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The importance of customer reviews

Reviews are a double-edged sword. When customers love your services and talk about this on review sites, it can create more revenue for you. But if you get negative reviews, it can harm your business. The good thing is, you can save face by responding to it correctly.

This blog article will look at the importance of review sites, which sites there are, and how to respond to negative reviews.

Why do I need user-generated reviews?

According to survey of more than 58,000 US adults, some 70% trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family. 46% trust consumer reviews, 10% trust ads on websites and only 9% trust text messages from companies or brands ( Forrester, 2013). In short, user reviews have the potential to make or break your business.

As a new business, it is important to get reviewed as quickly as possible. Think about it, if you had to choose between a hairdresser with zero reviews or one with an average 4-star review, which one would you choose?

Do make sure you or family members don’t create false reviews though. Review sites have sophisticated ways of finding out about this, and will just delete all your reviews.

What review sites are there?

The most obvious place where your business can be reviewed is in Google. When getting a website with Trendzer, we always recommend setting up a Google My Business listing. As Google is often the first place where new customers will see your business, it is a very important site for reviews. If you want to know more about setting up a Google My Business listing, check out our previous blog on the subject.

Other sites where customers often leave reviews are Facebook, Yelp, Yell, TripAdvisor and ReviewCentre. On top of that, there are niche review sites; for example MyBuilder for tradesmen and iWantGreatCare for healthcare.

Check if your business is already listed on these sites, and claim the listing if you are. If you’re not on there yet, sign up for a free listing for your business.

How to get good reviews

When you’re absolutely sure that customers have had a good experience, you should encourage them to review you on Google and other review sites. Send an (automated) email, ask them, or give them a card with details on how they can leave a review. Explain how much it would mean to you if they could take five minutes to review your business, but never insinuate it needs to be a positive review.

Unfortunately, it’s not entirely avoidable to get bad reviews. Something might go wrong, or you happen to get a cranky customer.

How to respond to bad reviews

Your business is your livelihood and it’s something you’re passionate about. You do the best you can to make your customers happy, and that means it will sting if someone leaves a bad review. It’s difficult not to take a bad review to heart. People respond differently to bad criticism: they run away and hide, they get upset or they get angry. And here is the beauty of the internet – you don’t have to show any of those feelings online.

Step 1: Let it go

Leave it five minutes, an hour or a day. Take as much time as you need to feel like you can respond to the review in a non-emotional manner.

Step 2: Research

Go over the situation again in your head and try to look at it objectively. Ask your colleagues if they can remember this customer and hear their side of the story. Also look into the reviewer, does (s)he leave a lot of negative reviews? If it’s a valid review, use it as learning material to make your business even better.

Step 3: Respond

Always respond to negative reviews. It’s your opportunity to make it right for that customer and show other (potential) customers that you care.

Keep the following things in mind:

  • Apologise: The first thing to do is to apologise, it is a powerful way of making your business look good again. If you feel that you really aren’t to blame, try a ‘nonpoligy’, for example: “I’m sorry if you feel our triple cheeseburgers are too small. Many satisfied customers can’t finish their plate and we do our best to make everyone happy.”
  • Own up: If you were in the wrong, owning up to mistakes goes a long way. You don’t need to go into detail here, the shorter the sweeter. Make sure you explain how you will make sure this doesn’t happen again.
  • Correct: When the customer has had a truly bad experience, it is good practice to offer a voucher, a freebie or a refund. By doing this, you show other that your business obviously cares about their customers!
  • Humour: A good way to respond to a negative review, especially if you don’t agree, is to add a little bit of humour in. Disclaimer: humour doesn’t work for every service and not for every complaint.


In the end, the success of your business does not depend on the opinion of one customer, so don’t worry too much if you get a bad review. Just remember to respond to it using the above guidelines.

We’re full of good ideas on social media and online marketing at Trendzer. Call us on 0800 047 6777 and ask about our Search Engine Manager Service.

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