Online reviews are the key to your business’ success. Building and maintaining a solidly positive reputation online isn’t something that you should consider to be a luxury. Instead, frame it as a luxury because positive online reviews tell your customers a great deal about your business – even before they’ve ever engaged in a transaction with you.
Put it this way: during a recession, only the businesses with really good online reviews will thrive. Consumers will be more discerning and will support only those businesses that have great reviews.
What Do Your Online Reviews Say About Your Business?
Earning positive reviews online gives your potential customers the reassurance they need that you’re reliable, that you offer high-quality services and/or products and that you know how to keep customers happy and satisfied.
The research backs this assertion up. According to a Local Customer Review Survey conducted by BrightLocal in 2015, and highlighted on Search Engine Land that same year, 92% of consumers make reading online reviews a part of their decision-making process. Even more eye-opening is the fact that a full 87% of consumers won’t even think about doing business with your company if you have low ratings. That means you never even have the chance to showcase your business’ attributes because you don’t get that far.
With 80% of consumers having the mindset that online reviews are just as valid as personal recommendations, it makes good business sense to focus your energy on cultivating them. Understanding the tangible ways that online reviews can do this can drive your business strategy so it’s more effective.
Here are 3 ways online reviews will save your business:
#1: Online Reviews Establish Your Brand
Your small business simply doesn’t have the name power that a well-known brand has. Your customers don’t know what to expect and might, understandably, be hesitant to take a chance on you.
Online reviews provide potential customers with a better understanding of your brand, what it has to offer and how it’s different from the competition. They help boost consumer confidence in your company.
#2: Online Reviews Help You Discover What Can Be Improved
Learning about what your business is doing right and how it can improve is a key factor in facilitating its growth. While you might be able to objectively hone in on areas of improvement due to tracking processes and other systems you have in place, there’s nothing like online reviews to highlight those issues that you might not be aware of.
For example, you might think that your company’s customer service approach is fair and equitable – and it very well could be. However, if online reviews reveal that it’s lacking in some aspect when compared to your competition, you’ve gained insight into a crucial area that could use improvement.
Being responsive about the issues raised by online reviewers can help you win them back as well. Acknowledging the issue, outlining ways you’re going to fix the problem and inviting them to give your business another chance so they can experience the improvements themselves could convince them to return.
This approach helps you earn the loyalty of customers. Without this, your business will struggle to be successful over the long term.
#3: Online Reviews Provide Specific Feedback
Introducing new services and/or products – or launching improvements on existing ones – is the key to providing solutions to your customers’ problems. Launching these can cost you a great deal in resources such as time, effort and money. Obtaining clear feedback regarding these launches – and making improvements based on that – can help you determine how your new products and/or services are being received.
Online reviews are a necessity in the business world of today. No matter which industry your business is in, understanding the importance of online reviews is vital to its success in both the long and short term.