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The Importance of User Review Sites for Businesses

July 19, 2012 - Posted by Rilee Chastain

Sites like Yelp or Google Places can greatly benefit your business in many ways.

Gone are the days where the primary means of reaching out to new clients and sharing your company message was done through traditional marketing and advertising. The growth of the internet has completely shifted the ways that we look at sharing and receiving content, especially when it comes to what your customers truly think of your business.

For many years now, technology has shifted the way that consumers research and purchase goods and services online. However, consumers are also taking to the internet to provide feedback on a number of different companies all with the single click of a button. Not to mention, with a simple Tweet, Facebook update or a short review on Yelp.com, these reviews have the possibility to reach thousands of potential customers all with a single comment.

By utilizing citation sites, customers are also able to honestly rate and review your company’s goods and services. Unfortunately, many businesses see this aspect of user review sites as a negative resource. (What if the review comes from an angry or dissatisfied customer?) However, in actuality, review sites such as Yelp.com or Google Places can actually greatly benefit your business in the long run, as long as you handle both the positive and the negative in the right ways.

Today we have gathered some of the largest benefits of user review sites for businesses, as well as some helpful advice on how to handle reviews that may be less than favorable to your company.

The Benefits of Online User Reviews

Reviews and comments left by customers on citation sites are a great way for consumers to gather real advice and input on what a business can or cannot provide in regards to their needs. Not to mention, the fact that these reviews are left honestly and without the encouragement of the company itself, it makes them more trustworthy and appealing to other customers who are looking for truthful, unbiased feedback.

However, user reviews are not only beneficial for selling your company’s goods and services. Citations are also a large component of getting your company ranked on major search engines. For instance, having mentions and reviews on sites such as Yelp.com or Google Places will increase the degree of certainty that search engines have about your business’s contact info and categorization.

How to Deal with Negative Comments

No company ever wants to hear bad things about their business or products, especially when it is broadcast across the web for all the world to see. Fortunately, many citation sites have given business owners options to respond to negative comments and “do right” by unhappy customers. However, it is absolutely vital that you handle these comments in the right way in order to keep the situation from escalating further.

If you are faced with an unhappy comment on a user review site, be sure that you first respond quickly and courteously, and never go on the offensive. Instead, focus on making things right with the customer and offer a way for them to get in touch with you offline (via email or telephone) so that you can appropriately rectify the situation. No matter what you do, do not delete the comment or start an argument online―this can only come back to bite you in the future.

Do you have any other tips for dealing with negative reviews or sour comments online? Be sure to share them in the comments below!

 

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