Every business owner wants to receive a notification that they just earned a 5-star review online. Sometimes it’s scary when you first see that your business has a new review, before you know if it is positive or negative. Reviews are the lifeblood of businesses, because of the frequent use of the internet and search engines. Spectoos tells us that 88% of people trust an online review just as much as a word-of-mouth recommendation, and that over 70% of people say they will use a local service simply because it has positive online reviews. That is a lot! It’s pretty obvious that your online reputation and reviews are important, and certainly not something you want to miss out on. Knowing why customers write reviews is a good first step to earning some for yourself.


Experience-Based Reviews

Most people write their reviews based on either having had a really good experience with a business, or a really bad one. In fact, based on research done by givefivestars.com, over 50% of people write reviews simply because they are really happy with, or really frustrated with their experience. Of course, as a business owner, you are always striving to provide your customers with a positive experience. Knowing just how high the likelihood of receiving a review based on their experience is, might just be what pushes you and your team to really make sure it’s the best experience possible.


Informational Reviews

Many people who leave reviews are doing it in order to get some information out there. Either they are trying to give information to future customers, or to the business itself. For example, if they had an experience with an employee that was either really good or really bad, they might leave a review for the business letting them know. This way, they are giving information to the business in a public setting, likely because they know that it is more likely to be addressed that way. Other informational reviews are geared more toward future customers. Someone who has already visited your business will have insight and information that someone doing their research might need. This is a big reason it’s so important to treat each customer like they’re your favorite one. When they go to lend information to those trying to decide whether or not they want to use your business, you want that to be very positive and useful information, rather than an angry rant. In the same givefivestars.com (referenced above) research they performed, they found that over 15% of reviewers are leaving their reviews just to be informational to the business or future guests.


Helpful Reviews (Because They are Asked)

People are more willing than you might think to leave a review just to help someone out. You are a small business, and your customers know that. People love supporting small, local businesses. In fact, over 90% of consumers say they think it’s important to support small businesses (smallbiztrends.com). When you know that information, it’s pretty hard not to make the leap and just ask your customers to leave you a positive review. Let them know how much it would help you out, and that you would be appreciative if they’d take just a few minutes to leave you a review online. You will be surprised and just how many people are willing to do so. Being helpful and wanting to give back to the business who helped them is one of the main reasons consumers are willing to leave reviews. Give them a positive experience, and chances are, they’ll be more than happy to do the same for you.


“Need to Be Heard” Reviews

Unfortunately, there will always be those customers who leave negative reviews just because they “need to be heard.” Luckily, it’s not common, but it does happen. It’s possible that a negative review was left by someone simply because they wanted to complain, or had a bad day, or even because they think they will get something free from the business. The reason this is being mentioned is because it’s important to know that you should always respond to these types of reviews, just like you would the legitimate ones. Maybe there was a misunderstanding, and the water needs to be cleared by your response. Maybe the angry customer just wants to know that you’re paying attention, and will respond. Always let your customers know that you’d be happy to talk to them about the issues, personally. Give them a way to contact you that isn’t to public (by phone or email). Of course, you should always remember that your responses can be read by anyone and everyone, so keep it professional and friendly!


Keep displaying positive customer service, take pride in your work, and don’t be afraid to ask for reviews online! If you don’t already believe in the power of positive online reviews, I’ll leave you with this bit of information: Inc.com tells us that over 80% of people will make their decision about using a business or not, based on their online reviews!

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!