How to Use Customer Reviews to Improve your Business

Your customer reviews are an underrated key to improving your business’s offering and boosting customer experience. 

Both positive and negative reviews can be a great method of identifying what customers want from your business. Online reviews will highlight areas of your business that require attention and improvement whether that’s better customer service or more accurate service quotes.

When you clearly understand what customers want and expect from your business, you’ll find it easier to make improvements and maintain a stronger base of loyal customers. 

In this article, we’ll show you how you can use customer reviews to improve operations departments, implement improvement plans, and boost your online marketing campaigns. 

How Can You Get All of Your Reviews in One Place?

Your online reviews can be scattered all over the internet. Sure, you can set up notifications from each one individually, but to see larger trends across all of your sources, it makes sense to congregate them all in one centralized location.

Storing all of your reviews in one place will help you more effectively analyze positive and negative reviews. Once you’re able to identify different trends within your customer reviews, it’ll be easier to take the correct steps to use them to improve your business. 

How do you get everything in one place? You have a couple of options:

1. Copy and Paste Them From 3rd-party Review Sites

Depending on your business’s industry, you probably receive reviews on multiple major and industry-specific 3rd-party review sites. 

A few examples of major review sites include: 

  • Google
  • Yelp 
  • Facebook

First of all, you should make sure you’ve set up or claimed an account for your business on all of these 3rd-party review sites.

There are also a variety of industry-specific 3rd-party review sites:

Industry review sites can surface even more valuable insights, because they offer a more qualified reviewer who had the insight to discover your business via the industry-specific listing.

Once you have accounts on each of these review sites and some customers have left some reviews of your business, you could simply copy and paste the reviews into a centralized document.

While this technique is a great way of starting to analyze customer reviews, you may find it time-consuming to manually monitor each review as you begin to accumulate more customer reviews. 

2. Use a Review Management Software Platform 

Review management software platforms automatically track and filter customer reviews, saving your team countless hours in the long-run.

If you don’t want to set time aside each month to copy and paste reviews, a review management platform could automatically store and categorize them in a central dashboard for you. 

On GatherUp, use custom filters to display reviews that are relevant to different ratings, activities, and locations. This is particularly relevant for franchise businesses who want to find ways to analyze how their different locations are performing. 

Read more about reputation management for franchises and improving customer experience with feedback. 

Using Customer Reviews to Improve Operations

Customer reviews provide an invaluable insight into what customers think and feel about your business. When you know how to use customer reviews, it’ll be easier to make improvements across the whole of your business. 

Firstly, you need to understand what you’re trying to identify in your reviews. Are you looking for areas where your service team could improve? Do you want to find out if the wait times in your store are too long?

Use Reviews to Identify Areas for Improvement

While negative customer feedback is never going to be pleasant, all businesses will receive it at some point. In fact, 19% of the reviews the average business receives are negative. 

When used properly, negative reviews are a powerful way of implementing change across your business. 

Here are a few ways to identify areas for improvement in your customer reviews: 

1. Manually look for trends

Go through your customer reviews and see if there are any recurring topics that customers mention about your business. 

If one customer has talked about slow customer service, chances are that others have mentioned the same issue. 

Keep a tally of how many customers are complaining about each issue to understand which ones are the most prevalent. 

2. Use tools to identify recurring review themes 

Tools can help streamline and automate the process of looking for repeat themes throughout your reviews. 

With GatherUp, our Insights Report uses AI to identify keywords in review content and uncover information about your business. This saves you time from having to go through all customer reviews yourself and figure out repeat trends. 

Powerful filters let you auto-tag content and detect selected keywords in 1st and 3rd-party review content. Since customers tend to be more honest in 3rd-party reviews, this feature is particularly powerful for uncovering their most common reasons for praising or complaining about a business. 

Take a look at some industry examples of how these tools could help your business: 

Hair salons

Hair salons will likely want to find out which stylists consistently provide top-quality service and whether customers leave your premises feeling positive about their new cut or color. 

