The challenge of online customer reviews

Image representing Yelp as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

A small business owner contacted me recently to cry foul over an experience he faced with Yelp. After several years in business, he had received his first Yelp customer review.

Unfortunately, the customer had little good to say and so the negative rating from this one entry weighed heavily.

How can a small business owner ensure good reviews and protect their reputation and brand?

This individual thought the best approach would be to solicit positive feedback from customers who have had a great experience with the business but never thought to sing its praises through Yelp.

At least a half-dozen satisfied customers chimed in, reporting their positive experiences on Yelp — but they were blocked, likely due to filters that Yelp has in place to guard against such “solicited” responses.

This seems unreasonable, since we know that satisfied customers rarely make a big deal out of their great experience. According to researchers, unhappy customers also often do not report dissatisfaction or disappointment to a business. They do something far more deadly. They tell friends and family.

And with a myriad of online consumer-review sites, some will now tell the world. Continue reading…

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