Brands must keep up to date with where consumers are leaving online reviews, an expert has advised.

According to Jon Buss, Managing Director of Yext in the UK and northern Europe, ‘countless’ surveys have found that online reviews are the most trusted source of accurate product information.

However, he said brands do not always understand the digital review ecosystem and make sure they know the review policies of each platform.

“For example, Google will only pull reviews from your own website if they are first-party and Google loves sites like Yelp and Facebook and gives them prominence due to their highly relevant fresh content,” he noted.

Mr Buss also pointed out that businesses might find information about them is available in places they didn’t know existed.

This, he said, means they need to ‘take control’ of the public facts and information about their firm.

“Search yourself and see what happens, make sure you understand where and what consumers see about your business across every device and platform,” Mr Buss advised.

He also stated that people are often motivated to leave online reviews after having a bad experience with a company.

As a result, he believes brands should make it easy for people to leave feedback in the right place and ask them to share their views from time to time.

Mr Buss warned that if they are not actively fostering feedback online, brands are effectively gambling with their reputation whenever a customer reviews their business.

“70 per cent of people will leave a review for a business when they’re asked,” he said.

“Make it part of the marketing effort. Doing so will help you sustain a presence on third-party review sites, protect your position and reputation in Google search results, and build goodwill with your customers.”

Mr Buss went on to state that businesses will inevitably receive some negative reviews, which means these must be carefully handled.

He said responding to negative feedback gives firms a chance to resolve issues as they arise and potentially win aggrieved customers round.

Mr Buss added that responding to less than favourable reviews also sends out a “clear signal to potential customers that you care about the customer experience.”

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