Studies show online reviews can make or break small and local businesses. Follow these three tips to generate good customer feedback.

1. Offer customers a venue for feedback.

Before unsatisfied customers turn to social media and sites like Yelp to voice their frustrations, offer them a portal or form on your website or app to speak directly to you. If it’s difficult to communicate with your business, customers will find other more public ways to express their complaints.

2. Make giving feedback easy.

It’s not enough to only create a feedback platform, you have to make customers want to use it. Surveys that are too long or employ automated dialogue with a bot can make customers check out before they tell you how to improve. Especially when dealing with complaints, avoid automation. Everyone appreciates human interaction and empathy.

3. Don’t retaliate.

When customers leave negative reviews, it’s important to address them directly, but tactfully. At best you will not change the mind of an upset customer, and at worst, retaliation could lead to lawsuits. As Jon Taffer, host of Bar Rescue tells Inc., businesses that put their effort into generating more positive reviews will do more to negate the impact of a handful of bad ratings.

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