The success of small companies can be strongly affected by online user reviews, a Harvard Business School research report has found. The study showed an improvement of one-star to a company’s rating on business feedback sites can lead to a 9% increase in sales. The report also claimed 80% of online shoppers will base their decision on whether or not to purchase items on customer reviews.
Constant monitoring of online reviews has become necessary for most online retailers, particularly with the rise of social media channels that allow instant feedback.
Seeing a three-star Yelp review complaining that her cupcakes were dry, she immediately and privately emailed the customer who wrote it to get more feedback. Luangrath baked another batch with a lower temperature to induce more moisture and redelivered the goods, prompting a positive follow-up from the customer on Yelp.
“If we hadn’t been monitoring it, it would’ve been on our Yelp page for some time,” she says. “Being in the food industry, it’s so difficult. Taste is so subjective. Too sweet. Not sweet enough. Too much frosting. Not enough frosting.”
Obsessive monitoring of online reviews has become a norm for tech-savvy small-business owners. The burdensome but necessary task has been made even more complex by the emergence of social-media channels, Twitter in particular, that empower opinionated customers.
But technology has emboldened business owners, too, engendering software tools that ease the process of tracking reviews on a multitude of channels and enable quick responses.