Business Resource Center

How to Monitor and Manage Your Online Reputation

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Potential customers go to review sites to “star gaze." In fact, star rating is the No. 1 metric1 consumers focus on in a review.



Let your voice be heard, too

Although a bad review can sting, especially if you believe it's unjustified, it can actually be a blessing in disguise. First, it might alert you to a problem you didn't know you had, like a faulty product or surly staffer. In addition, it gives you a forum to respond to the issue and make it right (if possible), while publicly showing readers you're listening. That means you're not just helping create a fan out of the person whose problem you're solving, you're showing the rest of the world that you care enough to go the extra mile, since 96% of consumers1 also pay attention to how a business responded to a poor review. And research even shows4 that readers might feel more empathy toward your business if the review appears unfair.

To appease your critic, try to respond quickly (though you should wait until you cool off if a review has got you particularly hot) and as tactfully as possible. Start off by apologizing for their experience, even if it wasn't your fault. Then suggest they contact you or your customer service department if you have one, or say you'll reach out to gather more details if they left contact information. If you are able to satisfactorily address the situation, ask them if they will take the review down or post an update.

Of course, you should respond to the positive reviews, too. Thank the writer for their time and business, and if you're up for it, send them a free product or piece of swag to further cement their loyalty — and maybe earn another positive shout out.


Enlist the help of happy customers

Make no mistake — potential customers go to review sites to “star gaze." In fact, star rating is the No. 1 metric1 consumers focus on in a review — and fewer than half of consumers would consider patronizing a business or service with less than four stars.

While bad reviews and low-star rating may be inevitable, there is a way to counteract them – with good reviews. Often you just need to ask, given that nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers1 reported that they have written a review for a local business in 2020– a big jump from 66% in 2019.

Try to seek feedback soon after you delivered your product or service. This is when the experience will be top-of-mind for customers — and their write-up more thoughtful. You can add the request to a follow-up email, and make it extra easy for them by including links to the review sites you prefer.

Once you have those rave reviews, repurpose them widely — in social media, in your marketing, and sprinkled throughout your website. After all, good news should travel fast, too.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. "Local Consumer Review Survey 2020," Bright Local, published December 9, 2020, accessed March 20, 2021. Back
  2. Mention.com, accessed March 24, 2021. Back
  3. Hootsuite.com, accessed March 24, 2021 Back
  4. Thomas Allard, Lea H. Dunn, Katherine White, “Negative Reviews, Positive Impact: Consumer Empathetic Responding to Unfair Word of Mouth," Journal of Marketing, published May 21, 2020, accessed March 20, 2021. Back