The importance of online reviews
The internet is evolving, and online reviews are becoming one of the most powerful and mutually beneficial tools that any business can utilize. People desire knowledge from first-hand experiences; according to Spiegel Research Centre (2017), 95% of shoppers read online reviews before purchasing a product or service. It’s never been easier to evaluate products and services based on the feedback from like-minded consumers online. If you haven’t already, now could be an excellent time for your business to invest effort and resources into acquiring, monitoring, and responding to customer reviews.
- Credibility: BrightLocal (2019) revealed that 91% of consumers are more likely to use or purchase from a small business with good reviews. Providing positive reviews for future consumers to turn to will help solidify your brand’s reputation and establish trust within your company.
- Enhance customer experience: Reading your customer’s reviews can be a great way to discover issues you didn’t notice before. If this occurs, you’re given the perfect opportunity to provide a solution to your consumer’s problem and (hopefully) turn their negative review into a positive experience.
- Improve SEO: Businesses need good SEO (search engine optimization) tactics to be found in web searches. Online reviews influence your SEO, as they can determine where a business lands within search rankings. For instance, Facebook and Yelp rank businesses based on the number of reviews and their overall rating. Thus, the more your brand is mentioned, the more it will appear in relevant search results.
Ask for Reviews
The best way to obtain consistent online reviews is to provide a quality product or service backed by excellent customer support. More often than not, happy consumers are willing to share their positive experiences with your brand. If they forget to leave a review, don’t be afraid to ask. Showing that your business is open to feedback can only help develop a trusting relationship between you and your customers, who will know your brand cares about its customer’s satisfaction.
Don’t forget to reply
Recent studies by BrightLocal (2019) show that 97% of online readers take note of a brand’s responses to reviews, making replying to reviews a regular step business should take to improve their virtual presence. Responding to feedback is a simple way to show appreciation to your existing customers, while also providing additional SEO value to your business.
What about responding to negative reviews? Marketing Bitz (2018) indicated that 33% of Yelp reviewers would improve their online reviews of businesses if they receive a personalized response to their complaint. Customers place value on companies that show that they will listen to criticism and prioritize their customers. Just remember to stick to your brand’s core values and word your responses with thoughtfulness and professionalism.