In today’s world, it is safe to say that online reviews are of paramount importance to a business’ growth. It is a reflection of how your business and the services it offers is perceived by your customers. Consumers are always looking for the best option out there to invest in, and they want to let everyone know about their purchase experiences.
With the ubiquity of the internet and mobile devices, every consumer out there has the power to make or break your business with a single review. As a matter of fact, 97% of consumers read online reviews before they make purchases. Therefore, it is a must for businesses to adopt review management as a priority in their plans, paying attention to everything their customers say about their business and the services they offer.
Why Review Management is Important
Reviews matter to your business because it is the voice of every consumer. The best way to understand the importance of online reviews is to understand the average consumer’s purchase decision process. Imagine a mother is looking for the best paediatrician to treat her three-year-old son. She would want to go to a doctor who is well-renowned for his/her services, run a Google search of paediatricians in her area, and look at the reviews or star ratings to make her decision. From a big list of medical practitioners, she will narrow it down to the doctor with the best star rating before she makes an appointment. The power of reviews is significantly large as it helps consumers make informed decisions. Here are some reasons why businesses should prioritize reviews in their business plans.
- The foremost reason for business to implement review management is because it builds trust. When people see that a business is responsive to their customer reviews, they will believe that the business provides good, quality services. According to research, potential customers who find businesses responding to negative reviews, are 116% more likely to make a purchase. In addition to this, a business owner can stay ahead of his/her competition.
- Consumers want to purchase from businesses that have a considerable number of reviews. In fact, according to a research, it was found that 85% of consumers read upto 10 reviews at the least, and 57% of consumers will look through page three of the results before they make a purchase decision.
- Reading online reviews gives businesses an easy-access to studying and understanding their customers. It can help build buyer personas, and the feedback can help business owners re-think their marketing approaches.
- Good reviews will have a direct and positive impact on the sales and brand image of a business.
- Online reviews take precedence over personal recommendations among consumers. It was found that 88% of consumers made purchase decisions because of online reviews.
- Search engines will find business websites far more credible for search results if they have star ratings and positive reviews. Consequently, businesses will increase their chances of ranking higher on search engine results.
Automating Review Management
Review and reputation management all comes down to understanding your customers, monitoring reviews and responding to them. It can be cumbersome for businesses to keep a track of the mentions they get online. With the advancements in marketing practices and technology, leveraging review management for businesses is now streamlined and simplified. In addition to review sites, consumers even wield social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter to their advantage.
Online conversations take place in plenty with the addition of social media to review platforms like Google reviews or G2 Crowd, providing consumers with the means to create reviews; therefore it would be much more lucrative to the time and effort of businesses if they adopt review management automation. By using a review management software, they can track and respond to these reviews in real-time. Social listening tools like Mention and Hootsuite can help business owners respond to real-time reviews specifically on social media platforms as well. This can help businesses stay ahead of the curve, and increase their credibility in the eyes of their customers.
Increasing Business Reviews
Another important aspect of review management for businesses is generating reviews. Businesses have to make sure that their customers leave them reviews based on their experience with the product or the service. There are quite a few ways you can increase reviews for your business:
- Make sure your business is listed on all possible directories like Google My Business and Justdial. You cannot simply rely on a business website to generate reviews, you need to widen your spectrum.
- Giving customers an incentive to leave reviews is quite a lucrative means to increase reviews.
- Respond to all your reviews. It’ll encourage your future customers to leave you reviews.
- Businesses with a brick and mortar store front can give their customers review handouts. These are pamphlets that you handout at your store with instructions on how to leave reviews for businesses on the desired review site.
- The simplest and perhaps the most underrated method is asking customers to leave businesses reviews. In a study, it was found that 68% of customers eave businesses reviews when requested to do so.
Dealing with Negative and Fake Reviews
Negative and fake reviews are something business owners need to respond to with tact and patience. In the case of negative reviews, it best to respond to these customers within 24 hours and provide them with immediate solutions. It even enhances your credibility as a business that provides after sales services as well. According to research, 93% of consumers read reviews to determine if a business is worth it, and in the course of the study, they found that the effect of negative reviews is decreasing the chances of a customer writing-off a business. Nevertheless, tending to your negative reviews can help you change your customer’s perception of your business’ services.
With respect to fake negative reviews, businesses need to dig deep before they discredit accusations. As such reviews draw a lot of attention to them if they have malicious content, it is best to respond politely and find the root of the accusation before it is discredited. Most review sites allow you to flag such reviews so that it can be removed. Besides, the consumers who look for business reviews are smart enough to tell the difference. In a study, 79% of consumers recognized fake reviews, that is, they were able to distinguish the fake ones from the genuine ones.
Reviews have widened the scope for businesses to better their customer relationships. Business owners can increase their growth if they cultivate the review habit among their customers. This can help them grow their businesses and build strong customer relationships.
In addition to building reviews, businesses need to optimize their local SEO and make sure that their businesses can be found by their customers. It was stated in a recent study that 35% of consumers read reviews of business that they searched for locally. In the end, all your efforts towards review management and generation comes down to how much you care about your customers and how you choose to interact with them.