Whether you care about online customer reviews or not, your business is heavily affected by them.
9 out of 10 consumers go online to shop around for products or businesses before making decisions. Even if they’re purchasing in person, chances are they looked the product/business up online before coming in. According to Brightlocal’s survey, 93% of consumers looked up reviews on a business to determine the quality of a business. An overwhelming majority also agree that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews are as powerful as word of mouth referrals. It now affects your business.
You don’t need to have a review feature on your website for reviews to be found on your business. There are popular review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor that allow users to leave reviews and tie it to your business location without the need for you to claim the business or get involved.
With the general public using reviews to make decisions about your business, learn how to use reviews to your advantage and create a stronger loyal customer base.
The Benefits of Customer Reviews
As mentioned, consumers trust reviews and tend to view them before making the decision to choose your business or not. Multiple reviews, on multiple sites is what tends to be the average consumer behavior. So why not embrace it and peruse the popular review sites? Setup an account on the major ones and respond to reviews here and there. The more reviews your business has, the more likely a consumer will pick your business over one that has a few reviews. The volume of the reviews will give the consumer more confidence in your product or service.
Speaking of more reviews = more conversions for your business – the more amount of reviews on multiple major review sites, the higher chance of showing up on the first page of Google. Even shoppers in a hurry will glance at the amount of reviews and 4-5 star reviews you have. If all your reviews seem too perfect and rehearsed, they may move on in fear of the age old, “If it looks too good to be true…” A mixture of good and mediocre reviews give a shopper more assurance that your business is the one they can trust.
Take the benefits of customer reviews a step further and install a Customer Review plugin on your company’s website. Each review will qualify as new and relevant content which site crawlers, like Google, use to elevate your rank on search results. These reviews and the keywords they choose to use will provide possible rich answer queries on users searching Google or Bing or the review site directly. SEO can be an exciting and immense concept to learn, but I thought this was a great SEO beginner guide from Moz.
How to Get More Reviews
It doesn’t hurt to ask for reviews. Ask a customer to take a few minutes to review your services and recommend a site that you frequently respond to like TripAdvisor, if people aren’t leaving reviews directly on your website. Setup an email that sends out to those who recently purchased a product with a link directly to the review area.
Make it easy for your customers to leave a review. Have your business listed on several review sites as well as your own. I’ve even had live customer experiences where I was given a business card with the link to the company’s TripAdvisor page to leave a review. There is no reason to skip an opportunity for a customer to leave a review.
Remember, 88% of customers trust online reviews even if they don’t know the person.
Always Respond to Negative Reviews
If someone leaves a negative review on your website, make sure you respond to it publically so that others can see. Try to rectify the situation by sending a replacement product or free month of service. If anything, consumers perusing reviews will see that you responded and care about your customers’ experiences with your business.
It is always a good idea to peruse the popular review sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp, Angie’s List, Foursquare, etc. Here’s a great article that lists 20 popular review sites. Create an account, and dedicate checking these sites at least once a week.
Thinking about adding Reviews to your website? Here are a few Review feature set plugins to try: