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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 26 April 2021
  • Jelani Markus

Ultimate Guide to Customer Reviews for Small Businesses: 2021 Edition

If you produce and sell a product or provide a service, the chance that some customer somewhere has written a review about you is nearly 100%. Reviews have become an absolutely essential tool for customers in this day and age who want to have their voices heard. If customers love what you bring to the table, you’ll hear about it. The same is also true if they aren’t satisfied.

While customer reviews may seem like a phenomenon outside of your control as a small business owner, there are many ways to turn the tide so reviews are more positive and helpful in driving customers to your product or service.

woman taking photo of her food

What are user reviews?

User reviews are testimonies created by customers and shared online. Sites like Yelp are used to recommend and review anything from restaurants nearby to the best electrician in your neighborhood. Nearly all businesses can be found on some sort of user review site, and reviews can have a significant impact on how successful a business can become.

Where can you find reviews for your business?

To get a clear picture of how customers view your business, it’s a good idea to expand where you search for user reviews. Many businesses will rely solely on Yelp as mentioned above, but they are only an example one of the sources available for customers to share experiences and for businesses to learn of those experiences and respond. All of the following are great places to locate customer reviews:

While some of these sites are best suited for only specific business types, many are used for a variety of business models. Keep your business in mind as you scan the web for reviews.

How should you respond to user reviews?

What do social media influencers, friends, family members and user reviews have in common? Trust. People take recommendations more seriously from those they trust or have a relationship with. When you consider the power of user reviews, it’s important to have a plan of action when responding to user reviews.

Stay active with review interactions. When you see a positive review about your small business written in an interesting way, take the time to comment back. You may be surprised how positively received comments from a brand or company can be when a customer is a big fan. That additional acknowledgement can work wonders in pushing word-of-mouth goodwill, which can pay back dividends.

Don’t be afraid of bad news. All reviews can’t be positive, unfortunately. No matter how beneficial or popular your small business, you can’t be all things to all people. Some reviews you read will be less than glowing. And because humans have a bias toward negativity, bad reviews stick in people’s mind more than positive ones. When a negative review is left, use it as an opportunity to engage, and keep these tips in mind:

  • Thank them for leaving a review.
  • Apologize for their experience not meeting expectations.
  • Offer an opportunity to reach out to you directly.
  • Don’t get upset or take it personally.

You can’t control what was said about your small business, but you can control how you respond. A well-crafted response with a sincere desire to help make things better has the power to earn respect and positive views from customers.

Control the narrative when you find negative reviews from posters who aren’t being authentic. You can always look over the terms of service for sites to help you identify and flag reviews provided in bad faith. If you can establish that a review is disingenuous (such as a review for a product made before it was available), you’re within your right as a small business to do what you can to protect yourself.

Staying up to date with reviews of your small business is a smart habit to develop. Customers are constantly letting you know their opinion in an easily digestible and interactive format. When you know how users really feel, you’re better equipped to address feedback and work to elevate your business.

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