From generations, humans have depended on other people’s suggestions and reviews before they purchase something. The simple concept of word of mouth has now taken another shape in the form of online reviews. Regardless of what business you are running, if you do not have positive reviews, you will never have any chances to get ahead in the competition. Investor's recent surveys have revealed that over 80 to 90% of customers look for reviews and recommendations from their family, friends, and online buyers. 72% of customers look for positive reviews before making a choice while 31% chooses the ones with an excellent rating. It also revealed that a single negative review can cost a business about 30 customers.
What customers say about you in online reviews can make or break your business. Without the best online reviews possible, you can miss out on incredible opportunities to build a positive online reputation that will help you reap higher returns on investment.
Online business reviews have become a crucial resource for online consumers in the last couple of years. If they want to know where they should go or which businesses they can trust, customers will often turn to business reviews online for recommendations or advice.
The Internet has become a valuable guide for customers who want to purchase a product, look up a service, or find a business. Online business reviews serve as sources of information that people trust to help them make informed decisions. In fact, more than 88% of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This makes online business reviews the second most trusted form of advertising.
With the exponential growth of the number of business review sites every year, your online reviews are powerful tools that can benefit—or harm—your business, depending on the way you manage them. A significant amount of positive or negative reviews will have an enormous impact on your business and will affect your online reputation as well as your future customers and profits.
So, if you have a listed business, the right thing to do is keep an eye on these reviews and take control of the situation to turn it in your favor. Wondering how you would do it? Here are a few points that will help you in the process.
1> Define your products and services
There is no point in adding your listings or putting out services online if you are not able to provide adequate detail about your brand, product, and services. You need to create rich content that will describe everything in detail so newer customers can get an idea about it before they even move towards the review section. This is extremely important since there are often some negative reviews that are due to unreasonable expectations of customers who weren’t fed the right knowledge.
2> Setting up Search Engine alerts
Yes, you have put all the information that is possible from your end on the World Wide Web, but how will you know whether people are looking or writing about your services or products? The best way is to set up alerts such as Google Alerts that sends a free e-mail update whenever your search terms are mentioned by someone. Also, set up alerts on listings and product pages such as Yelp, a popular consumer review site, so that you are notified quickly about any review that has been posted related to your business. Referrals are one of the most effective marketing tactics in business. Review sites like the Yelp aggregate customer reviews from around the web and is another way your clients can send referrals your way. Happy customers can make a big difference in their circle through their word-of-mouth.
3> Respond to negative reviews
Don’t treat negative reviews as a bad thing, instead treat it as a chance to offer some sound customer service. If the website allows you to respond directly to the review, revert to the customer with an apology and provide a fix for the problem. You can even try to win the customer back by offering some discounts and acknowledging that their review means a lot to your business. Obviously, you will not be able to please everyone but your sincere effort will be seen and repaid.
4> Appreciate positive reviews
Apart from replying to negative reviews, make sure that you also appreciate and thank the customers who are talking good about your business. Let them know how much their kind words mean to your business. This will encourage more and more customers to leave positive reviews that will eventually improve your reputation and search engine rankings.
5> Do not post fake reviews
One of the easiest routes to boost your reputation and ratings is to get a set of people write fake reviews for your business. Remember, this might be tempting but is also considered unethical and directly violates the terms and conditions on the most website. If caught, your company will be blacklisted, fined heavily, and have a tarnished reputation in the future. Also, due to an influx of such fake reviews, people are smart enough to understand what is real and what is not. Adding a handful of fake reviews instead of putting more effort to please your customers is a strict no-no.
6> Business Ratings
Online business ratings and reviews are usually made up of two parts: the customer’s review in text form, and the average star rating given to the business. Visitors to review sites often skip the text review to look at the star rating when looking up a business. With an effective and efficient way of managing your company reviews, especially your business’ star rating, you can protect your online reputation and improve your brand.
Vinod has conceptualized and delivered niche mobility products that cater to various domains including logistics, media & non-profits. He leads, mentors & coaches a team of Project Coordinators & Analysts at Fingent.