When talking about online reviews, we sometimes get caught up in the Social and SEO benefits of having them on your site. But we should never forget where they can be most powerful - as customer service tools.

Reviews give you invaluable feedback  whether they are of your overall business or of multiple products/services. They can often be the first point at which you realise you have a problem with a customer or an order.

Many of our clients have an escalation process in place which causes them to immediately contact a customer when they receive a negative review from them. The aim is, of course, to end up with a happy customer. Once you succeed in that, you can quite reasonably ask to withhold the review. This is impossible on a third-party review hub.

Those customers often end-up being your strongest advocates.

We have seen some amazing cases of companies using our solutions and transforming their quality due to reviews over a period of time. In some cases they were new businesses struggling with service quality. In other cases the businesses had great products but their delivery system was letting them down. By paying close attention to the reviews, they could focus on their problems and improve on them.

But it's not just negative reviews that you should focus on. If customers are regularly complimenting you on one particular aspect of your service/products then it may be an opportunity for you to do even more in that area to grow sales.

By tying together feedback in reviews with conversations on Facebook and Twitter, your customers know that you care.