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Online reviews: Why they matter to your reputation and your bottom line

By Angie Ash

bigstock-Customer-Satisfaction-Feedback-90727424Years ago, before the Internet, business and product reviews weren’t necessarily relevant to a company’s success or failure. If a company disappointed a customer, a phone call was likely placed or a letter mailed to voice displeasure. When a client was extremely thrilled with a product or service, there may have been a phone call, although we all know it is human nature to complain more than it is to give praise. However, in today’s world, it is very easy to post your feelings about everything from a product or shopping experience to a sales associate or waiter. That in itself is reason for you to be on your best behaviour.

Everything from fast food restaurants to online directories want to know your opinion regarding your experience with their company so they can make improvements. Some even provide incentives to get that information. For instance, after at a recent visit to Starbucks where I purchased my coffee at the drive-thru with an app, I was asked via e-mail to rate my experience. The survey was less than 10 questions long and I was promised an extra star toward my next free drink purchase when I completed it. With tactics this easy, it’s a no-brainer to participate.

Every day on Facebook, I see people posting questions to their friends about where to shop, where to take kids for a fun day trip, where to eat a romantic dinner with a spouse, or which specialist is better. Although I get frustrated by these questions (just Google it already!), I also understand many people put the most faith in recommendations from friends and family. And if they can’t get the information they want, they’ll go online to look at reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and Trip Advisor, among others. I bet you’re nodding your head because you do the same.

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