Within the Insights Report, we can see the impact of the most commonly used keywords within the reviews for Prestige Salon in Watertown, South Dakota:

Color coding and strong visual formatting make it easy to see that ‘amazing job’, ‘prestige’, and the stylist ‘Haley’, are the most commonly mentioned keywords in the salon’s positive reviews. 

Within the dashboard, you could also use filters to identify and segment ratings like Facebook recommendations: 

Google currently offers review attributes for 275 industries and counting. Review attributes are great for pinpointing what customers found to be the most memorable positive or negative elements of your business. 

Typical review attributes include “cleanliness”, “professionalism” and “punctuality”. 

Within the customer activity dashboard, use filters to identify different Google review attributes:

Take a look at our (almost) complete list of Google review attribute categories to see if your business’s industry is on the list. 

Restaurants  

Your top priority may be providing top-quality customer service and an overall enjoyable dining experience. 

If you were concerned that standards were slipping in one of your restaurant franchise’s locations, you could set up filters to identify when someone includes the words ‘rude’, ‘slow’, or ‘long’.

Take a look at this example of the Boston based taco franchise restaurant, Bartaco: 

For executive and operations teams, the business report could help you compare the Boston location of Bartaco with other Bartaco franchise locations: 

HVAC Services

HVAC businesses may want to prioritize punctuality, satisfactory completion of the job, and responsive customer service. 

Within GatherUp, you could set up filters to detect keywords like “affordable”, “tidy”, “rude”, or “slow”:

Analyzing these keywords would help you understand where your HVAC business is doing well and which areas could be improved. 

A Reviews Report would also help you see all your 3rd-party reviews in one place: 

All of these reports are easily downloadable as CSV documents so you can share them among your team members and create an actionable improvement plan. 

Implement an Improvement Plan Based on Review Insights

Once you’ve identified where your business could make some customer-oriented improvements, it’s time to make an improvement plan based on your review insights. 

1. Share feedback with operations teams

Multi-location businesses can evaluate how services and products are performing based on their location. For instance, franchise grocery stores may find that one branch excels at providing friendly and efficient customer service while another branch may consistently receive complaints about long lines, slow service, and out-of-stock products. 

Take a look at this glowing review of a local grocery store branch: 

These details are all vital for operations teams who can effectively manage resources to go to the right place. 

If customer reviews constantly show that a branch suffers from long lines and slow service, you could adjust the staff rota so more employees work during busy times. 

2. Use reviews for business development

Customer reviews can inform your business development team and help them improve and refine their offering. 

Reviews can help you understand how customers have responded to pilot programs, services, new locations, or promotional programs. 

Take a look at this detailed review of a newly opened branch of Nekter Juice Bar: 

3. Motivate your customer-facing team

Reviews are invaluable for motivating, inspiring, and helping your team to improve. 

Start by reporting positive feedback back to team members to encourage them to keep up the good work.

Perhaps your business reviews consistently identify the names of your customers’ favorite staff members:

Always share these positive comments with team members so they know their work and contribution to your business is valued. 

Negative feedback on the other hand can work as a great base for guiding future training sessions and resource direction. 

For example, if you run a local cafe franchise and customers complain that team members don’t know the answers to their menu-related questions, you could provide your team with more training sessions so they are better prepared to answer customer questions about your recipes and menu. 

Make Customers Feel Valued 

Customer reviews give you a unique opportunity to show your customers that you value them and their feedback. 

Reply to Customer Reviews

50% of customers expect a response at least some of the time to a review. Responding to reviews allows you to thank your customers and show them that you value their honest feedback. 

On another note, businesses that reply to their reviews at least 25% of the time, average 35% more revenue. 

Whether you’re replying to a positive or negative customer review, always respond thoughtfully and start your response by thanking your customers for taking the time to write a review and explain how you value their feedback and how you plan to implement it in your business. 

