Insights from customer reviews can help you make valuable changes to your business model. These reviews often touch upon a variety of core areas, such as pricing, product quality, service and distribution. You can even use customer reviews of competitors as informal benchmarks to which you can measure your own business.

Many companies are already taking advantage of these insights in a variety of powerful ways. As Adweek reports, a study conducted by Trustpilot and Econsultancy found that 58 percent of businesses say that customer reviews help them to identify opportunities for improving their companies.

Here are five steps that will help you gain valuable insights from customer reviews:

1. Be Systematic About Collecting Customer Reviews

A great way to start this process is to make a list of online sources that post customer reviews of your business. A simple way to retrieve this information is to perform a basic Google search of your company's name to see which review sites trigger results. Once you've compiled your list, you can check the included sites on a regular basis.

2. Classify Each Customer Review

When you're looking at one of these websites, you should first take note of your average rating. If you want to keep track of this information, you may want to put this rating underneath the name of the corresponding site on your list.

Then, you can take the time to classify each individual review. After you read a customer's comments, you should take note of which specific areas of your business he or she liked and didn't like. For example, one reviewer may have raved about the quality of your service, while another may have claimed that your prices were too high. By breaking down your customers' insights into key categories, you can have a better sense of your strengths and areas for potential improvement.

3. Note the Influence of the Reviewer

Some reviewers have more influence because they post a lot of reviews or have garnered a following on social media. If this is the case, you may want to weigh their feedback more heavily. Posts by expert or influential reviewers may receive greater exposure to their followers, or appear first on review sites.

4. Look for Patterns

Throughout this process, you should be on the lookout for any long-term patterns in your customer reviews. Once you are able to identify a particular pattern, you should consider making appropriate changes to your business. For example, if you receive multiple reviews claiming that your prices are too high, you can take the initiative to come up with an action plan to solve this particular problem. Perhaps you can look to your competitors to see how their prices compare. Or, you can review your daily costs to see where you can make cuts that will allow you to make pricing adjustments without suffering a loss in profit.

By working to understand and categorize these insights, you can make important changes that will help you to meet your customers' needs.

Tags: operations Business Strategy customer loyalty Customer Relationships