• Sara Mays

Improving Your Sales in 3 Steps

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates

With more than 97%* of consumers reviewing online feedback before making a decision on where to shop, developing a system to manage this feedback is key to success in today’s marketplace.

Each star in a rating represents a 5% to 9%* increase in sales. If your business has annual sales of $500,000 then 4 stars instead of 5 could cost you $25,000 in sales annually. And that’s on the conservative end. Let’s say the real number is somewhere between 5% and 9%, so we’ll use 7%. A loss of a single star rating would mean $35,000 in missed annual sales. You cannot afford to ignore online reviews.

We’ve heard first hand from a business owner whose sales dropped last year rather quickly and significantly. He had no idea why he went from being busy to barely getting by. After many frustrating months, he found an intensely worded negative review on Yelp from a previous customer. It was posted during the same month that his business declined dramatically. Once this owner found the review, contacted the customer and addressed the concern, the review was updated and his sales increased. Thousands of dollars in lost sales later, he has developed a process to review and respond to customers on social media sites.

I research social media sites consistently for my clients. The good news is that the majority of the information is positive, but the frightening reality is that most business owners are not utilizing the feedback.

Step 1 – OWN IT

Claim your business on the social media sites. Develop a schedule to review and respond within 48 hours. A polite “thank you for the excellent review” or “I’m sorry about your experience. Please contact me directly to resolve your issue.” Either way, the customer feels valued and connected. No response leaves the reader with the impression that the business really does not value their customers or their feedback.

Step 2- SHARE IT

If it’s a positive review, then commend your staff on the success. It’s a great way to keep your team focused on the importance of service and let them know that you appreciate their efforts. If it’s a negative review, don’t type your response right away. Read it, investigate it, and then respond professionally from the high road, even if it’s just to let the reviewer know that you’re working on the problem.

The majority of negative reviews reflect missed opportunities with customer service.

Let’s take a look at an example from a local store and determine what we can learn.

Why do I keep trying to shop at this store?? Bad, bad, bad customer service every time. The sales clerk admitted that an employee was mispricing merchandise. I wanted to purchase something and showed her that they were all priced differently and it wasn't my fault and they should honor the lowest marked price. She wouldn't so I left without buying anything. Never again.


As the owner checking feedback regularly, I can review my inventory for recently price-adjusted items and validate the customer comments. If I confirm that items were incorrectly priced, then I need to research who, when, and how it occurred. Maybe more training for a new staff member is needed, or simply a discussion about the consistent execution of processes and communication.

An issue of importance, like incorrect pricing, should have been communicated and addressed before customer feedback brought it to your attention. Perhaps the price change process is manual or complex, and the staff will offer ideas on simplifying it. Allowing your team input into processes allows ownership. If you listen to your customers, you must also listen to your staff. With a communication system, you will learn many things from both on how to improve your business.

Owners Plan of Action Should Include:

1. Own Your Business on Social Media Sites – Review and Respond to all Feedback.

2. Share the Feedback with Your Staff

3. Learn and Improve Your Business

*Data from BrightLocal

The Retail Coach Consultant Group can help you navigate the world of online reviews. We offer a free consultation to discuss how your business can better use customer feedback to increase your sales and your profits. Contact us today.

Sara Mays

Principal Consultant

The Retail Coach Consultant Group-New York