Have you ever searched online for a local business and chosen one without considering its star rating or total number of reviews? The answer is likely no, and you’re not alone. According to our research:

  • 92% of consumers read at least two reviews before forming an opinion about a local business.
  • 68% of the time, consumers research a local business before purchasing. 
  • In 2023, SMS usage for review requests rose by 6% from the previous year.
  • After friends and family, online reviews are the most trusted data source for evaluating a business’ reputation.

As consumers, we trust online reviews to help us find the best products, services, and experiences. From the business perspective, review management is a crucial part of an effective overall marketing strategy. 

Our research also shows that focusing on delighting customers helps create brand advocates, improves brand awareness, and increases word-of-mouth recommendations. 

Review management factors into this in a cyclical way. The more happy reviews you get, the more customers you’ll win. The more customers you win, the more happy reviews you’ll get. But to achieve these kinds of results, you need the right online review management strategy.

In this post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know.

Getting started with review management

What is the meaning of review management? 

Online review management involves monitoring, tracking, and proactively responding to online reviews on sites (Google, Facebook, Yellowpages, etc.). This ensures that you can resolve customer issues as they arise, identify what customers like or dislike about your business, and promote your best reviews as social proof to attract more customers.

Effortlessly Manage and Respond to Customer Reviews with Birdeye Review Management

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Why is review management important? 

There are several reasons that review management is so important.

1. Reviews build trust and credibility

Positive reviews act as social proof and peer validation, which prospects find far more persuasive than promotional claims from the business. Displaying consistent 4+ star ratings across major sites instills confidence in potential customers.

2. Reviews impact sales

As mentioned earlier in this post, most consumers read online reviews before visiting or purchasing from a business. Managing your online reputation through review management and other measures ensures potential customers find positive social proof that makes them more likely to buy.

3. Responding to reviews is a green flag

Consumers want to feel like you have their best interests in mind. By responding to reviews, you show existing and potential customers that you care about what they say. This can drive repeat business and convince new customers to do business with you. 

4. Reviews are a vital marketing channel

Reviews influence search engine rankings and search visibility — the more high-quality reviews you have, the more likely you are to get found in searches. Managing your review presence is essential for making the most of this marketing channel.

When we partnered with Birdeye, we had 13,000 reviews, and now fast-forward to 6 1/12 to 7 years later, we are now up to 135,000 reviews across all of our locations and people. That’s 800% growth.

Melissa Wright, CMO at American Pacific Mortgage

Review management strategy

So, how do you manage reviews? You need a review management strategy. Building a comprehensive review management strategy can make all the difference in your business’s success. Your review management strategy may differ based on your business needs, but generally, a good strategy will include: 

  1. Review generation
  2. Monitoring reviews
  3. Responding to customer reviews
  4. Promoting reviews

We’ll explore each of these steps below.

  • Review generation: A proactive approach to generating reviews will help increase review frequency. Consider sending your customers a review request via text or email following appointments or any time they make a purchase. 
  • Review monitoring: Practicing review monitoring helps you keep track of your reviews, whether they come from your own Google Business Profile or from any of the numerous review sites online.
  • Review response: Responding to customer reviews has become essential, as most customers expect their reviews to be acknowledged. Don’t worry — we’ll take a deep dive into how and when to respond to reviews later in this article.
  • Promoting reviews:  If you want more reviews, you must actively seek them from your customers. Promoting reviews works by requesting reviews from all of your customers so that you can get more and better reviews without waiting for them to come to you.

What are the benefits of review management?

1. Resolve customer complaints and improve reputation

Review management allows you to monitor and understand what customers are saying about your business online and step in to rectify experiences when necessary. Consumers who read reviews will see that you actively take notice of what is being said, care about their experiences, and will appreciate that you take the time to make things right. This is important because consumers read replies to reviews.

Analyzing customer reviews helps you understand overall customer sentiment about your business. When writing reviews, customers often give insightful feedback on their experience with your business, which informs what your customers truly want. You can use this information to identify and resolve any negative patterns or common concerns.

2. Rank better in search results

Additionally, given that 9 out of 10 people read reviews before visiting a business or making a purchase, neglecting the sites where people write reviews about your business can negatively affect your customer acquisition and your search engine rankings. 

Consumers trust reviews more than your marketing messages, and so does Google. Google’s algorithm measures how trustworthy your company is by “reading” what customers are saying about it. 

When a customer gives your company a review, whether positive or negative, it informs Google how well you’re serving your customers. Also, by responding to one-star reviews or negative reviews constructively, you can show Google that you are actively engaging with customer feedback and working to improve. 

The more recent, positive reviews your company has, the more likely Google will view your brand as a trustworthy resource and boost your search ranking for relevant keywords. 

