Does your business rely on online customer reviews?

Check out our tips on how to manage your business’s online reviews…

Female staff member behind a counter serving a customer at a cafe bar.

Word of mouth promotion can be a powerful tool, in the real world and online. More and more people are using the internet to research a product or service and are turning to online reviews or social media ratings to help them make a purchasing decision.

What are customer review sites?

Customer or user review sites are a way for people to recommend or review businesses, products and services in an online public setting.

Benefits of online reviews for your business

Online reviews can benefit your business in a number of ways. For example:

  • More customers - positive online reviews may increase your chance of customers using your business or product over a competitor.
  • Free advertising – review sites can provide exposure for your business and help you reach people you might not have reached through traditional marketing channels.
  • Customer engagement - online review sites give you another platform to increase engagement with your customers.
  • Search engine optimisation – online reviews about your business or products may improve where your website ranks in search engine results. Some search engines take into account how many times your business name is mentioned in reviews, so if your business name or product name is mentioned a lot, you may appear higher in search results.
  • Opportunity to respond to negative feedback - even negative reviews might help you as they can provide an opportunity for you to identify and fix weaknesses.

4 tips for successfully managing online customer reviews

  1. Monitor your reviews – make sure you know what review sites your customers use so you can keep track of what people are saying about your business.
  2. Tell your customers – let your customers know what review sites you’re on and how they can post a review. You could try:
    • displaying the review site logos on your website and in your physical store
    • putting a review button on your website
    • asking a happy, satisfied customer to post a review.
  3. Manage the process - work out who in your business will monitor and respond to your reviews.
  4. Respond to reviews professionally – respond politely, regardless if the review is positive or negative. This shows customers that you’re taking an interest in what they have to say about your business. It’s important to manage your online reviews in a professional and honest manner to prevent customers from being misled.

How to manage negative reviews

The reality of user review sites is that you’re likely to get a negative review at some stage. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing! A negative review or a complaint can be an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your current and future customers – if you respond in the right way.

Respond to negative reviews in a way that is prompt, polite, honest and professional. If you respond negatively, you could damage the reputation of your business.

Responding politely shows that you:

  • care about your customers
  • want to provide good customer service
  • fix any issues your customers have had in the past. 

What about fake or misleading online reviews?

Posting positive reviews about your own business, or posting negative reviews about your competitor’s business, is not only dishonest –it’s also a breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Facts about fake or misleading online reviews:

  • Businesses that offer incentives to customers to write positive reviews, or remove or edit negative reviews risk misleading consumers and could be in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. This also applies to staff and any family or friends who are not genuine customers.
  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) can fine businesses for posting fake reviews (reviews not from customers).
  • If you know there are false or spiteful reviews on your website or a review site, you can contact the site and ask for those reviews to be removed. Be aware that the review site might disagree with your judgement, or be slow to remove the review.

Find out more…

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