People get frustrated when they spend $15 on a disappointing meal, but they’re downright angry when they drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on something that doesn’t meet their expectations. That is part of why consumers often turn to online review sites before they make a decision about which business to hire in their time of need.
Here are some ways online reviews can help or hinder your business.
A high volume of positive reviews can boost your page rankings on search engines like Google; the best-ranked services in a particular area will often appear at the top of the results page. Plus, search engines love pages that receive regular updates, so every new review will help keep you on the radar.
Reviews can also boost your visibility in that your happy customers may decide to follow you on social media and share it with your friends when you have a special deal going on.
A survey by BrightLocal found that in 2014, 88 percent of respondents had read online reviews to determine the quality of a business, and 39 percent read reviews regularly. Many people may read 10 — or more — reviews of a local business. This is beneficial because mishaps and ornery customers will inevitably lead to some negative reviews, but consumers’ willingness to dig deeper gives businesses an opportunity to shine despite the naysayers.
The survey also found that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
Getting to Know Your Customers
While you do not want to worry excessively about online reviews, you should engage in reputation monitoring. Read reviews, and pay particular attention to ones that give detailed reasons behind the rating. Making note of repeat offenses conveyed by your customers can help you adjust your business policy and inspire more positive reviews in the future.
Many reviews sites afford you the opportunity to comment on what others have to say. You can engage with your customers by thanking them for their feedback and tactfully addressing any concerns they have. This type of relationship building may inspire them to start following you on social media or, if the review was negative, give you another chance.
Influencing Purchasing Decisions
Of course, the goal of any interaction with customers is to build loyalty and draw in new customers. Review sites can help you do that. Dimensional Research conducted a study that found 90 percent of people say that positive reviews influence their buying decisions, while 86 percent say negative reviews affect their buying decisions.
No matter what line of business you’re in, you must keep in mind that your online reputation can impact your business for the good — or for the bad. Monitor and manage your reputation on online review sites to increase your visibility, build trust, get to know your customers, and ultimately influence their purchasing decisions.