Today’s consumers are armed with a wealth of information and social media tools that allow them to share their experiences on the most popular review sites. Online reviews can be an invaluable resource for businesses looking to build brand awareness, customer trust, and trustworthiness. While they can also cause a lot of anxiety for companies that aren’t accustomed to managing public perception through social media. How much should you trust online customer feedback? Let’s take a look at why you should consider before responding to any customer testimonials.

What is an Online Review?

An online review is any type of written feedback a customer shares about a product or service. Online review sites, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, allow customers to leave reviews about local businesses and nearby attractions. Many online review sites also allow customers to leave reviews about their own experience with the business, expanding the reach of your brand’s reputation. 

Online review sites are an excellent source of data for businesses that want to grow their reputation and increase sales. They can also serve as a valuable source of feedback for customers, providing insight into the quality of the service your business provides.

Why Is Trust Important for Small Businesses?

As the owner of a small business, you’re probably aware of how important trust is for your success. It’s essential for building a relationship of trust with your customers. This way, you’ll be able to address any issues that arise and make sure that your brand keeps making a positive impact on their lives. It’s also important to remember that online reviews are just one piece of social proof. 

You can’t just focus on the number of reviews your business has and assume that they’re the key to success. Instead, you have to take an integrated approach to growth with social media.

When consumers trust a brand’s marketing messages, they’re more likely to trust the product itself and buy it. Trust is a key factor in building a successful business, and the best way to build trust with customers is to earn positive feedback. However, fully earning trust can be challenging, especially for smaller businesses. With the abundance of reviews on sites like Yelp and Google, you need to do more than survive. You need to thrive. Your reputation is built on the trust your customers place in your business.

How Does Trust Work in Online Reviews?

Trust is an important factor that businesses should consider in online reviews. Trust begins with the assumption that the person writing the review is a true and unbiased customer. You can only infer this information by reading the review and seeing the person’s name attached to the review. This gives you a basic idea of the person’s identity and level of experience with the brand being reviewed. 

Next, you have to consider the reviews themselves. You can’t just take the author’s word for how good your product is. Instead, you have to consider the customer’s experience with your product or service. Was there an issue that was resolved? Was the customer satisfied with the outcome? When you read customer reviews, you can draw conclusions about how trustworthy the individual is who wrote the review. 

When you understand these factors, it’s easier to determine the customer’s trustworthiness. If the customer appears to be knowledgeable about your business, has experience with your product, and is satisfied with the outcome, you can assume the review is trustworthy.

Should You Pay Attention to Your Small Business’s Trusted Reviews?

Yes! There’s no better way to earn the trust of your customers than to respond to reviews. Often, customers will leave reviews in hopes that a business will respond to their feedback. That’s even better! You can address the review points and make it clear that you appreciate the customer’s opinions and take their feedback seriously. Alternatively, you can ignore the review altogether. 

There are times when a bad review is warranted. For example, you might ignore a review that isn’t relevant to your business but is still negative. You should also ignore reviews that are spammy or inaccurate. It’s important to respond to legitimate reviews, as those are a great opportunity to show your customers that you care about their satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line when it comes to online reviews is that you shouldn’t rely solely on them to build your brand. Instead, recognize that online reviews can provide valuable, if not entirely trustworthy, insight into your business. While you shouldn’t completely ignore these reviews, you should keep them in mind and respond to them as best you can.