While the customer was a bit disappointed in the following review, the business owner did a good job of explaining why things didn’t quite go to plan: 

Learn more about how to reply to reviews, try out our 100 free review response templates and check out our brand new Inbox features which helps you put those review response templates into action.

Implement the Changes Customers Want to See

Regular customers appreciate it when businesses take steps to improve their offerings to match what they want. 

While first impressions matter, your most valuable customer reviews will likely come from those regular customers who already know your business well. 

They are likely to write longer more detailed reviews that include more specific elements of your business. 

Take a look at this detailed review of an HVAC business which calls out the positive experiences the customer had with each of its different staff members:

Remember that negative feedback can become positive when steps are taken to act on it. Customers who leave negative feedback will respect your business more if you’re able to act upon their suggestions and make positive changes. 

Here’s a negative review for the same business. While the review is critical of the HVAC business, it’s also an opportunity for the business owner to demonstrate they care, make amends and show the customer how they plan to improve next time:

Market Your Business With Customer Reviews 

Customer reviews are one of your business’s best evergreen marketing tools. They help show potential customers why they should choose your business over the competition. 

It takes time and effort to build up a solid collection of great reviews. They don’t come easy, businesses have to work hard to earn, gather, and manage them. To maximize your reviews and squeeze the most out of them, make sure to use them in your marketing material. 

Use Reviews as Social Proof 

Positive customer reviews act as powerful social proof for your business. If potential customers see rave reviews, they’ll be much more likely to trust your business. 

Reviews act as endorsements that your business, product, or service is great, and the overall customer journey satisfied your previous customers. 

Displaying recent reviews on your business’s website is one of the best ways of showing potential customers why your business is the go-to choice. 

Take a look at how California Pools uses customer reviews as social proof on their website: 

We recommend using reputation and review management software to help you efficiently display 3rd-party reviews on your business’s website. 

At GatherUp we aim to get 5X the value of the reviews you gather from your customers. Once you’ve gone to the hard work of earning them you should squeeze all the value out of them. 

Read more about our 5X review strategy.  

1. Use GatherUp widgets and tags to display 3rd-party reviews on your site

Instead of having to copy and paste 3rd-party reviews onto your site, you could set up tags and widgets so that relevant customer reviews automatically appear on your site. 

You could also set up a tag widget so that reviews related to specific locations or team members appear on your site. This is particularly helpful for franchise businesses and real estate agents looking to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Personal reviews that acknowledge specific elements of your business are essential for convincing prospects to choose your services over those of a competitor. 

Learn more about adding review widgets, tag widgets, or review badges to your website. 

2. Filter 1st-party reviews by subject 

Grouping your reviews by theme is a great opportunity to bring social proof to any web pages about specific products or services. 

Prospects may be looking for reviews about a specific element of your business. You can make it easier for them by pulling those relevant 1st-party reviews together on the same page. 

Some industry examples for themed reviews: 

  • Reviews about a yoga teacher on an instructor page for a gym
  • Reviews about boiler repairs on a boiler service page for an HVAC business
  • Reviews for a real estate agent on their team member profile page

Take a look at this personalized review of a real estate agent that would be a great addition to a team member profile page: 

Create Social Media Content From Reviews

Reviews can also act as social proof on your social media channels. 

Create visual social media images using quotes from your best reviews and post them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

Reviews also make a great addition to your email marketing campaigns. 

Try using GatherUp’s social sharing feature to convert your reviews into engaging social media content. 

Learn more about how you can use reviews in social media content to win more customers in our guide to how social sharing images benefit more than social media. 

Final Thoughts

Customer reviews provide businesses with an invaluable insight into how customers feel about their business. Providing customers with what they want and need is key to continuously improving your business and maintaining a loyal customer base. 

When you effectively analyze customer reviews and implement a solid improvement plan, you’ll boost customer experience and ultimately improve your business. 

Related reading: 

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