A review can make or break a lot of things, including businesses. When a customer is happy with a business—or more likely, unhappy—they often post a review online. ZenBusiness decided to measure just how much weight those words are given.
In a survey that included both employees who monitor social media reviews for businesses and customers who have posted reviews, it found that reviews had a major impact on a business’ success. The impact is felt more strongly by newer businesses, though not by much. Negative reviews are a blow nearly 100 percent of the time for new businesses and about 97 percent for older businesses.
One of the ways businesses can mitigate the negativity is by directly addressing the criticism. Over 75 percent of respondents over 40 years old had stopped patronizing a business that hadn’t addressed the issue they posted about. Of those in their 30s, 61 percent had done the same; and of twenty-somethings, 56.5 percent. Also, 33 percent of people in their 20s reported making a negative review more positive after the business responded; 27 percent report removing a negative review after a response.
Oddly, newer businesses are less likely to start a dialogue with their customers: About 95 percent of businesses that have been around for more than 10 years reached out to customers, but only about 87.3 percent of new businesses did the same.
The flip-side to all this is that good reviews can bring in new business. Newer businesses say they see about a 97 percent return of some kind on positive reviews and older businesses about 98%.
It’s not breaking news that social media can be an echo chamber and can also serve as a means of meaningful communication. Given the stakes, business owners are best served by taking the time to get feedback from their customers and to reach out to them for meaningful conversation.