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Making the Most of Customer Reviews

By Mechele Mills
Sept. 8, 2017 at 4:48 p.m.


In this day and age, customer reviews are a very influential part of growing a business. While advertising is an important tool for creating business awareness, customer reviews are also a way to increase exposure and customer confidence through an objective third party endorsement. Not only do customer reviews help businesses acquire more customers, but positive reviews can help protect a business' online reputation. According to the Harvard Business Review, online peer-to-peer reviews are powerful because they give customers a good sense of what it's like to use your goods or services.

"Some businesses love them, and some businesses hate them", said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. "Regardless of how businesses and consumers feel about online reviews, customer reviews are an important component to doing business, and they're here to stay."

BBB provides the following tips on how to make the most of customer reviews:

Ask them. It's important for business owners to know what their customers think about them. Encourage your customers to leave reviews. Make suggestions in your newsletter, ask customers after a satisfactory experience, or attach links to your business reviews in "Thank you" correspondence.

Display reviews where your customers can see them. This will not only help your customers feel more comfortable working with and purchasing from you, it will also encourage them to share their experience with your company.

Never pay for someone to write reviews for your business. Not only do some review sites forbid it, but the FTC also has legal rules which may make it dangerous to incentivize endorsements of any kind. If you are going to incentivize customers to leave a review, make sure your offer is for leaving a review, not for writing a positive review. For best practices sake, make sure all incentives are small and modest.

Make the most of your BBB Business Review. Not only can consumers get factual information about your business, they can share their personal experiences by leaving a review on a company they've done business with. The goal of BBB Customer Reviews is to provide additional information on organizations to help potential customers make educated purchasing decisions. Go to bbb.org for more information.

Use reviews to make your business better. Large companies tend to invest heavily in customer focus groups because they inevitably learn new information about why consumers chose them. Using customer reviews, companies with smaller budgets are able to obtain usable information to help make their businesses better. Carefully listen to your customers and use what you hear to strengthen your business strategy and marketing message. When you do so, you better position your organization to attract new customers and grow.

For more information on how to be a savvy business owner, go to bbb.org. To network with BBB Accredited Businesses and other professionals, join our LinkedIn group or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Mechele Mills is the President|CEO for the Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas. Prior to her role at BBB, she led and consulted organizations of all sizes, managing operations, sales marketing, and personnel for both the public and private sector. She holds a Bachelor's in Journalism/PR from the University of Texas at Tyler and a Master's in Business Administration from Baylor University.

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