Online reviews for businesses are everywhere and have become a vital component of the purchasing decision for many people. From simply finding “the best burrito near me” to researching and selecting a realtor to help you buy a home, looking up reviews on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Zillow increasingly guide the first step in an individual’s purchase journey.
This reliance on reviews by potential customers makes your business’s online presence a valuable commodity. It’s no longer enough to provide a stellar service or product and wait for positive reviews from your loyal customers to roll in automatically. A disgruntled customer, regardless of the reason, can result in a negative review. And that angry review? That single experience may be enough to keep away potential customers, losing you revenue and the opportunity to turn a future visitor into your next brand advocate.
Why you need to pay attention to online reviews
Not convinced that online reviews really matter? Consider the following:
1. 89% of customers won’t take action before they read some online reviews
(Source: My Testimonial Engine)
It doesn’t matter how effective the rest of your marketing efforts are if a user is ultimately kept away by a poorly maintained online reputation. Customers want to hear real experiences from real people, not just from the business owner.
2. 59% of customers trust online reviews to help them make a purchase decision
Knowing who to do business with has always been a tricky endeavor. Your potential customers want a company they can trust who will provide a quality good or service. But in a situation where they choose from companies they know nothing about, the easiest route is to ask for advice from a friend, a neighbor, or users leaving online reviews.
People are turning to review sites to help them research brands. They’re looking for other people in a similar situation to them sharing candid accounts of their experience. Individual tastes vary, but reading about a company gives people confidence in knowing what to expect.
3. 15% of customers don’t trust businesses that don’t have online reviews
As more and more people search for business reviews, they expect that savvy owners will have a robust website and social media presence to help them with their research. Consumers who can’t find information worry that a company is new or not adequately vetted.
4. 94% of customers have avoided doing business with a company due to a negative review
(Source: Online Reviews Survey)
Many factors can lead to a negative online review. Even products with generally favorable reviews can suffer from a customer or an employee’s bad day, resulting in a poor experience and negative customer feedback. However, when there are multiple options for who to do business with, customers will overwhelmingly turn to someone they view as a safer bet, making reason #5 all the more important.
5. 53% of customers expect a business to respond to online reviews
(Source: Review Trackers)
In case you thought that online reviewers were giving feedback solely for the sake of other customers, think again. More than half of individuals surveyed about their reviewing habits reported leaving reviews expecting that the businesses in question would respond. This could mean either a response to a positive review (i.e., keep it up!) or a negative review (i.e., less of that!). Business owners should recognize that their customers leave comments with the idea that management will take action. Having a strategy to reply to these encouraging statements or respond to criticism is crucial.
Get help with your online review management strategy
Your business’s digital footprint matters, and online reviews dramatically affect public perception of your brand. A thorough review management strategy that encourages positive feedback while promoting your services is essential. Having processes like these in place will help protect your brand’s reputation while building a positive online presence.
That’s why our team offers both services and consulting to help take the headache out of review management. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you take your online reputation to the next level.