Would you do business with your own company?  When you search for your company by its name and add the word “reviews” at the end, are you happy with what people are saying?

Competition is fierce in today’s digital age, with nearly every business claiming the best products and services. How do people decide who they’re going to do business with?

One way is through customer reviews — which can to a great degree be managed.

One of the simplest yet most effective ways you can improve your online reputation is by responding to all your existing customer reviews – including your positive reviews. Surprisingly, this is one of the most neglected and underutilized marketing strategies. Companies often respond to negative reviews and comments, but not positive ones. Big mistake!

Here are seven simple steps to respond to positive online reviews:

  1. Write your response sooner rather than later. A response to a positive review will appear more genuine if  you deliver it quickly. You don’t have to respond in minutes, but don’t wait more than 24 hours.
  2. Address reviewers by name. When Courtney W. leaves a positive review, don’t just start your reply with “Thanks for your review!” Start it with “Hi, Courtney!”
  3. Continue with gratitude. After you address the reviewer by name, move on to simple gratitude. Your response should be something like “Hi, Courtney! We REALLY appreciate your kind review.”
  4. Address the reviewer’s key points. If Courtney’s review says that she loves your accounting company’s smart tax preparation tips, acknowledge that point. You can usually cite all the reviewer’s positive feedback in just one sentence.
  5. Offer discounts or rewards. While this is optional, offering discounts or rewards in your responses to positive reviews can encourage customer loyalty. If you do include an offer, put it at the end of your response.
  6. Keep it short. Responses to positive reviews shouldn’t be long. You can be genuine and grateful with just the above, along with a final “thanks again” at the end. Don’t forget to include your name.
  7. Share your positive reviews. After you respond to the positive review, share it on your company’s social media platforms. You can also add positive reviews to your website’s testimonials page.

See? Easy, but oh so effective!

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The Discipline of Market Leaders by Brian Treacy and Fred Wiersema (Basic Books, 1997) had a major impact on me when I first read it way back in 2002, even though it was already about six years old then.  

Guess what? It still packs a punch.

According to the authors, to build a market-leading company, you must choose one of three dimensions of value to build that business upon.  While your performance cannot be substandard in any of the three areas, you must commit fundamentally to one, building your entire culture and operations around that core area in order to separate from the pack.  

Here are the three dimensions of value and the components of the operating model needed to excel in each:

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