Online customer review management is an extremely effective approach for driving sales. Customers want to read reviews before making decisions. Having very few reviews or many bad reviews can easily damage the reputation of your business and drive customers elsewhere. The unfortunate reality is that you will never know how many customers you are losing with no reviews or bad reviews, because they won’t call and tell you that they went to your competition who had the better reviews.
Imagine you wanted to buy a product from a new company. If you were unfamiliar with the brand, you might to do an internet search to see what others thought of the product before you buy it. Reviews can tell you whether other customers thought the product was made of high quality materials, or whether it fit “true to size”.
Local business review management isn’t just important for restaurants anymore. Review management is critical for any local service business or brick and mortar retail location.
Customers are more likely to trust the word of another customer than the business itself. In an online consumer survey, a recent study found that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and 90% of customers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions. It also found that 39% of customers read reviews on a regular basis, a number that is continuing to grow.
A major benefit of online reviews is free advertising. Each review posted online by a customer is a form of advertising for your business. Websites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook all give customers the ability to review businesses. The more positive reviews you get, the more likely your business will show up prominently for customers searching on those websites. Google reviews are especially beneficial because they can also help improve your Google search engine rankings.
We find that many businesses that we speak with are hesitant to ask their customers for reviews because they are concerned about getting negative reviews. Let’s face it – occasionally you are going to get a negative review. It happens. But businesses who prepare for the day that bad review comes by cultivating several good reviews ahead of time are going to end up with a much better image.
Also, many review platforms give you the power to respond to the negative reviews. Maybe it was a misunderstanding or a onetime occurrence, but showing that you care enough by responding to the negative review is a great way to alleviate some of the bad feelings that a disappointed customer may have. By solving their issue, you may be able to get them to change their review into a positive one. Don’t forget to thank customers for leaving positive reviews. This level of engagement helps you build a better relationship with your customers and shows potential customers that you are engaged in the customer service aspect of your business.
In the digital world, the presence of online reviews should be a priority to any business. Those businesses who are focusing today on online reviews will be the leaders in their industries as reviews become even more important in 2018.