Customer experience is crucial to the longevity of your business, but especially when running a small business. Details such as online reputation can be easily overlooked. There are numerous places where customers are both satisfied and dissatisfied, and keeping up with each and every review is often more than a full time job. Unfortunately, businesses that neglect online reputation do so at their own peril. Customer reviews figure into search engine results, and poor reviews result in fewer views and less visibility.
Why Do Online Reviews Matter?
Almost all — 94% — of customers do research online before making a purchase. This means that before you even get the chance to provide excellent value and customer service to someone, oftentimes they have already made up their mind as to whether they plan to enter your business. This makes online reviews an especially crucial part of your business, and not just the ones that are positive and glowing.
When customers read through the reviews, they are looking for credibility. Nothing but positive reviews can look fishy, and negative reviews with bad responses or no responses at all can garner a silent pass from a potential customer without so much as an opportunity to plead your case.
Responses to reviews online is your only real chance to plead your case to potential customers. Responses to positive reviews should include a thank you and acknowledgement that the customer took the time to say nice things about your business.
Bad reviews should be trickier than that but they really aren’t. Think of poor reviews as an opportunity to make things right. The customer took the time to offer feedback on your business, and the least you could do is acknowledge that and ask how you can do better next time. It’s an opportunity to set things right, and the added bonus is that those potential customers who are reading the reviews can see what kind of business person you are, which factors into their decision to do business with you. More than 70% of customers say they think better of a brand that takes the time to respond to reviews online.
Related Article: Why Doesn't UX Get Fast Feedback and Iterate?
How Can You Make Online Reviews Work for Your Business?
Getting more reviews is a crucial step, across platforms. As far as Google reviews go, good reviews lend greater visibility to your business. An increase from three to five stars can mean 25% greater visibility online. What’s more, almost half of consumers say that a business needs at least a four-star rating in order to be considered reputable. In 2018, 86% of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses, and 40% said that negative reviews turned them away.
Fortunately tools can help business owners keep up. Artificial intelligence can help business owners keep tabs on reviews across multiple sites, alerting business owners to new reviews that require responses. This can cut a lot of the guesswork out of knowing which reviews platform to give your attention to on any given day.
Learn more about AI and online reviews here.