Many business owners believe that online reviews on sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google don’t have much bearing on their business. If you’re one of these business owners, you may be thinking, “We have plenty of customers already, so why should I worry about getting online reviews?” Or, “I know our reviews are bad, but our company is great and most of our customers leave satisfied with their experience.” Perhaps you recognize the importance of online reviews, but you’re wondering, “How do I get my customers to leave reviews online?”
Reviews can make or break your brand image.
BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review Survey found that 97% of consumers search for local companies online before purchasing their products or services. Clearly, having a solid set of strongly positive reviews is crucial to converting leads into customers. So what is a company to do when they know their products and services are awesome, but their reviews don’t reflect that?
First, thing’s first. What does a “good” review profile look like?
BrightLocal asked and the data has spoken: nearly half of consumers look for a minimum rating of 4 stars before choosing to become a customer of a business. However, it’s not just quality of your reviews, but also quantity that matters. A couple of 5-star reviews only go so far towards convincing a prospective consumer to choose your company. On average, consumers read 7 reviews before they feel comfortable trusting them as a consensus. So you need a sizable array of 4- and 5-star reviews for your business.
It goes without saying that these reviews need to be genuine, but to drive the point home: 70% of consumers report that it’s sometimes or always easy to identify a review as fabricated or authentic. Fake reviews often end up having a profound negative impact on a company because they diminish trust in your brand.
Now, back to question at hand:
What can you do when your company is awesome but your reviews are awful?
Respond to Your Reviews… Tactfully.
It may be tempting to ignore a bad review, but responding to the review is your opportunity to clear the air with your disgruntled customer and make things right. It also shows other customers and prospects that you value the experience that customers have with your brand and you want to rectify things when someone has a disappointing experience. The key to responding effectively to a negative review is to keep calm, stay positive, acknowledge the customer’s concerns, address the problem if you can, and avoid being defensive.
It’s also important to note that you should be responding to your positive reviews too. Not only does it cement the positive perception of your brand for the happy customer, it also further demonstrates to potential customers that you care about the experience people have with your brand. This may be why nearly a third of consumers see responding to reviews online as a factor they weigh when judging a local business.
Implement a Reputation Management Strategy.
Did you know that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? It’s crucial to have a solid base of positive reviews to establish trust with your potential customers. If you are lacking reviews or if you would like to improve the quality of your reviews, we recommend a reputation management service. This type of service works to improve your online reviews in three steps: (1) it automates the process of asking for reviews so you don’t have to worry about it, (2) it encourages your happy customers to share their feedback publicly on the web, and (3) it proactively identifies dissatisfied customers so you can resolve any potential issues offline before they leave a public review. The majority of customers leave a review online when asked, so with the help of a reputation management solution doing the work for you, you will accumulate a collection of reviews from your enthusiastic customers in no time.
Expert Tip: Ensure that your business listings in online directories are up to date!
Missing or inaccurate information about your business on internet search directories can have a major impact on your ability to attract customers. According to research by comScore, Neustar Localeze, and 15 Miles, the most common reasons people search local listings is to find location information for a specific business or to find a business that provides the product or service they are looking for. If potential customers can’t find you, then you are missing out on a lot of business. If you are having difficulty managing your online listings, we recommend Neustar Localeze, a business listings identity management provider with services starting at $79 per year.
The Take-home Message
Taking the time to cultivate your online reviews is well worth the investment. With a collection of 4- and 5-star reviews on your Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other online listings, you will establish trust in your brand and help current and prospective customers see just how awesome your company really is.
Courtney Turrin is VP of Data Science at Xponent21. Our company engineers digital experiences that delight visitors, attract new leads, increase conversions, and reduce operational overhead. To learn more about our reputation management solution or other digital marketing services, get in touch with us.