To capture a five-star review with every transaction equals business bliss, but even the most accomplished fulfillment company cannot count on such ethereal contentment. Why even try, you ask? Customer satisfaction translates into sales, but above and beyond the obvious financial consideration is the sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing you are meeting the customer’s needs.

When customers write a review, fill out a survey or give you person-to-person feedback, what inevitably bubbles to the surface is their perceived level of satisfaction. What do reviews and feedback actually tell you, though, and how does that translate into business success?

You can hardly return home from a shopping trip or appointment these days without getting a call, text or email asking you to rate your experience. Many businesses employ third party, industry-related companies to gather and process the data. Some “review wranglers” handle analytics alone, while others assess strengths and weaknesses and offer ideas on building better customer relations.

Data paint the big picture of how a business is doing, but reviews and surveys often dig deeper for patterns and trends. If a customer offers a good review, what is that person reflecting on – an answer to a question, a kind word and smile, a great parking space, the quality of the product or a piece of information that helped them make a decision? When asked to answer survey questions directly after a visit or shopping experience, the customer is more likely to be brief and to the point with their thoughts and feelings. A more measured response outlining specific actions comes with time for reflection and distance. Either way, customer feedback outlines where you are making positive strides and perhaps where adjustments are necessary.

Much advice abounds on working to reverse bad comments and reviews – or connect with only positive responses. What is equally important is to absorb what is being said and how to react to the good, the bad and everything in between.

Think of your own customer service experiences – what made you pleased with the interaction as well as those things you felt negative about. Did you comment equally on either side, or feel strongly about one or the other to comment, add a review or call the company?

Reacting to (and learning from) customer reviews are not just something on the to-do list. They represent the immediacy of today’s interactions, and how swiftly customers are either asked to respond or feel they must offer an opinion.

Five-star, good review days are wonderful and uplifting – they give hope that we are producing something good and relevant. Poor reviews or complaints feel like a kick when we are down. Before you act or react to any comments, suggestions or reviews, understand they are the product of an experience that is influenced by many triggers and factors. Most customers want to pass along positive comments and suggestions and feel their insight is important. If you can embrace the good with the bad and learn from it, you have already succeeded where many in business fail.

The above information is for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business and legal counseling.