When you want to purchase something like an appliance or choose a company for a service, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like millions of other people, then you search the Internet for reviews about those companies or products.
Many businesses take online reviews for granted and even ignore them, but they have a major impact on your business. Customers who see negative reviews don’t buy your products or choose your company.
Businesses need to understand that importance of customer reviews and how they can improve or tank your business. You need to not only know about the reviews but also respond to them.
The Evolution of Reviews
Type in a business or service and odds are you’re going to find a review site about it. It could be one of the big ones like Yelp or Google My Business or it could be one of the countless smaller sites that popped up through the years.
Businesses and products used to count on word of mouth as their primary reviews. There weren’t websites where people could just say what they wanted. People began taking pictures of their food and saying how much they loved or hated it on Facebook and Twitter.
Review sites exploded for everything from general companies to tech products. Glassdoor lets you give reviews on a company’s work atmosphere. Angie’s List lets you post reviews about roofers and other home improvement companies.
Yelp started out primarily as a restaurant review site but expanded to reviews for everything. Now, one bad experience and a person can put bad reviews on several sites and you might never know it.
Why Are Customer Reviews So Important?
We mentioned earlier about word of mouth was once the primary review mechanism for businesses. Review sites are the word of mouth for the 21st century. Instead of asking their barber or their neighbor about a company, customers visit these sites.
Studies suggest people trust online reviews as much as the personal review of a trusted friend. In fact 72% of people won’t even take action until they’ve read reviews. By not having reviews you’re potentially saying goodbye to the majority of your customers.
If your site or business has good reviews, people are much more willing to buy. The same article states that the majority of consumers wont go with a business without at least a 4 star rating
Online reviews build trust in a brand and a company. They can also ruin a reputation if people have bad experiences. It’s more important today than ever to not only keep track of your online reviews but respond to them accordingly.
Many of these reviews are searchable on Google, so when someone looks up your company or service, they’re going to see these review sites. If you’re SEO isn’t very good, then they might see the review sites before they see your website.
Do you want the first impression a potential customer has of your business be a one-star review from a disgruntled former client? These reviews are integral to the decision-making process of most consumers and help bring in qualified leads. A good review can drive people to your door, but a negative review and drive them to competitors.
If you put reviews and testimonials on your site, then adding schema can cause them to show up in the snippets in Google. You’ll have your search listing and a five-star rating. That will get your site noticed fast.
Customer Reviews Go Beyond Review Sites
We live in a social world and sites like Facebook and Twitter have made it easier for customers to complain to applaud your company. A person’s experience, positive or negative, can quickly go viral if they post it to social media.
Reviews aren’t just about a few stars on review sites but in the everyday conversations of people on social media. They may tag you in a post or write in your feed directly about experiences they had in your store or with your service.
This is one reason why businesses need to be active in social media. It’s not enough to simply have a page. If they post something to you, then they expect an answer, but if you don’t pay attention to social media then you could miss it.
When was the last time you posted something on Facebook or Twitter? If you’re not checking your page at least every few days, you could miss out on important conversations about your business.
Respond to Online Reviews
Along with the importance of knowing when reviews post is responding to them. If a person posts a negative review, apologize and offer them a discount on their purchase. A business should never argue with a customer on social media.
All it does is make the business appear insensitive and belligerent. Even if you’re right, make sure to always be respectable when addressing and communicating the clients.
If the customer continues to respond, ask them to contact you directly by phone or direct message, so you can end the review on a positive note.
A negative review isn’t always bad. The way you respond shows you care about your customers and people reading the review will notice that. Also, if you handle the situation correctly, you can win the customer back.
The same rules apply for positive reviews. If someone has a great time, thank them and say how glad you were they had such a great experience.
Responding to reviews, Facebook posts, etc., shows a softer and more human side of your business. Ignoring reviews doesn’t help your business out at all. It once again shows you care little about what the customer experiences.
Reviews are Important to Your Business
If you have ignored reviews in the past, there’s still time to turn it around. Online review management is an integral part of today’s business climate. People trust reviews and one bad review can have a big impact on your business and sales.
It’s in your best interest to follow reviews and respond to them respectfully. Your customers are valuable and you don’t want to lose one or any because of a negative review. Good reviews can also boost your business and add trustworthiness.
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