How to Improve Your Online Reputation with Customer Reviews

Managing your online reputation is critical for business success. The key lies in effectively handling customer reviews. From developing a structured response plan to seamlessly integrating positive feedback into your marketing strategies, this guide covers the crucial steps to enhance your online presence. Stay ahead by regularly updating your ORM tactics and fostering a feedback-positive culture. Discover how to turn reviews into a driving force for your business growth and customer loyalty.

Introduction: The value of online reputation

As a business owner, you know how powerful word of mouth is. It can mean the difference between a customer choosing you over a competitor or driving loyalty to your brand.

Now that you, your customers, and everyone else are online, think of your online reputation as your business card, brochure, and billboard all rolled into one.

For small businesses, what people are saying about you online is particularly crucial. Understanding how to improve online reputation can be the difference between thriving and merely surviving. Whether you’re wondering how to fix your online reputation or how to get more google reviews for your business, this blog post delves into strategies for leveraging customer reviews to enhance your online business reputation.

The impact of customer reviews

If you’ve searched online for a product, service, or item, you’ve probably looked at reviews when making your purchasing decisions. Your customers are no different.

With the overwhelm of choices online, customer reviews are more than just feedback; they reflect your business’s heart and soul.

Positive reviews not only attract more customers but also solidify your credibility in the market. Negative reviews, while challenging, offer a unique opportunity for growth and improvement. Embracing both with a strategic approach is key to improving your online reputation.

Here are some other ways that customer reviews are impactful on your business:

  1. Consumer Decision-Making: Like we said before, if you’re using online reviews to make decisions on local businesses or services, you can bet your neighbors are, too!
  2. Google’s Rating Influence: Google’s rating system, which uses an arithmetic average of reviews, plays a crucial role in how you appear online. A higher number of positive reviews can improve your average rating, enhancing your visibility and credibility on this crucial platform.
  3. Search Rankings and Reviews: Review signals are factors, like quantity and recent reviews, that search engines use to rank sites and results. These signals determine your position in search results and local searches, impacting how easily potential customers can find your business.
  4. Building Consumer Trust with Recent Reviews: Current reviews are essential in maintaining consumer trust. Older reviews might be perceived as less relevant, affecting your business’s ranking in searches, particularly in local ‘near me’ searches.
  5. Positive First Impressions: Potential customers who come across your business are more likely to think highly of you if your current customers do. With fresh, positive local business reviews, you’ll be able to create loyalty right off the bat.
  6. Revenue Correlation with Online Reputation: There’s a direct correlation between a robust online reputation and revenue. Nearly 93% of consumers surveyed said online reviews impacted their buying decisions, according to Podium. Improvements in your online reputation can lead to tangible increases in sales, while a decline can negatively impact your sales volume.
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How to get customer reviews: A step-by-step guide

When it comes to gathering organic reviews for your business, there’s plenty of advice online. After interviewing our marketing team with more than 30+ years of collective experience, these are the suggestions we thought are the most imperative to establishing reviews for your business. Keep in mind that not all these suggestions will apply to you based on the type of business or industry you’re in but are a general overview of getting reviews online.

Encourage customer feedback

Asking for reviews

  • Strategy: Develop a proactive strategy for asking for reviews after each customer interaction. This could include a standardized process across all customer touchpoints.
  • Personalization: Personalize the request to make it more effective. A personalized message can resonate more with customers, making them more likely to leave a review.
  • Timing: The timing of the request is crucial. It’s often most effective to ask for a review soon after the purchase or service experience while the experience is still fresh in the customer’s mind.

Leveraging different channels

  • Email requests: Send follow-up emails thanking customers for their business and politely asking for a review. Include a direct link to the review platform to make it as easy as possible for them.
  • SMS campaigns: Utilize SMS messages for quick and direct requests, especially effective for younger demographics who prefer text communication.
  • In-person requests: Train your staff to ask for reviews at the end of a service or purchase. A sincere request in person can be very compelling.

How to get more Google reviews

  • Google My Business: Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing. This can be done through verbal requests, follow-up emails, or SMS messages with a link to your listing. Keep in mind that your business services should be review worthy and offering a quid pro quo for reviews won’t suffice.
  • Incentivization: While incentivizing for positive reviews is against many sites’ and search engines’ policies, you can encourage reviews in general by entering reviewers in a monthly draw or offering a future discount.
  • Responding to reviews: Engage with all reviews on Google, both positive and negative. This not only demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction but also encourages others to leave reviews.

Making reviewing easy

  • Guide your customers: Provide clear instructions or a simple guide on how to leave a review, reducing any friction in the review process.
  • QR codes: Use QR codes in physical locations or on receipts, directing customers straight to your review page.
  • Leverage email campaigns: Send your review requests straight to your customers’ inboxes with email platforms. Your customized messages can remind customers to share their experience and publish directly to your website and/or your profiles on Google My Business, Yelp, and more.
  • Utilize website plug-ins: For e-commerce and small startup websites, try website plug-ins that prompt your customers to share their experiences. These plug-ins and/or apps vary by the CMS you are using (WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, etc.) It is recommended to conduct your own research to determine what plugins best fit your business goals and needs.

