Online reviews can make or break a company, especially with today’s Internet prevalence.

Studies and surveys show that 90% of consumers check online reviews before using a business, and 84% consider online reviews as equivalent to personal recommendations.

Companies that do not keep track of their online reviews may fall on the wayside, either profit-wise, in reputation, or both. Here are 3 ways companies can use online reviews to their advantage.

Developing A Positive Brand

Online reviews offer businesses a firsthand view of the customer experience with a product or service. Using the Internet, customers can quickly share their reviews while the business can read them in real-time.

By responding to both positive and negative reviews, companies can build relationships with customers and show customers that their opinions are valued and acknowledged. As a result, customers and future buyers feel respected and perceive the company in a positive light.
Building up business reviews, especially positive ones, could establish a business’s prominence in its industry. Customers seek honesty, authenticity, and personalized interaction, and companies that exhibit these characteristics are usually lauded.

Increasing Sales

Additionally, positive reviews have been shown to increase profits. Statistics show that each additional Yelp star rating on a restaurant or other business equates to a 5 to 9% revenue increase. Also, a Cornell University study shows a direct correlation between an increase in sales and businesses responding to reviews.
However, negative reviews can drop sales as well. A business can lose up to 30 potential customers for each negative Yelp review.

Attaining Feedback for Improvements

On the other hand, negative reviews can serve as stepping stones towards a better product or service. Companies can embrace negative reviews and therefore gain crucial insight on how to improve their product or service. In other words, negative reviews can be “lemons to lemonade.”

A study revealed that business responses to negative reviews led a third of those reviewers to delete their review or replace the review with a positive one. Attentiveness to customers’ negative reactions may help redeem a reputation as well.

With the power of online reviews, companies hold the ball in their court and can develop strategies for creating and approaching an online community.