Why are consumers so crazed to tell the world about their experience when it comes to getting to their mobile phone, laptop or computer after they visit their favorite restaurant, retail store or auto repair shop?

Here is some hard data that might help shed some light on the why:

American reviewers generally write positive (74%) or neutral (32%) reviews, motivated to help others make better purchasing decisions (62%), or because they think it is polite to leave feedback (35%). Around a quarter want to share positive experiences (27%) and to help good business owners get new business (25%).

That’s a nice thought, but we can’t forget about the 12% who want to save the world from having the same bad experience at a business. If it’s a legitimate complaint that’s justified, I get it. Everyone screws up, you can’t hide from that fact. No business is perfect, but when this happens it’s especially important to be on top of your online reviews and jump into action to protect your online reputation.

That one negative review surely is the one that Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor will put at the top of the list for the world to see. Never fails.

Although some people will knock out a review in under a minute, the majority of reviewers (45%) spend between one and five minutes to write their masterpiece, and a third of reviewers (35%) take more than five minutes. These are the reviewers who like to write a book about their experience at your business. You know the ones, they think they work for the local TV station as a professional critic. Review sites have given ALL of your customers a voice.

This can be a very dangerous thing if not managed properly.

Here is a graph from YouGov.com that visually shows the reasons why people leave reviews:

Your reputation is now painted by what consumers are saying online; in online reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor, comments and photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, search rankings and whatever Google finds across the internet about your business and deems relevant to show to your potential new customers (most of which are your reviews because it is fresh, current information about your business that is generated by someone other than you.)

One of the best ways you can protect your business’ reputation is by responding to your online reviews and customer feedback: positive, negative, and neutral.

Have a great week!