The way consumers review businesses has changed drastically over the last 20 years. In the 20th century, customers complimented, criticized, and discussed the merits of different businesses through analog media. People met up to talk about businesses in public places, wrote their opinions in newspapers and magazines, and shared advice directly with business owners.

In today’s business world, clients have a seemingly less direct approach to reviewing companies and their practices. They often post their criticisms to online forums and review sites, where these critiques are seen all over the world wide web. Some business owners see these online reviews as an obstacle to their success.

In reality, the exact opposite is true. Quality online reviews are one of the best ways for businesses to succeed in the 21st century. Business owners and their administrative staff need to embrace the power of reviews to bolster their existing clientele and expand to new markets.

Reviews are generally qualitative rather than quantitative. They capture the feeling a customer had after visiting your business. These emotional responses, when encountered in an online setting, can dramatically affect the opinions of other potential customers.

At Weave, one of our goals is to help businesses take advantage of the power of quality reviews. We have seen how good reviews build trust with current and future clients. Trust ties customers to businesses and makes them more likely to become evangelists for the businesses they frequent.

Below are five ways to build trust using quality reviews.

We will also briefly discuss how Weave’s combination of hardware and software solutions unleashes your business’s ability to collect, share, monitor, respond, and request online reviews.

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9 out of 10 people check online reviews before choosing a business

Weave helps you easily collect and monitor reviews on Google and Facebook. These reviews can be some of the best marketing for your business.

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1. Collecting Reviews: Valuing People

As mentioned above, many businesses neglect to collect reviews altogether. They view the process of collecting reviews to be either unnecessary or unnecessarily difficult. What these backward-thinking organizations fail to realize is that they are losing opportunities to build trust, and in more ways than one.

When businesses ask for reviews, much of the time they come across not as a self-serving gesture, but rather as appreciative of customer opinion. Collecting reviews shows that your business values the people it serves over the profit it makes. It demonstrates that your organization is mature enough to accept compliments and take valid criticism.

The more people feel their favorite local business values their opinion as customers, the more they are going to trust that business. Like in any other human relationship, people want their voices to be heard. If your clients feel that their voices are being heard, they will exhibit greater trust in how you handle business.

Collecting reviews can happen through multiple avenues. Customers can fill out forms right there in your office, they can send text reviews by SMS, they can share their thoughts directly on your company website, or they can post their feelings about your business on review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

Your job as a business is to encourage them to do so by creating a culture of trust. This trust comes first from letting your clients know that their opinions are valued.

2. Sharing Reviews: Getting Out There

The next step in the process of building trust with quality reviews is ensuring that these reviews are published in prominent places. Businesses that don’t strategize about where to publish reviews don’t get the same response from current or potential customers as those that deliberately seek out those forums most likely to reach a wide audience.

Sharing reviews in local magazines, newspapers, and on billboards is all well and good. However, the future of advertising is online. As an extension of this trend, businesses should be focusing their energy on posting reviews on popular internet review sites.

If people are seeing quality reviews on prominent sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, they are likely to have a higher level of trust in your business. Most of us go straight to one of these sites to read the opinions of other consumers well before stepping into a new restaurant, calling a new mechanic, or visiting a new doctor. That’s because these sites have shown an ability to gather reviews and rate businesses reliably.

By posting the quality reviews your business collects on the right online forums, you build trust not only with your current clientele, but with prospective clients. This sharing also demonstrates the sort of transparency that’s attractive to most customers.

3. Monitoring Reviews: Keeping Things in Check

Reviews are constantly being posted to websites, with or without your knowledge. Many businesses don’t keep up with what’s being said about them online. We all understand that the internet provides a whole spectrum of opinions, from gushing enthusiasm to unabashed hatred, about individual businesses and issues.

Instead of ignoring this vast range of opinions, businesses should keep track of their status on all popular review sites. This monitoring isn’t about keeping up with gossip or simply navel-gazing. It’s about being aware of and attentive to the reactions of clients to your service and the ideas they may have about improving it.

Sure, some reviews are wildly inaccurate or inappropriate. However, some reviews provide insightful praise and thoughtful critiques that prove invaluable to business owners and their customers. If businesses don’t make a concerted effort to find and promote these reviews, they’re missing out on an opportunity to cultivate authentic, grassroots marketing.

When businesses dedicate part of their marketing strategy to monitoring online reviews, they prepare themselves to build trust with customers by responding to the various reviews they encounter.

4. Responding to Reviews: Being Proactive

Even when businesses do a decent job of monitoring reviews online, they sometimes choose to read them from a distance and never interact with their customers in cyberspace. This passive online behavior can put businesses at risk of being taken down by a few outraged clients or shady competitors.

The proper way to manage online reviews is being active. If your business gets a glowing review on a site, your team should reach out to that reviewer and ask to use the quote on the company website or newsletter. If someone publishes a scathing review, efforts should be made to ameliorate the situation or, in the case of false claims, notify the review site administration.

Those posting enthusiastic reviews are generally flattered by the request to use their experience in other marketing efforts. The customers posting intensely critical reviews may never gain complete trust in your business again, but having a diplomatic conversation with them online decreases the likelihood of them continuing a crusade against your business.

Whether reviews are positive or negative, responding to them in a proactive and professional manner establishes trust with present and future customers.

5. Requesting Reviews: Replenishing the Supply

Once they collect and share a few quality reviews, lots of businesses are content. They stop worrying about reviews and leave the same quotes on their website for years. This stagnancy eventually comes back to haunt the businesses that allow their marketing fields to lie fallow.

The better approach to online reviews is to consistently request them. This strategy doesn’t mean pummeling people with requests. It means reaching out at key moments to ask for reviews from satisfied customers.

Our research shows that the best time to request reviews is immediately after customers get quality service from a business. It doesn’t matter how that review is collected; what matters is that you and your office staff take the initiative and speak with clients about sharing their opinions.

This point ties in with our first one. Requesting and collecting reviews builds trust by showing people that you care about their feedback. Business communication is not a one-way street. It’s a conversation between a service and its customers.

Requesting reviews is vital to having the type of conversation that builds trust.

Weave Builds Trust with Quality Reviews

Online reviews are an essential method for building trust between your business and its clients. The process of building trust through quality reviews includes collecting, sharing, monitoring, responding, and requesting them. These activities are all different sides of the same theme: quality reviews are a must for 21st century businesses.

Weave has developed hardware and software tools dedicated to helping businesses utilize online reviews. With our integrative approach, businesses can ask for reviews by text with only two clicks. We give you the ability to track and respond to reviews on multiple review sites, like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Soon, we will be able to provide your business with a template to create and send out company newsletters and review requests by email.

A dental office in Oklahoma increased their new patient flow by 324% after beginning to use to Weave’s auto-text review invitation. This massive growth was the result of increasing new patients from 17 to 76 a month and online reviews from 10 to 200 a month. Business booms when companies build trust through online reviews.

Schedule your free demo with Weave today to discover how our toolbox can improve your online review strategy.