Customer Reviews: Critical to Small Business Success

Small business owners that have not yet developed a strategy to leverage customer reviews to grow your business need to give it the attention it deserves.  We help you get started with this guide by providing simple, actionable advice.

Why should you care about customer reviews?

Middle aged business owner Marco uses flex funding to fuel production.Customer reviews are about the success of your business.  Reviews—mostly of which are online these days—are part of the decision-making process for the vast majority of your potential customers In fact, recent studies state over 99% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision.  There is no question about it: what people have said about your business in the past will affect how many people choose to do business with you in the future.  So, what are your customers saying?  Are they saying anything at all?  Are your competitors doing a better job?  You need to know!

Do customer reviews apply to my small business?

If you sell any product or service to consumers, the answer is yes.  It doesn’t matter what business you’re in; if you rely on customers to drive results, you can be sure that most of them rely on reviews to decide whether to do business with you. This applies to auto body shops, medical clinics, landscaping services, retail stores, HVAC installers, and everything in between.  Surely, whether you realize it or not, what people have say about you is impacting your business.  The only question is, are you doing everything you can to use that information to your benefit?

5 tips to make customer reviews work for your business:

  1. Stake your claims

    Claim your business name and address on the main sites.  Start with the basics of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Yellow Pages and the Better Business Bureau.  Make sure the business name, address and phone number is written exactly the same across all of them, so that Google’s search engine is certain they are connected.

  2. Ask for reviews

    Next, ask customers directly to leave a review of your business.  For example, print it on your receipts, include a link in your email promotions, or offer an incentive like a monthly prize–whatever it takes!  Let your customers know you appreciate their business and give them the opportunity to leave a review at every chance.  You may be surprised how many of them are willing to share their opinion!

  3. Read and respond to your reviews

    Read reviews as they come in (daily or at least weekly) and respond to as many as possible.  It can be as simple as “Thanks” for a positive comment, and more importantly, “Very sorry to hear about your experience…” when it’s negative.  Furthermore, don’t forget to offer to fix any problems that may be reported. You need to demonstrate that people can trust you to make things right.

  4. Share reviews of your business

    By all means, re-publish your positive reviews across your other marketing channels!  Feature a positive review from Google on your Facebook page; Tweet it out to your followers; or print it in your next newspaper ad.  Undoubtedly,  authentic and positive customer feedback can help convince others that your business can be trusted, which is a primary factor in their decision-making process.

  5. Learn more about your business

    Over time, customer reviews will provide you with a wealth of information that you can apply to your business.  This could include anything from identifying pain points in the customer experience to understanding misconceptions about your business.  Use them to draw attention to new opportunities to add to your products or services.  You could determine you can reposition your brand to capture a bigger market.  Big companies regularly invest in customer research and focus groups to find out this type of information, but it’s out there for free!  And customer reviews offer what may be the best insights of all for small business owners.  Learning what your customers are saying about you to others is invaluable.

Why does ZING Funding care about my customer reviews?

Above all, ZING supports the success and independence of small businesses.  It’s why we exist.  Small business owners like you make up about 99% of all businesses in America and generate almost half the private-sector jobs in the country.  Additionally, you make invaluable contributions to innovation that impacts the prosperity and security of our families, friends, and neighbors.  And, leveraging customer reviews is one small thing that can play a critical role in shaping the future success of your small business.

Updated: March 27, 2024