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Many business owners—and the managers that they have put in charge—fail to understand the power of the written word. When a frustrated customer gets no help from the person in charge of your business, they often take those frustrations to the web via online reviews. If you’ve ever had a customer say, “I’m going to write a bad review”, then it might be time to start paying attention. According to Forbes Magazine, online reviews can have the following impacts.

90% of Your Potential Patrons Rely on Online Reviews

Before contacting your business, potential customers rely largely on online reviews. If they find poor reviews, a good percent will never try out your services. The worst part, though, is that you will never know that you lost a customer. Find out what people are saying about your business. Don’t dodge the criticism. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t face it head-on.

Online Reviews Impact 67.7% of Purchasing Decisions

If you have 10 unhappy customers who write negative online reviews, then your business loses those 10 customers along with nearly seven potential buyers who changed their minds after reading those negative reviews.

Do not delay making changes within your business to address the problems experienced by those 10 consumers. This may include retraining and getting rid of problem staff members. Additionally, there may be some damage control that you can do.

84% of People Trust Online Reviews as if They Were Personal Recommendations

You probably assume that word of mouth helped your business grow. You are correct! However, that word of mouth has taken on a new form. People maintain an online presence with their friends and family. Potential customers tend to look at online reviews as communicating valuable information.

Frankly, in many cases that is correct. Especially if you notice common threads throughout online reviews. One way to address the issue for your business is to maintain an online presence yourself and respond immediately to negative or positive reviews. When a review is negative, reach out so that everyone can see that you are willing to make a bad experience right.

74% of Customers Use Positive Reviews to Trust Your Business

If you ignore all of your online reviews, you potentially miss many customers who want to trust you and your services due to the positive reviews they read online. You might be surprised at how willing many people are to respond when you try to right a wrong. Sometimes, you can turn a negative review into a positive online report. You tend to gain loyal customers this way as well.

One example of a positive review comes from Green Gable Roofing—they even have a tab where potential customers can check out their ratings and reviews. One of their reviews said:

“Travis, Janele & Dave, I want to send my heartfelt thank you for my new roof. It looks great and the entire project was painless. Everyone, including the roofing crew, was professional, friendly, and a pleasure to work with. I’ve sent my Farmers Agent an email telling her how pleased I am with Green Gable Roofing and thanking her for suggesting I contact you. Thank you again & best wishes for continued success.”

As you can tell, there are multiple impacts that this review can have. The client is most likely to return to the company’s services if they need more roofing work done. Visitors to the site will see it, which will help them to trust the company and rely on them for their services. Also, the Farmers Agent who recommended them in the first place knows that they are recommending the right service and will most likely keep recommending them to other clients of theirs.

Overall, a quick response to a positive or negative review shows you valuable feedback from your customers. People trust a business that shows the individual has value. Turn online reviews into a business tool.