Why Your Small Business Reviews Are So Important

There is nothing like getting that 5-Star online customer review! Conversely, it can be downright nauseating when you get that first scathing review.

What do these online customer reviews mean and how should you manage both good and bad reviews? Do you savor the positive and ignore the negative? What impact do these reviews have on your small business?

Owning a small business is hard work, every customer, client, and sale has to be earned. So maintaining and managing your online customer reviews is critical to ensure your business success.

What Do Those Customer Online Reviews Really Mean?

Positive reviews obviously benefit businesses. But how exactly do these positive reviews equate to an actual business bump? 

First, each star increase in your rating will create up to a 9% jump in your businesses' revenue. In a recent survey conducted by BrightLocal, 49% of people will not consider a business with a rating lower than four stars.  Eighty-four percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation. Unquestionably, positive reviews can be a boost to any business if businesses can make the most of them.

However, just as positive reviews can give your business a boost, negative reviews can be quite damaging. Bad reviews can destroy a brand's loyalty and discourage customers. Not all reviews are created equal; some you can overlook, but most have to be considered detrimental to your business. A single bad review will result in 22% of consumers not spending with that business; that number jumps to 59% after three bad reviews and to 70% after four or more bad reviews.

Most importantly, however, is the effect online reviews affect your online search ranking.  It’s not shocking since reviews influence customer behavior so dramatically that Google search ranking is heavily weighted by the quality, number and owner responses to online customer reviews. 

No Reviews? You Should Worry.

No reviews can actually be worse than having bad reviews. Consumers are leery of businesses that have no reviews; they view these businesses with a sense of skepticism and distrust especially if your competitors are swimming in reviews.

A lack of reviews are problematic for any business, and it's a problem that you will need to address sooner than later.

Getting and Managing Online Reviews.

Bottomline is that you have to start collecting more online customer reviews. However, it will take some work and some patience. Your biggest challenge will be to tapping into those customers who've had a positive experience and to encourage them to give you feedback people can see.

Here are some basic steps to take:

  1. Deliver a great experience. If you thrill your customers they are highly more likely to take the time to submit a review on your behalf.
  2. Make the review process easy. (download free email templates)
  3. Keep it personal if you can. By personalizing your ‘ask’ there is a 30% higher likelihood your customer will act.
  4. Consider multiple channels to collect feedback (Yelp, Facebook, Google). This decision will be based on what type of business you're in.

Let’s face it; there is no way to escape that negative review. You're bound to come across a few but seeing them as much as an opportunity will help you deliver a better customer experience. The one luxury you don’t have is NOT to respond; you must respond to every negative review because others are watching how you handle them. Silence can be deadly, but a well-crafted response can be as impactful as a positive review.

Seventy-eight percent of consumers trusted businesses more that responded to negative reviews than those that didn’t. They viewed these businesses as genuinely concerned with customer service regardless of the outcome.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Respond in a courteous and professional manner.
  • Take responsibility no matter what. In this case, the customer is always right.
  • Be sincere in your response.
  • Rectify the issue if you can. Offer a solution that you feel could delight the customer and don’t offer some half-hearted attempt to correct the problem - your customer will see this as an insult.
  • Never, ever call out or blame the customer.

Online customer reviews are an invaluable tool for small businesses for many reasons. Don’t neglect to get them or to respond to them - see this as an opportunity to stay on top of issues and make an impression.

To assist you we've created email templates that are free for you to use.


Remig Raffanti

rSquare - Squarespace Web Design Studio, 554 Box Elder Lane, Grafton, WI 53024, USA

rSquare is a Squarespace design studio specializing in website design for restaurants, musicians, nonprofits and small business. We are based in Milwaukee Wisconsin but serve clients nationwide.