review sites offering testimonials from past customers on all kinds of online
businesses, from mail order businesses to energy suppliers, they are a great way
for potential new customers to check out different companies. But it isn’t just
customers who benefit. Smaller, lesser known businesses also have a chance with
review sites to get their name out there and gain positive recognition. For
Ovo reviews have shown that these sites can help small energy suppliers compete
with larger, established businesses, and it’s the same story whichever online
industry you’re in. Provide a good service, gain good reviews and more
customers will come.
The power of review sites
What it is about review sites that make them such a powerful tool for small
businesses in particular? In comparison to larger and well-known businesses,
small companies are a relative unknown. This can act both for and against them.
On the upside, if customers don’t know what they are getting they can go into a
transaction with an open mind and be pleasantly surprised. Because they don’t
have a powerful brand name to trade on, lesser known companies often charge
less. They may also make an extra effort and provide exceptionally good service
to win customers over. On the downside, entering into a contract with a lesser
known brand can be risky endeavour for customers. Unfortunately, it’s not
always the case that smaller, up and coming businesses provide good value.
Review sites take some of the risk element out of the equation for new
customers. They provide an assurance that other customers have engaged with the
business and (hopefully) found them to provide a good level of service. Review
sites also break down the experience of past and present customers into various
fields. For example, there may be ratings on the level of service, value for
money, special deals or other criteria. This helps new customers to rate what
is most important to them and select a business accordingly. What is most
important for one customer, for example price, may not be the top priority for
another. Review sites also provide the opportunity to add personalised
comments, which again gives potential customers more information.
What does this mean for the small business owner? In a world where so much
business is won and conducted online, it is imperative to have a grasp of the
importance of review sites. Going back to basics, this means being aware that
the customers of today have a strong influence over the customers of tomorrow.
It is essential to provide all customers with a consistently good level of service,
for any one of them might write a review.
Dealing with bad reviews
Bad reviews happen and they need not mean disaster, however. What is most
important, besides trying to ensure they don’t happen again, is that potential
customers see that a business owner is prepared to listen to criticism and take
any necessary action about a particular issue. Respond politely and, if
necessary, state that you are looking into the problem and are taking steps to
remedy it. If it is a one-off, then drastic action may not be necessary. But
always respond to reviews, whether they are good or bad, in a polite and