NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- According to a recent article from Business 2 Community, online reviews are of supreme importance to small businesses and corporations; the positive effects of good online reviews can be myriad, while negative reviews can ultimately sink a brand's public image. The article lists five ways in which business owners can actively court customer reviews and testimonials. This list has captured the attention of Rich Gorman, Reputation Changer blogger; Gorman has released a statement to the press, offering up his own thoughts on the critical role of online reviews in local business development.
"The basic premise of the article is right on the money," explains Gorman, in his press statement. "The fact is that, for local businesses, online reviews are make or break, and for several reasons. One reason mentioned in the article is that customer reviews help build authority with the search engines—so, they can ultimately position a company's website for greater local search engine success."
Even more important is the concept of online reputation, Gorman says. "The main reason why online reviews are so important is that so many consumers use them to inform and guide their purchasing decisions," opines Gorman. "Customers turn to Google searches and Yelp.com reviews more than ever—and what they find there could prove make or break for businesses and brands."
As such, Gorman says, seeking out positive reviews is something that all businesses should engage in—though it is not always easy. The first step offered in the Business 2 Community article is for companies to ensure that they win positive reviews through superior customer service—which Gorman says is a good idea, but ultimately not enough.
"You cannot simply depend on your customer service standards to win you good reviews," he says. "You actually have to ask customers to leave you positive feedback, if you really want those testimonials to start rolling in."
Gorman continues by noting the second point made in the Business 2 Community article, which is to let clients know that a review is expected. "The article encourages business professionals, making presentations or sales pitches, to directly ask for good reviews," the online reputation guru says. "Companies can do this from their Web sites, too. Asking for reviews, and providing easy ways for consumers to leave positive reviews, can go a long way."
Business 2 Community also recommends that business professionals place follow-up calls after meetings or sales rendezvous, reminding clients to submit their reviews. "This can also be done over e-mail," Gorman suggests. "Companies seeking to build strong collections of rave reviews can reach out to their most faithful clients and customers, through e-mail, and ask them to please submit brief endorsements or testimonials."
Gorman says that businesses should strive to build up positive reviews in order to negate the effects of bad ones. "Sooner or later, bad reviews happen to almost all businesses," he explains. "There is nothing you can do to stop these bad reviews from happening, but you can work to ensure that they are non-issues. Inundating the search engines with positive reviews helps those negatives to get lost in the shuffle."
Ultimately, businesses that strive to develop positive review portfolios will "receive all the benefits of improved online reputation and enhanced search engine listings," concludes Rich Gorman, Reputation Changer blogger.
Rich Gorman, Reputation Changer blogger, is a passionate advocate of the online reputation management field, and also a pioneer in the field of direct response marketing. A serial entrepreneur, Gorman has played a major role in the formation of numerous online enterprises. He is a big believer in the right of any company or individual to control the way they are presented on the Internet.
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