Business development 22 September 2015

The importance of customer reviews: Dealing with positive and negative ones

The internet means customer reviews can travel fast
The internet means customer reviews can travel fast
In this digital age, it?s easier than ever for customers to voice their opinion and it?s essential that you embrace opportunities for review.

Harnessing praise can breed custom, while effective management of issues can nip potential damage to your online reputation in the bud. Here are some things you should consider for effective management:

Why you should embrace reviews

The customer journey has changed. Now, more than ever, customers research before they purchase. Most now will look online for information about your brand before they even browse your products. If they find bad reviews, they will most likely stay away. However, if they find glowing reviews they?re more likely to head to your website and potentially make a transaction.

The effect of a good product review

User generated reviews are an extremely effective endorsement tool, and something we use diligently at This is because people trust other customers and, ultimately, the power of peer review supersedes all other forms of marketing.

Every time a customer makes a purchase we send them an email encouraging them to review us, or the product bought. We incentivise this request by running a monthly prize draw of ?100, to maximise the number of responses. We then make these crowd sourced reviews available for new customers to consult.

What if the review is negative?

While a good review can lead to new custom, a bad review can have a much more damning effect.

The old saying is true: your customer will tell one person about a good experience, and ten about a bad one. For this reason, bad reviews are time sensitive. Damage can spread like wildfire so it is important to limit the impact of bad reviews.

We constantly monitor review sites and social media feeds so that we can address issues within two hours during the working week. Our first step is to try and take the complaint offline, directing the disgruntled customers to discuss their issue either by phone or email. This means we can limit how much of the negative conversation is shared with the entire online world.

Secondly, we take the time to listen to their issue and do all we can to appease the complainant. Turning their bad experience into a good one can transform them from a hater into an advocate, who not only continues to shop with us but is more likely to tell their friends how great we are.

Say thanks

A good review is lovely to receive and consolidates the good job your company does. But there?s no harm in dropping a quick thank you to customers for taking the time to review. Hotels do this to great effect on TripAdvisor. Showing your appreciation will make customers more likely to feel valued, to shop again and leave more reviews in the future.

Ian Cowley is managing director of

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