If you are a business owner, then you understand the importance of keeping your customers happy. Happy customers equal repeat business, so business owners should constantly strive to improve and perfect their goods or service.
When customers receive a high-quality product or service, they not only come back again, but they also tell their friends. In today’s marketplace, most business is conducted online. For most consumers, online business is conducted mainly through the use of a mobile phone or a laptop. These online marketplaces have review sections where customers (and those pretending to be customers) can rate and review their customer experience.
The online ratings and reviews of goods and services are critically important to the success of a business, and it is important for business owners to be proactive regarding online customer reviews.
The Importance of Online Customer Reviews Towards Business
If your business sells anything online, your online customer ratings and reviews should be incredibly important. Even if your business does not sell online, your business can be rated and reviewed on websites such as Yelp! And Angie’s List.
A staggering almost 9 out of 10 people worldwide read reviews before they decide to purchase a product or service. This figure tells us a couple of things. First, it tells us that people will take the time to read one review of a product or service before buying it; and second, people seem to want to trust other buyers of the product and their experiences and opinions.
Here are seven reasons why reviews are important to your business:
- Online reviews have proven to be the most significant element of social proof.
- Customers all value fresh and original content, and consumer reviews can help keep your brand favored by Google, Facebook, and Bing’s algorithms.
- Businesses and brands that have better averages on their ratings are more likely to have views and clicks converted to sales and traffic.
- To continue to expand your brand’s reach, you can encourage current customers to review your business after purchase.
- About two-thirds of online shoppers believe that good and bad online reviews are a critical part of the decision-making for where they shop.
- According to a study done by Harvard, a 1-star development on Yelp.com led to an increase of 5% to 9% on sales in the short term.
- Online reviews give you a panel to be upfront with customers and strengthen positive reviews with gratitude, but the forum also gives your business a way to rectify a poor review and show that you care quickly, in a way that won’t damage your image.
Most buyers are looking for consistency in the ratings and reviews regarding a product or service, and consistently good ratings typically lead to consistently good sales.
Some of the ways your reviews can be found are under your Google My Profile (formerly Google My Business) listing on Google and on Yelp. When someone searches for your business on Google, they will see a map on the top of the page or on the right that will include a map and some businesses, this is called Google My Profile. Your business has the ability to rank on these GMB listings, where your Google and Yelp Reviews will be posted.
How to Handle Positive Online Customer Reviews
It is important for a business to seem alive online and interact with customers positively and be productive. When your small business gets a positive review, it opens the opportunity to interact with a customer who took time out of their day to tell everyone how great your product or service is. That person deserves to be thanked online and welcomed back for future business. Business owners should consider sending an email to the reviewer thanking them directly and offering a promotion regarding future business.
Other customers might not be the type to take the initiative and review your business. Offering things such as discounts or free shipping can encourage those customers to submit online reviews for your benefit.
Positive customer feedback makes you appealing to other potential customers and informs you about what your clients like and expect from your business. Continually offering an excellent product or service can go a long way towards making your online presence strong and permanent. It is important that your website highlights online customer reviews, as online reviews influence nearly 68% of purchasing decisions.
How to Control Negative Online Customer Reviews
It can be reasonably easy to respond to a happy customer online. Telling someone thank you for leaving a positive review isn’t too tricky for any business owner. Handling a negative customer review, on the other hand, can be a bit trickier.
Studies have shown that when a business has a negative review online and the business positively interacts with that reviewer, the business conversion rate increases by 85%. In most cases, a customer may feel that they were not given good service or a good product, and their immediate reaction was to trash you online. These customers can often be made happy with the business attempting to make it up to them in some way reasonably.
If an online purchaser of a product wasn’t happy with the quality of the product, then offering a free return or replacement is often the first step in turning a negative online review into a positive one.
Doing not only helps make your current customer happy but also signals to other customers that you stand behind your product or service and will go the extra mile to make sure that your customers are satisfied. Apologizing and offering to make good on your business transactions with unhappy customers can help turn detractors into supporters of your online business.
How to Manage Fake Online Customer Reviews
The only that is worse than a negative online customer review is a fake online customer review. Whether they are positive or negative, fake reviews make a business appear untrustworthy. If it is evident that there are a lot of fake five-star reviews and ratings, then potential customers will be turned off and will even believe that your business is behind it.
Fake online negative reviews are the worst type of online customer review because there is nobody to make happy. As a business owner, you cannot fix a situation that didn’t occur with a customer that you never had, but you do have options in how to handle fake reviews. Many of these reviews offer little more than a low rating and generic language that doesn’t even really describe your business offering.
Each platform where reviews are left has a mechanism in how to determine if a review is real or not. In many cases, you simply have to reach out to the platform to inform them that you believe someone left a fake review. Google, for example, explains how to read & reply to reviews on google listings here.
When informed of a fake review, most platforms will then look into it and may attempt to contact the reviewer to see if the review is real or not. If it is determined that the review isn’t real, the platform can remove it. It is critical to jump on fake reviews quickly before they harm your brand or business.
Understanding the Goals of Managing Your Online Customer Reviews
The biggest goal of managing your online customer reviews should be transparency. Online customers want to be able to trust your company and your product or service. They want to feel assured that if something goes wrong with their order, that the business will act reasonably and do whatever they can to make sure everything is corrected and/or money is refunded. If you properly manage your online customer reviews, then people will not only learn to trust your product, they will learn to trust your business.
Let Get Visible Manage Your Customer Reviews
Managing consumers’ reviews can be time-consuming and feel impossible. Allow our experts to optimize and manage your listings on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and more. Contact Get Visible today for more information.