This is a great post, Nancy.
I think a lot of business owners feel powerless once a negative, perhaps even unfair review is out there. But it is worth getting familiar with at least the more popular crowd-sourced review sites, as there are often ways to reach out to unsatisfied patrons directly on their public review. This shows others reading their complaint right then and there that you value customer satisfaction and feedback.
It can not only create an opportunity to resolve a problem you may not even have been made aware of otherwise, but also make the whole interaction highlight your service in the end rather than a negative experience of a single reviewer.
I'm jumping in to offer my view on this. When I read a negative review, I realize this customer feels as if something was missing in the business encounter - poor service, product quality less than pleasing, etc. And if the business owner can hear about the review an quickly reach out to the customer and rectify this, it can turn into a win-win situation for bother business owner and customer.
Another thing to remember, many more unhappy customers will air their unhappiness about a service or product than those who are happy purchasers. We should all remember to leave a positive review when a product or service is noteworthy.. Take a few minutes and tell others how happy you were to shop at this business - share your experience.
One of the most important factors that can affect your brand's reputation is what others have to say about it. It's almost a type of currency.
Customer reviews have grown in the digital age and many users rely on existing reviews when deciding to make a purchase or subscribe. Some consumers form an opinion after reading just a few reviews.
Please talk about what your strategies for dealing with online reviews and soliciting feedback.
I look forward to hearing your ideas!