When was the last time you ordered something online, invested in or decided to do business with an organization without first doing your due diligence? For many, the answer would be never. Research, including reading customer reviews, has become standard in a buyer’s decision-making process. With this in mind, you may be asking yourself: ‘How could my organization better manage and leverage consumer reviews?’ Here are four easy-to-implement tips to make sure customer reviews don’t negatively impact your brand: 1) Create a review management team Reviews are made through multiple platforms, including third-party sites like Yelp or Google, social media, and industry-specific surveys and reports. It’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of how and where your customers and prospects are reviewing your company so you can maximize positive reviews and respond to negative reviews in a timely manner. Designate an internal review manager (or team) to track platforms, respond to negative and positive feedback, and make management aware of the company’s overall perceived persona. By incorporating regular, ongoing tracking, your company will be better positioned to best control its brand reputation. 2) Address negative reviews to limit the impact Even the best businesses have bad days, so a negative review is bound to be written at some point. If a negative review is identified, the first step is to determine if it is legitimate. Some bad reviews come from competitors looking to instill a sense of distrust in your organization. Should a review be identified as fake, work with the review site to have it removed. If a review is identified as legitimate, don’t ignore the review in hopes it will never be seen – once its online it won’t disappear . Instead, publically respond accordingly, addressing the concerns of the reviewer and driving the conversation offline if possible. Provide offline contact information for anyone else reading the post who may have concerns. 3) Leverage positive reviews in marketing collateral Positive reviews can be an incredibly valuable resource for any organization. Buyers want to hear what other buyers think. In fact, consumers are 12 times more likely to trust customer reviews than descriptions from companies themselves. To maximize the reach and value of positive reviews, consider incorporating them in your marketing collateral—for example you could include a quote as a call-out in a case study or create a more formal testimonials. Remember to get permission from the customer. Quotes could also be included on your website or promoted via social media. Because the reviews are from your clients themselves, each review will help to build trust in your organization. 4) Ask your customers and clients for reviews How can your organization better encourage its customers to be online advocates? Just ask! Too often, customers only think to review an organization when something has gone awry. With just a simple reminder, those customers that have had positive experiences are more likely to submit a review on your behalf. Asking can be as simple as closing a phone conversation with the request, offering a survey with a free text section via email, inviting website visitors to submit a comment or establishing an email campaign directed at happy customers. Overall, customer reviews have the potential to truly shape the way a buyer views your business, product or people. Ensuring your team is aware of, responding to, leveraging and requesting reviews will set your organization up for success in the long term.