The Power of Reviews in Today’s Marketplace

Changing the World, One Star at a Time

In the smartphone age, consumers hold an unprecedented amount of power right in the palm of their hand. Social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Yelp can make or break a company, regardless of its size.

Twenty years ago, if a company told us they had the best food in town, we were inclined to believe them. If they told us they had the best customer service, we’d probably take them at their word. These days, if a company makes a claim like that, all we have to do is pick up our phone, look at their reviews, and see what other people are saying.

This illustrates that companies no longer have complete control over their message. As consumers, we help shape a company’s message. As a result, if a business doesn’t bother taking a customer-centric approach, their business will inevitably struggle or even fail.

The Power of the Online Review

Two years ago, a dentist came to me and requested help in marketing her struggling practice. It had been in operation for two years, and in those two years she had accumulated only eight Yelp reviews — with an average of two stars out of five. She knew that her reviews were holding her back, and after reading them, I knew there was something going on in the business that needed to change.

I sat her and her staff down and made it very clear that until they made their patients their number one priority, nothing would change. I helped them put processes and systems in place that would turn their reputation around. Two years later, she now has over 200 Yelp reviews and over 80 Google reviews. Roughly 95 percent of those reviews are a glowing five stars. Her business has tripled, enabling her to open a second location. Just by making her patients the practice’s focus and going above and beyond for them, she was able to completely turn her business around.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

As consumers, we should take note of stories like this. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.

If a business does you wrong, say something about it. By all means, leave a review. But make sure your review is in proportion to the level of service you received. If your coffee never got refilled, ask yourself, does that really deserve a one-star review? Perhaps it deserves a three-star review with a dose of constructive criticism.
We expect good service because that’s what we’re paying for. When we actually get that fantastic service, we usually don’t think to leave a review — because it’s what we expect. But if a business goes above and beyond, it’s important that you leave them a rave review. It helps support that business more than you know and contributes to more community businesses that are willing to go the extra mile.

So, share your experiences. Critique those that have done wrong and reward those that exceed your expectations. Contributing to your community really is as simple as marking down a few stars — why not take the time?

– Phil Fisk