3. Save time by managing reviews in a single dashboard

Customers write reviews across a wide range of sites, ranging from general sites such as Google and Facebook to industry-specific websites such as Zocdoc and OpenTable. Leveraging a review management system helps businesses save time by allowing them to manage reviews across all of these sites in a single dashboard. This saves time spent manually sifting through and responding to reviews on each site. 

4. Boost your marketing with UGC

Lastly, actively managing your reviews allows you to find positive reviews and testimonials to use as user-generated content (UGC) in your marketing strategy. In fact, most consumers say UGC holds more influence over their buying decisions than promotional emails and even search engine results.

What are important review sites?

To start implementing a review management strategy, you need to identify the review sites that you want to focus on. You should perform an audit of each review site you can think of that may be relevant to your business and explore how many reviews are left there. When checking these sites, you should look for how many reviews your business currently gets on a given site and how well your niche is represented there.

One of the most important review sites across all industries is Google Business Profile. This review site is particularly important for smaller, local businesses. Facebook is also one of the most important review sites across all industries. 

Keep in mind that some review sites are geared toward specific industries. Restaurant review sites include Zomato and OpenTable. 

Healthcare review sites include Zocdoc, WebMD, Google, and Facebook. Houzz, Thumbtack, and Homestars are examples of Home Services and Contractor review sites

Even if you’re not actively managing your presence on these sites, people will leave reviews regardless. That’s why it’s important to identify which sites matter most for your business and proactively manage and respond to the reviews you receive.

We have found that using that platform and methodology that Birdeye provides, it’s  taken us from 50 to 950 reviews in just two years.

Steven Greer, COO, Genesis Counseling

Why do you need to monitor your reviews?

Once you’ve established the review sites that matter to your business, it’s important that you monitor the reviews that are coming from those sites — and anywhere else online. 

Monitoring reviews is important because it gives you the ability to act — to do more of what you’re doing well and to rectify issues you may not have known about. 

One of the most crucial reasons why review management matters is that customers want to know their voices are heard. When they leave a positive review, they appreciate a quick acknowledgment of the time they took to leave the review – a simple “thank you” will suffice. 

Analyzing customer reviews helps you understand overall customer sentiment about your business. When writing reviews, customers often give insightful feedback on their experience with your business, which informs what your customers truly want. You can use this information to identify and resolve any negative patterns or common concerns.

Reputation management scenarios

Responding to reviews is a crucial aspect of reputation management, but we get it — sometimes, it’s hard to know the right way to react. Let’s look at a positive review, a negative review, and a fake review and how to deal with them.

1. How to respond to a positive review

“This was my first time visiting your restaurant and I can’t tell you how much of a great experience I had. The waitstaff was so polite and quick to take my order, and the food was absolutely delicious. I will absolutely be coming back and recommending this place to my friends.”

Positive reviews like this are what we all want to see, but you shouldn’t just be glad you got it and move on. A quick and easy response thanking the customer for coming to your business and taking the time to leave a review can make them feel valued and more likely to come back and talk about your business.

2. How to respond to a negative review

“I booked a room at this hotel weeks ago, but when I arrived, they said they didn’t have anything in their system. The only room left was much more expensive than the one I booked, and the staff wouldn’t do anything to meet me in the middle of the price. Very disappointed.”

In a circumstance like this, the best practice is to respond quickly and apologetically in an effort to resolve the issue. Maybe that means a partial refund to match the price of the original room they booked or some other kind of compensation. It’s always important to direct this conversation offline so that you’re not putting an argument on display for other customers.

3. How to respond to a fake review

“This is the WORST DEALERSHIP I’ve ever been to! I tried to buy a new car, but their salesman, Mark, was so rude. He completely ignored me and walked away. A COMPLETE SCAM!”

Now, it may be hard at first to recognize whether or not this review is fake, but there may be some indicators that it’s a fake review. 

In this example, let’s say you don’t have a salesman named Mark at your dealership. In that case, your best practice is to flag the review and report it to whatever site the review is on to be removed. The site will then review it and delete the review if they find it to be fake.

Need help responding to reviews? Thanks to Birdeye, figuring out what to say and how to say it has never been easier. With help from BirdAI, you can generate tailored responses from scratch, fix grammatical issues, and rephrase your replies to ensure they strike the right tone with the click of a button. 

Why should you reply to online reviews?

Responding to reviews is important because it helps build trust and repeat business for your brand. It doesn’t matter if a review is positive or negative; it’s best practice to respond, always. Review responses are a critical component of forging connections with your customers.

Need a quick answer? 
Responding to reviews is crucial for building trust and fostering repeat business. It demonstrates that your brand values customer feedback, whether positive or negative, and is committed to improving experiences. 

Plan for common feedback you might get from reviews in advance so that your team will be prepared to consistently stay on message and brand tone. You should have a library of ready-made, appropriate responses to recurring feedback received in reviews. During your audit, you’ll likely see some recurring themes that should be logged.

