These days people use the internet to find out everything–from what the weather will be like today to what that weird thing is growing on their toe—the internet has all the answers. So of course people check online reviews before they use a service or buy a product.
Do you know what’s in your business’s online reviews? Here are a few reasons you need to:
- 82% of U.S. adults say they at least sometimes read online customer ratings or reviews before purchasing items for the first time, including 40% who say they always or almost always do so.* No matter if your company is a small startup or a large corporation, you want to put your best foot forward. Online reviews are a great way for people to learn about your company.
- 84%of consumers trust opinions posted online as much as personal recommendations.** Although there appears to be an endless sea of comments on the internet posted by complete strangers, most people believe that reviewers are truthful. If you provide quality service and products then reviews will work to your advantage.
- 74%of consumers say positive reviews make them trust businesses more.** This may seem obvious, but consistently positive reviews can be difficult to achieve. A simple way to receive positive reviews is to be a “yes ma’am” business. This simply means to provide polite service that always satisfies customers.. When a customer is satisfied they will want to tell others about that quality service. Positive reviews make potential customers more willing to conduct business with your company.
- 58% of consumers pay most attention to overall star rating.** Since there are so many reviews online customers tend to pay the most attention to the star ratings for a quick, abbreviated review. If the star ratings are particularly high or particularly low, this may cause them to actually read the reviews.
- Encourage customers to leave positive reviews. At the end of a business transaction you should give the customer your business card with a clearly printed website on it. Give them simple directions on how to leave a review and politely suggest they leave a remark about your service. To encourage them to leave a review you can even use a promotion such as entering them into a raffle or offering them a percentage off their next order. This not only ensures that people will want to leave a review but can increase the likelihood of repeat business and foster customer loyalty.
- Turn around negative reviews. Just because a negative remark is posted online doesn’t mean it has to be there forever. Customers want to feel like they have been heard and are appreciated. Your company should monitor online reviews for complaints and establish a consistent, company-wide policy for responding to these unhappy customers. The response may include an apology and an appropriate customer compensation such as a refund or a discount on their next order. Such simple responses usually make people feel better about the situation. They’ll then be likely to share their positive experience with others or even completely remove their original negative review.
* Pew Research Center
By Caitlin Gilstrap