Responding to reviews

Celebrating positive feedback

  • Gratitude and acknowledgement: Express gratitude for positive reviews. A simple thank-you message can strengthen the relationship with the customer.
  • Showcase customer stories: With permission, consider sharing outstanding positive reviews on your website or social media to celebrate customers’ experiences.
  • Encourage repeat business: Positive reviews are an opportunity to encourage repeat business. Let your customers know that you’re looking forward to serving them again.

Addressing negative feedback

  • Prompt and empathetic responses: Address negative reviews quickly and empathetically. Acknowledge the customer’s concerns and demonstrate that you take their feedback seriously.
  • Resolution-oriented approach: Focus on resolving the issues raised in the review. Offer solutions where possible and invite the customer to continue the conversation offline if needed.
  • Learning opportunity: Treat negative feedback as a chance to improve. Demonstrate to both the reviewer and potential customers that you are committed to continuous improvement.

Constructive engagement

  • Avoid defensive replies: Resist the urge to respond defensively. Stay professional and focused on understanding and addressing the customer’s concerns.
  • Tailored responses: Avoid generic responses. Personalize your reply to show that you have carefully considered the specific feedback.

Public recognition of feedback

  • Highlight changes made: If positive feedback or suggestions lead to changes in your business, publicize this. It shows that you value customer input and are proactive in making enhancements.
  • Response consistency: Maintain consistency in your responses to both positive and negative reviews to build a reliable and trustworthy brand image.

Leveraging local reviews

Importance for local businesses

Local reviews are crucial for small businesses. They not only boost foot traffic but also improve local search engine rankings with local SEO. Being well-reviewed locally enhances trust within your community.

Strategies to increase local reviews

  • Community engagement: Interact with your local customers and ask for their feedback.
  • Local events: Use local events to connect with customers and encourage them to review.
  • Collaborate locally: Partner with other local businesses to cross-promote and gather reviews.
  • Focus on local platforms: Direct customers to local review sites like Yelp or Google My Business.
  • Incentivize reviews: Offer discounts or special deals to local customers who leave a review.
  • Feature local customers: With their permission, feature stories or photos of local customers on your social media.
  • Utilize digital tools: From texts to emails to QR codes, make it simple for your customers to leave reviews.
  • Monitor local social media posts: Keep tabs on what your customers do through social media platforms. Create and join online groups to encourage feedback from your customers.
  • Track competitors: Monitor your local competition online and find out what strategy they’re using to gain reviews and business with customers.

Online reputation tips: best practices

Showcase positive reviews

  • Strategic display: Feature select positive reviews prominently on your website. This could be on your homepage, testimonials page, or a dedicated review section.
  • Social media highlights: Regularly share positive customer reviews on your social media platforms. This not only showcases customer satisfaction but also encourages others to share their experiences.
  • Incorporate in marketing materials: Use positive reviews in your marketing campaigns, such as newsletters or promotional materials, to build credibility.

Utilize customer feedback for improvement

  • Act on feedback: Analyze customer feedback to identify areas for improvement in your services or products. Implement changes based on this feedback to continually refine your offerings.
  • Close the feedback loop: Inform your customers about the changes you’ve made in response to their feedback. This demonstrates that you value their input and are committed to enhancing their experience.

Monitor and respond regularly

  • Active monitoring: Regularly monitor all platforms where your business is reviewed. This ensures that you stay on top of your online reputation and can respond in a timely manner.
  • Consistent responses: Respond to both positive and negative reviews consistently. This shows that you are attentive and care about all customer feedback.

Leverage reviews for SEO

  • Incorporate reviews in SEO strategy: Use the content of positive reviews to improve your website’s SEO. Reviews often contain keywords that can boost your search engine rankings.
  • Claim your business listings: Ensure your business is listed and accurately represented on all relevant local directories and review sites.
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Technology: Your ally in ORM

If the tips above seem daunting, it might behoove you to seek help from online reputation management services.

When shopping around for any ORM technology, some key features you should be on the lookout for include automated monitoring and responses, real-time alerts for new reviews, comprehensive coverage across platforms, and insightful analytics for performance evaluation.

Integration with business tools like CRM systems is a bonus, and can help make online reputation management more effective and manageable.


Your online reputation is a dynamic asset that requires constant attention and nurturing. By effectively managing customer reviews, you can significantly improve your business’s image, attract more customers, and enhance your overall online presence.

Remember, EarthLink Business’s Online Reputation Manager is here to streamline this process, making it more manageable and effective for your business.

*All new EarthLink Business Internet customers will be eligible to try one of the following digital marketing services: three months of SEO Success Coach; three months of Reputation Manager; or six months of Business Listings LDL11. Before the end of the free trial period, an EarthLink representative will contact customers to continue or cancel their digital marketing service.

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