Cameron Prockiw is the founder of Vovia and has helped top companies around the world use the internet more effectively for over 20 years. Cam also enjoys traveling, experiencing different cultures, and learning new things.

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The 7 Keys to Generating Positive Online Reviews

Positive online reviewsMany studies over the years have shown that online reviews are very powerful as they’re both sought out and trusted by consumers.  The latest, the Local Consumer Review Survey (2012), found that of the people surveyed 76% indicated that they use online reviews to determine which local businesses to use.  In addition, they found that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This last one warrants repeating… 72% of people trust online reviews as much as asking a friend.  Wow!  From these types of numbers, it’s easy to see how important online reviews have become.

The findings of this survey are very much in-line with other surveys, but this particular study is particularly interesting as they also asked the same questions in 2010 and found that both of these stats have increased over the past two years, both in the increasing number of people checking online reviews (5% increase) and also the growing level of trust in online reviews (also 5% increase).

So how do you encourage positive online reviews for your business?  The following will provide you with the keys to generating positive online reviews:

  1. Provide a good product and/or service.  This really should go without saying, but it’s easy to let quality slip or not keep pace with competition.  Generally, great companies receive overwhelmingly positive reviews, so strive to be great.
  2. Pay attention to the reviews you’re already getting.  Notice what you’re doing well and even more important, what you need to improve on.  Check your reviews regularly and use them to improve your product and/or service.
  3. Ask for reviews.  Don’t be pushy about it, but let your customers know that you value their opinions.  Suggest sites that they can post reviews such as Yelp, Google+ and TripAdvisor.
  4. Thank reviewers.  Thank reviewers for taking the time to provide their feedback, both good and bad.  It will show that you value their time and effort, encourage more reviews, and help to build a connection with reviewers.
  5. Respond quickly to negative reviews.  They key is to respond quickly but NEVER get defensive, EVER.  Instead, look at this as a way to make your product/service better by evaluating and fixing the problem.  The reviewer has taken their time to let you know of a problem, so value that feedback and find a way to make their experience better.  Even in the odd case where you don’t agree with a negative review by a customer, try to find a way to make it up to them as often they will go back and update a negative review once you’ve addressed it.
  6. Take the conversation offline.  Reach out to negative reviewers directly and try to resolve the issue privately.  Responding publicly can put you in a defensive position to begin with and can stand in the way of achieving a resolution (which may include an apology, an offer of restitution, or many other make-good scenarios that you may not want to make public).
  7. Be OK with a few negative reviews.  Understand that you can’t be all things to all people, so determine when a negative review is about something that you can’t fix and be OK with it.  For example, even French Laundry (one of the world’s best restaurants) has some negative reviews saying that it’s too expensive.  But they understand that the people that leave these reviews aren’t from the audience that they’re after, so they let those ones go unanswered.  All in all, remember that it’s a numbers game.  You’ll get the odd negative review no matter how good your business is, but make sure that your reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to generating positive online reviews.