Another key reason to respond to reviews is not only to show customers and prospects you care about their experience but also to convince unhappy customers to change their opinion of your business. 

According to our data, 38% of customers leave a negative online review after one bad experience. By taking immediate action to rectify the bad experience, you can completely change a person’s opinion of your business and maybe even convince them to revise their negative review.  The bottom line is that reviews can make or break any business, and responding to reviews can go a long way in boosting customer acquisition and retention.

Example of review management for a negative review.

How to respond to customer reviews?

Here are a few tips to help you leave effective responses to negative feedback and limit the damage they can cause to your brand.

1. Be polite 

While it’s easy to take a bad review personally, remember that potential customers are reading reviews to understand the kind of service that you’ll provide. That means it’s important to stay professional in any circumstance. 

2. Be timely 

Aim to respond to a negative review within 24 hours. Waiting too long can mean that the customer’s opinion of your brand is solidified and can no longer be changed. 

3. Take the discussion offline 

When responding to a bad review, provide an email address or phone number where the customer can get in touch with you. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a protracted back-and-forth in public. 

4. Outline how you are improving the experience 

If the customer mentioned a specific experience issue in their review, be sure to detail the steps your team is taking to fix the issue. This will show potential customers that you are actively making an effort to listen to feedback and improve customer experience.

5. Let AI be your guide

Whether tensions are high and you’re not sure how to respond, or you simply don’t have the time to formulate a well-thought-out response for every review, let AI be your guide. With BirdAI, you can generate review responses quickly and at scale. If you’re not happy with the initial response, you can rephrase it, shorten it, or change the tone, all with the click of a button. Consider AI a secret weapon that helps you generate empathetic, personalized, on-brand responses with ease.

6. Collect reviews from all your customers 

Unfortunately, the customers who are most likely to leave reviews on their own are those who feel that they’ve had negative experiences. To get more balanced feedback, it’s important to solicit reviews from your entire customer base through direct email and text requests.

All of the above may sound like a lot to manage – monitoring and responding to reviews across multiple sites, analyzing reviews for feedback, promoting reviews across channels, etc. Fortunately, businesses can easily do all of this and more by leveraging review management software.

Being able to monitor and respond to reviews appropriately in a timely manner through Birdeye is a game changer. The recommended AI responses are definitely helpful when we’ve run out of ways to say thank you.

Meghan Bingham, Senior Operations Manager at Valley Vet Care

Having software that streamlines review management can ensure that you’re constantly aware of customer sentiment for your company’s services and products. You can immediately pinpoint areas of improvement and address urgent issues to avoid losing customers. This encourages responsiveness and proactivity on your side, which can build trust between you and your customers. 

When leveraging review software it’s important to know what features you’ll need to effectively manage online reviews.

What is a review management system? 

A review management system is a tool that helps you manage your online reputation. Review management systems work by aggregating reviews from multiple sources and allowing for efficient monitoring and quick responses to customer feedback. The benefits of using a review management system include improved customer engagement, the ability to address concerns proactively, enhanced public perception, and the opportunity to gain insights into customer experiences. 

What are the features of review management software?

Having software that streamlines review management can ensure that you’re constantly aware of customer sentiment for your company’s services and products. You can immediately pinpoint areas of improvement and address urgent issues to avoid losing customers. This encourages responsiveness and proactivity on your side, which can build trust between you and your customers. 

When leveraging review software, it’s important to know what features you’ll need to manage online reviews more effectively. 

Review monitoring tools

As a consumer, you know there are many places to read reviews: general sites such as Google, Facebook, and industry-specific sites such as FindLaw, Zocdoc, and DealerRater, etc. With so many review sites, manually monitoring reviews across each site is a tall order for even the most robust teams. 

Centralize reviews into one dashboard

Review management software gathers your business reviews every day from 150+ review sites. It then aggregates all of your reviews — from Google to Facebook to user-generated sites you may have never even heard of — into one easy-to-view dashboard. 

Screenshot showing review management software dashboard.

Easily organize reviews from multiple sites

Additionally, review management software easily organizes your reviews into custom feeds with powerful filters for specific regions, locations, products, ratings, sources, and employees so you can quickly access the reviews you’re looking for.

Example of organizing review management from multiple sites.

Gain actionable insights

The icing on the cake? You’ll be able to get truly actionable insights from customer reviews in seconds. Improve your business reputation by identifying trends and digging deeper into customer sentiment.

Gathering customer sentiment with review management.

Review monitoring is a key feature of any review management software as it centralizes all of your customer reviews into one dashboard. This streamlines the entire process, making it far easier to resolve customer issues quickly, identify customer trends, and improve customer experience.

Success story of customer that uses Birdeye review management software.

Review management

Managing customer feedback has become mission-critical for modern businesses in an era where online reputation impacts everything from site traffic to revenue. According to a report on review statistics, when a business replies to at least 25% of their online customer reviews, on average, they earn 35% more revenue. 

