Understanding the Importance of Online Reviews for Businesses

Online customer reviews can have major impacts on new businesses. Check out this article to discover the importance of online reviews for businesses.

When is the last time you asked someone you know for advice on a purchasing decision? Have you looked in a book to find information lately?

Probably not.

These days, people turn to the internet for information on everything they want to know. If they want to find out about your product or service, they will look for reviews about it.

Yet, online reviews can be a gamble. Research shows that it can take up to 40 positive reviews to undo 1 negative one.

Is it worth the risk? Absolutely, and here’s why.

Why Are Reviews Important?

There is a huge amount of research available on the internet about the relationship between customer reviews and buying decisions. These are the findings of one survey:

  • Before visiting your website 90% of customers will look at reviews first
  • 85% of these trust reviews as much as a personal reference
  • customers read up to 7 reviews before they will trust your business
  • 68% of customers will leave a review when asked
  • 97% of customers look for businesses online first

From the above, you can see that if you want to survive and thrive online, customer reviews can be as important as optimizing your SEO. In fact, the two work together to push your products and services up the rankings.

The Link Between Reviews and SEO

When a potential customer enters a search query such as ‘best restaurant’ it makes sense for search engines to trawl online customer reviews for this information.

If your customers are having consistently good experiences with your business and posting about them online, these reviews will rise to the surface.

There are websites like Yelp and Angie’s list that curate or collect reviews from all over the internet. Search engines consider these sites to have high authority and will push businesses that feature on them to the fore.

If you don’t want to compete with all the other products on the well-known platforms, there are other choices. Click here for an example.

This means extra exposure for your business. If you don’t have any reviews listed online, you are missing on out this opportunity.

How to Get Your Customers to Post Reviews

Up to 70% of customers look for reviews before making a purchase decision. You want some of that action.

The easiest way to get reviews is to ask for them. However, you need to be tactical about it.

Make sure you get contact details when a customer buys something. This is easy enough when you operate online.

Brick and mortar stores may need to get a little creative. Again, just ask. Customers may be willing to join your mailing list if they can expect alerts about your latest discounts. Another option is to offer a small lucky-draw prize in exchange for their details.

It pays to give the customer about a week to negotiate any problems with their new purchase before getting in touch with them. Asking for a review right away can be irritating if the customer has not tried the product yet, or if they have discovered a defect.

If there is a problem, it pays to give them time to calm down. Always lead with an inquiry about their satisfaction levels and the option to refund or replace anything they are unhappy with. Once you have satisfied their concerns, ask for a review.

Have a prominent link on your website so that customers can place their reviews easily. The same applies to your social media accounts.

You can copy the link from your Google My Business account and embed it in emails with a request for a review. This takes little effort on the part of the customer and can be a successful tactic for gaining extra reviews.

Content Will Always Be King

Online business reviews are awesome customer-curated content that you don’t have to pay for.

What’s more, they’re packed with (hopefully positive) mentions of your product or company. These references are more natural than any you can think up or discover after hours of keyword research.

These reviews are authentic and unbiased. They can give you important information about how customers feel about your products. They speak to your customers in terms that they can relate to.

Even negative reviews are positive in the sense that they can highlight areas for improvement.

How to Deal with Negative Online Reviews

Negative reviews are a good thing when you handle them correctly. Too many glowing recommendations about your product look suspicious to potential customers. After all, nobody’s perfect.

Also, these complaints give you a chance to show off your excellent customer service skills. Here’s how to respond to negative reviews so they portray your business in a favorable light:

  • Act fast, future customers will be able to see how long you took to respond
  • Thank the customer for taking the time to review your product
  • Express concern over their negative experience and apologize
  • Offer to replace the item or offer something to compensate for poor service
  • Make sure you carry out these conciliatory actions
  • Follow up with the customer to ensure that they are satisfied
  • Ask them to post another review about your amazing service
  • Never argue with the client
  • If things start to go pear-shaped, take the discussion offline

In this way, you are sure to turn the situation around. If the customer is being difficult or unreasonable, other people reading the interaction will be able to see this.

Grow Your Business Skills

There’s no doubt that taking advantage of online reviews can help to grow your e-commerce or brick and mortar business.

For more tips, ideas and suggestions for increasing your business skills, keep reading our blog. We update our content regularly to keep you up to date with the latest business hacks.