opportunity to improve your business and processes and these customers should be thanked for that opportunity as well.

  1. Start with an apology, even if you disagree, and thank them for taking the time to share their experience.
  2. Repeat what they are stating happened indicating you understand their situation.
  3. Don’t offer excuses, rather, if appropriate, provide a short explanation of what happened.
  4. Let the reviewer know what you’ll do to ensure the situation doesn’t repeat itself.
  5. Provide what next steps you’ll take or offer a way for them to contact you/your team to further discuss the situation. Keep in mind, it is important not to further engage the conversation further online. Always offer to take it offline. If the reviewer continues to engage online, you disengage.
  6. Sign off with another thank you and apology.

Here is a quick example:

Hello {first name},

First off, thanks for sharing your feedback. I’m really sorry that {negative aspect} didn’t meet your expectations. Clearly, we fell short, and I apologize.

In the future, I’ll make sure that {steps you’ll take to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again}. The last thing we want to do is let our customers down, and moving forward, we’re going to do everything in our power to hold ourselves to that standard.

Again, we’re sorry we dropped the ball this time, but we hope you’ll consider giving us another chance. Feel free to reach out to me personally at {your email address} and I’ll see to it that you get what you need this time.

Have a great day,
{your name}

upcycling text on a light board behind a sewing machines with old blue jeans in the background.

3) Repurpose business online reviews

User-generated content (i.e. online reviews), are super powerful and are a testament to how well your business treats it’s customers. Positive reviews are proven to build trust and drive new customers to your business. So, use that to your advantage!


Feature and share your hard earned endorsements across various other communication channels.

  1. Add reviews to marketing materials such as brochures, billboards, window signage, in webinars, on your website, in email signatures, etc.
  2. Specific to your website, including reviews next to or near your call-to-actions can help drive conversations.
  3. Create social media post highlighting positive reviews. You can also tag the person or business that left the review to thank them, but also to build further awareness of your business.
  4. Transform the review into a case study that can be featured within your email newsletter and/or on your website.
looking down from above at a square table with four people meeting and in discussion.

4) Delegate online review management

Let’s be honest, depending on how many locations your business has, how many online profiles you’re managing and how many customers you have in a given week or month, continuously reaching out for reviews and responding to reviews in and of itself can be a full time job.

We’d argue that generating active online reviews from your customers is one of the most important marketing activities your business can engage in. Reviews increase organic local search weighting by 15% [Moz Local Search Ranking Factors], builds trust, and ultimately increases revenue.

This is why we offer an online review management service aimed at helping the service industry win their share of the market, outrank their competition, and win more business. If you’re interested, let’s chat about how we can work together to grow your business by generating more online reviews today.

About The Author
Justin Korn

Justin is the founder of Watchdog Studio, and former Director of IT at both Wells Fargo Securities and AirTreks. A prodigy of the dotcom era, he now provides businesses in Oakland, California and the surrounding Bay Area with honest, expert website services to drive growth.