Are Online Reviews Killing Your Business? - Warm Thoughts Communications
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Are Online Reviews Killing Your Business?

Posted on April 2, 2015

Are Online Reviews Killing Your Business?

A recent survey sponsored by Zendesk revealed that 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews said that positive reviews influenced their buying decision—while 86% said not-buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.

Has reading these POSITIVE/NEGATIVE reviews influenced your buying decisions?

Of the more than 1,000 respondents, two-thirds reported reading online reviews, citing Facebook as the leading resource for positive reviews, and online review sites for negative reviews.

Another survey, conducted by BrightLocal, showed that roughly 85% of respondents read online reviews, with 67% reading 3-6 reviews before forming a final opinion about a business.

How many online reviews do you read before you can form an opinion about a business?

In today’s ever-growing, hyper-speed hashtag world, the consumer’s drive to dig up dirt before buying is skyrocketing.

So how is your oil, propane, or HVAC business adapting to this brave and brutal new world?

Great service helps you get good reviews

Hey—sometimes you have to state the obvious!

Here’s another can’t-miss-missive: Satisfied customers may or may not write a review—but unhappy customers are the closest thing in life to a sure bet. They will trash you, your co-workers, and your relatives, turning even the smallest slight into uncontained outrage.

And those Pixels of Death contained in a bad review can linger for years and years and years and…

Oh, and we almost forgot: It’s not above some of your more unscrupulous competitors to be the poison pen behind the worst of them!

Nobody’ perfect, so get proactive

No business deals with the public for years, let alone decades, without something going wrong with one customer or another. And some customers wake up just waiting to be displeased.

With today’s word-spreading capabilities and prospective customers shopping around via reviews, we trust you will agree that ignorance is definitely not bliss. You need to monitor what people are saying about you, and even proactively get a little something out there on your own.

No, we don’t mean write fake reviews about your own business.

But do you have a “Testimonials” page? Why not rename it “Reviews” and target it with SEO that says “Acme Reviews” instead? If handled properly, when someone searches for reviews about your company (named Acme, for illustrative purposes), your own page will show up—full of positive reports from real-life testimonials!

Post your reviews on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, hashtag: #AcmeReviews. (Your business is using social marketing, right?)

Also, we urge you to respond ASAP to any bad reviews you find. Maybe you messed up; maybe you didn’t. But don’t let the odor remain in the room.

If you can, reach out to the dissatisfied customer personally and try to make things right. If you can manage that, you ought to be able to have that person update their review. If you can’t work things out, say so yourself on the review site—courteously and quickly. Let site visitors see both sides of the story as best it can be told. Getting involved can sand down the edges and help shape minds. But DO NOT get into any online back-and-forth argument with the original reviewer. Keep it nice and civil.

Additionally, start a program where you encourage customers to write a review following your service call. Put the request on your invoice. Train your technicians to ask. Many customers will be happy to provide a short review that helps recognize a hard-working, professional employee (people generally prefer to praise individuals rather than companies). They are also motivated to help others find good service within their community.

So let’s review

You can’t escape it: Your oil, propane, or HVAC business needs to get savvy about handling online reviews, because they are happening with or without you, gaining in popularity with your prospects, and can do great good or great harm to your operation.

Who is monitoring your company’s reviews on key websites and social media? Someone assigned specifically in-house, or an outside agency? Or are you simply leaving your public reputation to filter through your community by happenstance, without your knowledge?

Who is assigned to actively represent your company on social media? Who officially tweets and posts positive announcements about it as a function of proactive public relations?

Are you actively building and protecting your brand image within the online community that includes your current and prospective customers? Have you been thinking of all this but haven’t acted on it yet?

It is time to get started—because your customers (and your smarter competitors) already have.


Jacob Peck

Jacob L. Peck is a Digital Account Executive at Warm Thoughts Communications. He has over 20 years of experience managing major accounts for top technology companies, including Apple, Epson, and Ingram Micro. He works with business owners and executives to acquire new customers and improve retention of existing customers in an increasingly competitive environment by developing Digital Marketing strategies that address their companies total web presence.

Do you have questions about how Warm Thoughts can help you with your website review needs? Contact Jacob today!

Susan Janett

Susan Janett is a Social Media Consultant at Warm Thoughts Communications. She has over seven years of experience creating brand awareness, product knowledge, and positive feelings about companies within social spaces such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and review sites.

Do you have questions about how Warm Thoughts can help you monitor and grow your social media presence? Contact Susan today!


  1. Gesenhues, Amy. “Survey: 90% Of Customers Say Buying Decisions Are Influenced By Online Reviews.” Marketing Land. 9 Apr. 2013. Web. <http://marketingland.com/survey-customers-more-frustrated-by-how-long-it-takes-to-resolve-a-customer-service-issue-than-the-resolution-38756>.
  2. Anderson, Myles. “2013 Study: 79% Of Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations.” Search Engine Land. 26 June 2013. Web. <http://searchengineland.com/2013-study-79-of-consumers-trust-online-reviews-as-much-as-personal-recommendations-164565>.

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