The importance of online reviews | NatWest


Infographic trusting online reviews
Add your signposting title here… Online reviews are trusted by customers

For many small businesses, driving growth is the main focus. Reading and responding to online reviews from customers is an area that deserves attention for a growing business.

Recent statistics and trends tell us that 90% of consumers read online reviews before approaching a business, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Engaging with customers on online review platforms is a great way to demonstrate that you value their opinions and are passionate about knowing what makes them tick.

How to make the most of online reviews

Engage with your customers online

Sarah Arikan, owner of luxury hotel Berwick Lodge, explains the dedication and commitment that is required to successfully engage with customers who are sharing their views online: “There’s no halfway house when it comes to online reviews and social media – you have to commit fully once you’ve decided to go that route and make sure that all customers get the same level of service.

“Online reviews and recommendations are hugely important to us, particularly as we are a privately owned business. It helps us to know what customers like and don’t like and we regularly use the information we pick up there to review our processes and make sure our offering is as good as it possibly can be.”


Consistent cross-platform service

Websites such as TripAdvisor have become a crucial resource for people sourcing a hotel, restaurant or attraction. Consumers use reviews from their peers as reassurance when making their decision about visiting a specific place.

“We consistently monitor our online reviews and, particularly with TripAdvisor, we make sure we respond to every one, whether it’s good or not,” says Sarah Arikan, owner of luxury hotel Berwick Lodge. “If it’s good, we always make sure to thank them; if it’s not good, we make sure that gets addressed.”

Taking the rough with the smooth

Try to look at online comments and reviews as a fantastic opportunity to ensure you’re always offering the best service you possibly can.

“It’s important to strike a balance between valuing the customer’s opinion, and making sure other customers who might be reading it are getting an accurate portrayal of your service,” Sarah Arikan, owner of luxury hotel Berwick Lodge explains. “Tone of voice is crucial to ensure your message is interpreted in the spirit it was intended. In cases where customers aren’t happy, deal with issues one-to-one, rather than having it play out in public view. In some cases, the most helpful thing you can do is take the issue offline and speak to the customer directly. Hopefully they will emerge a happy customer.”

Be more sociable

Once a customer has bought into your company and written a positive review, how do you keep the conversation going?

If you don't proactively post content or engage regularly with customers, your business could be missing out on vital sales opportunities.

“Social media and review sites are great tools for ongoing customer engagement,” Sarah Arikan, owner of luxry hotel Berwick Lodge says. “In order to successfully retain customers and encourage repeat business, using these platforms to entice customers back is crucial. Offers and incentives to come back have worked very well for us, and social media is the perfect platform to share these with our valued customers, as well as attracting new ones.”

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