As we continue to shift towards a more digital market, customer reviews are more important than ever. Although opening your business up to potential criticism may seem intimidating, you shouldn’t be scared of reviews. In fact, consideration of reviews has become a critical part of your customer’s journey and it is in your best interest to encourage them. Think of it as word of mouth 2.0.
Why are reviews so important?
Consumers are doing more research.
It has become common practice for consumers to do online research before making a purchase. Believe it or not, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
In addition, a recent consumer survey revealed that online review engagement has more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are more people online, but cautious consumers may also be turning to your customer reviews to get an idea of what to expect in-store. They are much more likely to pay you a visit if they see happy customers raving about their experience and vouching that your business is run safely.
Reviews build your credibility.
Reviews are a large part of your business’ online reputation and can greatly enhance customer trust. According to an infographic by Invesp, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 72% say that positive reviews help instill trust in local businesses.
Reviews increase sales.
Reviews are a valuable tool for increasing in-store and website sales, seeing as people are more likely to purchase something if they see that others have already done so. This concept that people will follow the actions of the masses is called “Social Proof” and has been widely studied. Just as people are more likely to enter a busy restaurant than an empty one, consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they see that others think that it is a good decision. The Invesp infographic substantiates this claim, as it shows that:
- 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review.
- 92% of users will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating.
- Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews.
Reviews grant you an opportunity to interact with your customers.
Reviews give you a platform to reinforce positive comments with thanks and rectify negative ones by showing that you care. How you interact with customers will impact how they remember your brand and how it makes them feel. On top of giving your business the opportunity to show its personality online, these interactions also help build brand loyalty. Acknowledging customers by responding to their comment will build trust and make them more likely to support and recommend your business in the future.
How to get started?
Now that you understand the importance of customer reviews, you may be wondering how to collect them. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular review platforms that you should consider.
Google My Business is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google. Once businesses verify their information to complete their Google My Business registration, users can easily start leaving reviews. Google customer reviews show up in search and are known to bolster SEO, so they are a great way to build credibility.
Facebook is gaining momentum towards being one of the most popular business review sites. Since most users on the site already have a Facebook account, the process to leave a business review is relatively friction-less. In order to start collecting reviews, businesses must create a Facebook business profile.
Yelp is the world’s largest outlet for online customer reviews and is ideal for any type of business. The platform has plenty of useful review management tools and allows you to respond privately and publicly to customers who have posted reviews about your business.
Tripadvisor is the world’s largest travel website. Listing your business on Tripadvisor is free and increases your business’ exposure to a large, qualified audience. This platform is ideal for travel related businesses, such as accommodations, restaurants and attractions.
BBB (Better Business Bureau) is a business rating review system that aims to educate consumers and assist them in finding trusted businesses. Company profiles on BBB contain a short company bio, a history of complaints made about the business and a letter rating (from A to F).
Yellowpages is an online internet directory that has business review capabilities. In order to collect and manage reviews through this platform, businesses must claim a free business listing on their page.
No matter what type of business you have or how small it may be, it’s crucial for you to embrace reviews and what they can do for you. You work hard to give your customers the best experience possible; make sure everyone knows it!