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Earning Loyalty via Negative Reviews

Your company’s online reputation can significantly impact your business, but negative online reviews aren’t all bad.

Shoppers are increasingly reliant on online reviews when deciding where to shop, and about 44 percent of consumers use the site Yelp to look up businesses, according to an article from The New York Times.

If stores have one-, two- and three-star reviews online, rather than four- or five-star ratings, then customers notice and often take their business elsewhere. Sometimes, those negative reviews can mean the death of a store.

However, identifying and solving unhappy customers’ problems can pay off big time. Customers talk about where they shop, and if they complain on Yelp or other online review sites about your business, then you have the opportunity to learn what they’re saying.

So, retailers need to pay attention to online reviews, and when a bad one pops up, “it’s a race to stop the bleeding,” an independent retailer tells the Times. Bad reviews can snowball, if they’re ignored.

Offering discounts, free product and other compensation to unhappy customers is a small price to pay than the cost of lost business or closure. Fixing bad experiences with your business can win you customers who will give you four- and five-star reviews in return.

“Turning around one-star reviews creates lifetime customers – and better reviews draw more customers,” the article says

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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