Online Reviews and Retail Performance — How to Win Customers

Reputation Staff Writer

The retail industry can be rife with customer-service challenges. From sourcing the right products, to hiring the right staff, to ensuring delivery of an optimal consumer experience, there is more than enough to keep retail executives stretched thin.

Now another service challenge looms in the enterprise retail landscape: How to deal with the explosion of online customer reviews — especially when you operate across multiple locations.

Your brand’s reputation has always relied on word-of-mouth, but online customer reviews today reach more eyes than ever before. This forces the question: Does your online reputation reflect the true quality of service you deliver? Do you know or are you just guessing?

Here’s how to manage online reviews to improve retail performance:

Monitor Reviews Religiously

When your managers are aware of what customers say about them online, they can see where their teams are succeeding, where they’re falling short and where they need to improve immediately.

Routinely and systematically monitoring online review sites eliminates customer-service blind spots. It delivers a clear understanding of what works for customers and what doesn’t.

With the ability to identify recurring issues, such as long wait times or unfriendly staff, at each retail location, your teams can then work to resolve those problems quickly.

Respond to Reviews Without Fail

Customers want their opinions to be acknowledged, whether positive or negative, so it’s important to always respond to their feedback.   

When your locations respond appropriately — and show that they care by demonstrating that they’re willing to improve identified areas of weakness in their operations — they can greatly enhance customer satisfaction and often turn an unsatisfied customer into an advocate.

Write Original Responses

Customers want to know that staff are responding to them personally, so it’s key to write a specific, original response addressing the customer’s experience. Encourage them to express happiness if the customer had a good experience. If they didn’t, offer apologies and promise to resolve the situation quickly. Make sure location managers follow through.

Generate Better Online Reviews

Positive online customer reviews contribute not only to a company’s reputation, but also to its bottom line. The Harvard Business Review reported that one additional star in an average online rating generates a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue.

To garner more positive reviews, have staff reach out to all customers, many of whom might not have thought to review you. This perpetuates a cycle of positive reviews to share.  

Promote Your Positive Online Reviews

Once you notice customers posting positive reviews, you can use those reviews to attract more customers. Syndicating reviews on your social media channels, such as Facebook, and streaming them on your locations’ websites will encourage other customers to submit feedback and earn your locations more business.

Learn More

To be a true leader in the retail industry, you have to build a strong presence online. One headache you don’t need is for negative reviews to damage your brand or stymie your ability to attract new customers, or retain the ones you have.

To create a more positive perception, you need to proactively employ an Online Reputation Management (ORM) strategy to ensure that reviews match the reality of your service quality.

Learn more about ORM in the Retail Industry.

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