Furthermore, after a negative experience, 62% of consumers switch to a competitor. But the good news is that you can decrease the likelihood of this happening. Responding to negative reviews is one of the most effective ways to turn unhappy customers into loyal ones. 

Yet despite the significant benefits responding to reviews provides businesses, Birdeye’s 2021 State of Online Reviews report revealed that only 28% of reviews are responded to. Review management software helps businesses make it effortless to respond to reviews at scale across multiple sites. 

Get alerts for new reviews

You can set up alerts every time a new review is posted about your business on any review site. Centralizing your reviews through technology empowers your team to quickly respond to every review from one dashboard and acknowledge issues right away.

Example of Birdeye review management for negative review.

Quickly resolve negative reviews with ticketing

If/when you get an alert for a not-so-stellar review, the right platform automatically converts bad reviews into service tickets (or manually if you choose to), ensuring your customer’s concern doesn’t go unattended.

Online review management software ticketing to resolve negative reviews.

Save time with automated response templates

You can also use review response templates that let you customize a template for your responses as well as set up automatic review responses.

Effective review management requires being able to quickly respond to customer feedback and address issues efficiently. The combination of these features will put your team in a prime position to respond to reviews easily at scale and save time so they can focus on driving growth.

Customer quote about using Birdeye for online review management.

Review marketing

There’s a reason so many consumers read reviews before choosing a business. It provides valuable User Generated Content (UGC) needed by those looking to finalize purchase decisions based on the experiences of previous customers. Positive reviews can be used as free yet powerful marketing assets to validate your marketing messages and campaigns. 

However, manually sifting through reviews across multiple sites to identify and log the best ones, and then promoting them on your website and social media is time-consuming. Review management software makes it easy to promote your reviews across multiple channels in a few simple clicks. With Birdeye, you can automate your review generation process, making it easier for customers to share their reviews and feedback.

Automatically share your reviews

Easily set custom rules and logic to automatically share your reviews from 150+ review sites to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn without lifting a finger.

Two men using review management software.

Display all your reviews on your website

Use your reviews & testimonials to convert your prospective customers into buyers. Using Birdeye’s review widget (iFrame or API), you can incorporate all your reviews and ratings on your website.

Using review management software to display reviews on a website.

Boost conversion on organic search results

Birdeye embeds rich snippet data from all your reviews so that your star ratings will appear in search results. This boosts Google ranking and makes your business stand out from the crowd with social proof that you’re the best in town.

Boosting organic search results with effective review management.

With Birdeye review marketing tools, you’ll be able to turn your happy customers into a well-oiled marketing engine. Strengthen SEO, SEM, and social media marketing initiatives by using the voices of your customers as your new content to attract new customers.

Customer success story about using Birdeye for review management.

Frequently asked questions about review management

What is a review management system?

A review management system helps businesses collect, manage and respond to reviews online to help them build a positive reputation and help grow their business online.

Can companies delete Google reviews?

While a business itself can’t delete a Google review from its profile, the review can be flagged and reported to Google. If they find it to be fake, or inappropriate, they can remove the review.

Why are reviews so important?

Customers use online reviews to make decisions about their purchases more than ever before. The more and better reviews your business has, the more likely a customer will be willing to choose your business when buying a product.

How do you manage online reviews?

Effectively managing online reviews involves: 
1. Actively requesting reviews from customers
2. Regularly monitoring these reviews across different platforms
3. Responding thoughtfully to both positive and negative feedback
4. Using the insights from these reviews to improve business practices.
It’s part of a larger reputation management strategy that also encompasses social media monitoring and brand messaging.

What is the online review process?

The online review process is a cycle that starts with customer interactions with your product or service, followed by encouraging them to provide feedback. This can be facilitated through direct requests via emails or texts. After reviews of your business are posted, you should monitor them, respond accordingly to maintain engagement and address any concerns, and use the feedback to enhance your offerings. This process is essential for building customer trust and improving your business’s visibility in search results.

How do you automate online reviews?

Automating online reviews involves using digital tools like Birdeye to simplify the process of collecting and managing customer feedback. This can include setting up automated systems to request reviews post-purchase or post-service, setting up real-time alerts for new reviews, and employing a centralized system for responding to and monitoring these reviews. This automation helps maintain a consistent flow of reviews, saving time and ensuring efficient management of customer feedback.

What is the best review management software?

Birdeye review management software awards and recognition.

Birdeye is the best and most awarded review management software on the market. We have the tools you need to be successful in every stage of the review process. Whether you need help with getting new reviews or managing reviews, Birdeye has you covered. Plus, thanks to BirdAI, you can leverage the power of AI to automate various parts of the process. You’ll get more done in less time without losing that personalized, humanlike touch. 

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