You may have used the Reviews tool on the Connectivity platform to view and respond to recent customer reviews. Perhaps you’ve checked out the competition’s reviews or even logged in to a customer review site to give a response to a negative review.

If you’ve done any of the above: congratulations! You are using the Reviews tool absolutely appropriately. But there’s another way to maximize your time examining reviews that leads to increased sales: use keyword search terms to drill down to what customers are buying, praising or criticizing. Evaluate the customers’ comments and then make strategic business decisions using the comments as underlying research.

Of course, reviews are subjective and the opinions expressed on a review site are only a snapshot of your entire business view. But what if your online business ratings are stubbornly stuck at 3.5 stars? Do you know the reasons?

Your business might try searching keywords that could point to customer “clues.” Search terms might involve words such as “manager,” “specials,” “price,” “restrooms,” “customer service” or “helpful.”

One recent example is a breakfast cafe that had very strong online reviews. Review after review praised its homemade ketchup. In fact, it was a search term mentioned over 100 times on the Reviews tool! After numerous positive reviews about the ketchup, the cafe owner felt pretty good. Then, she selected only 1-star reviews on the Connectivity platform and searched for “ketchup.” Some of the 1-star reviews were personal tastes (“The homemade ketchup was too sweet”) but the rest were 1-star reviews because the cafe had run out of homemade ketchup that day. Customers were upset; they had heard about the ketchup and they couldn’t try it on their visit.

Our cafe owner immediately knew that running out of ketchup was hurting her business; people vowed never to return because of the missing ketchup. By using search terms, she also found out that the servers in her cafe were doing a great job promoting the ketchup. She surmised it wouldn’t be that hard to add take-home bottles of her homemade ketchup to the cafe’s menu…and have the servers promote it in conversation. This could easily add $8 to a customer’s tab. She also brainstormed that she could mention her ketchup on the cafe’s Facebook page and in the small ad they purchased in a monthly local magazine. These steps could lead to increased visits and increased sales. (Do the math! If 15 customers bought the bottled ketchup per day, that’s an additional $3,360 revenue per month on a very profitable item.)

It’s hard to receive criticism sometimes, and it’s important to keep each review in perspective. Every business can have a bad day. But if some keywords keep popping up such as “pricey,” “attitude” or “poor quality,” it might be time to examine some basic facts about your business.

Here are some quick tips for using the Keyword Search to increase sales:

Search for names: If you have a business in which some employees are standouts, search for their names. Often, online reviews will mention an employee who is doing something great. Make sure to praise the employee or even honor them with a title such a “Yelp Employee of the Month.” A happy and recognized employee is one who will generate more sales for you.

Repeat promotions that work: According to the keyword terms, several reviews mentioned your insurance agency’s “ Safe Summer Driver Discount” or your gym’s “Buy One Membership, Get Two” promotion. Why not offer it again, but this time for another holiday or occasion?

Make the sales process easier: Reviews can point out quirky details, like the bike shop that consistently was cited as “too crowded” for really examining bikes. Or the car repair shop that never picked up the phone. Look at your keyword terms and see if something is holding up the sales process. Fix the problem and watch revenue increase.

Alex is Connectivity’s VP of Marketing.