Why Online Reviews Are Important for Your Business

Today’s shoppers depend on online reviews the way your parents depended on a friend’s recommendation. Here’s what you can do to be sure your business gets the good reviews it deserves and tips for handling negative reviews.

Online reviews of your business are extremely important. According to Moz, 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. Google has taken notice of this, and they have ranked review sites at the top of their search results. This means that whenever someone searches for your business, reviews are usually at the top of the search results pages. Since most people never browse past the first page of results, reviews are what they tend to click on the most.

Online reviews are so important to consumers that review sites have popped up everywhere online, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google+. Millions of people have used these sites to leave reviews, and even more have used them to influence a purchase.

Research conducted by Moz asked participants, “When making a major purchase such as an appliance, a smart phone, or even a car, how important are online reviews in your decision-making?” Nearly 68% of the participants reported online reviews affects their purchasing decision. More than half of them admitted the decision-making process was fairly, very, or absolutely important.

RELATED: Are Online Review Sites Hurting Local Businesses

This can mean great things for your business when you have online reviews. Positive ones can turn interested consumers into customers. A study in 2014 found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The study also found that 72% of consumers say that positive reviews improve the trustworthiness of a local business. Based off this information, it’s obvious positive reviews can bring customers to your business ready and willing to buy, but what happens if there are negative reviews?

How Negative Reviews Affect Your Business

Businesses are at risk of losing 22% of consumers who would have bought from them when there is a negative review. This is based off just one review. If there are three or more negative reviews, the chance of losing customers jumps to 59.2%. Four or more negative reviews can turn as much as 70% of customers away.

RELATED: Dealing with Negative Reviews on Social Media

Negative reviews can take a successful business and lead it to destruction. This is why it is incredibly important to take care of your customers. One irate customer leaving a negative review can open the floodgates for many others to add their review. Always think of this as you are providing customer service. Ensuring a customer leaves happy from your store or receives a purchase satisfied with it means more than you may have thought of because it’s a different world now with the anonymity of online reviews. So, how do you ensure customers are happy, and won’t leave negative reviews?

Improving Customer Service

Customers want an easy, quick, and pleasant transaction. When they feel as though they are being treated as an individual, and not just a source of revenue, they will be satisfied. To ensure this happens, answer questions promptly. Make sure the products or services they receive are in good condition and are of high quality. This may mean taking extra steps, but that effort will be worth it if the customer leaves a positive review, which brings more business your way.

Whenever there is a problem with a customer, make it right as soon as possible. This might mean offering a refund, exchange, and/or free products or services. This might cause you to lose money, but you’ll lose more money if the customer leaves a bad review that turns consumers away from you.

RELATED: 7 Steps to Exceptional Customer Service

If you receive a negative review, try to take care of the problem where the review was written. For example, Yelp allows business owners to respond to reviews. Always acknowledge the comment and offer to fix whatever the problem is in much of the same way you would in person (by offering a return, exchange, or free product or service). Consumers will see how attentive you are to the reviewer’s complaints, so you may be able to stop them from believing you are not a good business.

Encourage Positive Reviews Whenever Possible

You’ve likely been to restaurants and stores in which they tell you to leave a review online to receive 10% off or another discount on your next visit. Now, you know why they want you to do that – reviews matter. Consider doing the same for your business. Encouraging customers to leave online reviews can bring more business your way. While you don’t have to entice them with a discount or another incentive, it is a great way to get more reviews. Consider it. It may be just what you needed to do to boost your business to the next level of success. 

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