Any business, whether it is entirely online or is simple a brick and mortar business, has to worry about their online reviews. Online reviews are where many people receive their information about a company, where consumers decide whether they will give their business to a company, and is how your online reputation grows in strength or becomes the reason you lose business.
Many businesses believe that their online reviews matter very little to the bottom line of retaining and gaining new customers. However, this assumption is completely wrong, and may be what is affecting your business negatively.
According to a Cone Trend Tracker study on consumer habits (source), in 2011, 80% of consumers had changed their minds on products or services based on negative reviews that had been read online.
This study found that approximately 89% of all people will look for reviews on business, products or services that they are considering purchasing or using. These numbers are staggering, and are a huge reason why your business review can make or break your business
What Your Business Review Tells Customers
There are several aspects that your business review is going to tell your customers, these include:
- The rating on customer service your business offers
- How well your product or service stacks up against the competition
- An overall idea as to whether your business is worth considering or not
From several positive reviews, a consumer is going to be more likely to consider and ultimately choose your business. The higher number of negative reviews is going to result in a serious consideration by the consumer, and usually, the consumer is going to decide against your business, going with your competition.
What Your Business Review Tells You
Those who are concerned with how their business is being seen by the outside world will find it a necessity to read their online reviews frequently. A business owner can gain several pieces of knowledge from their online reviews that can help to improve and grow their business. For example:
- Customer service is a huge reason for negative or positive reviews online. Through reading these reviews you can learn the gaps of customer service, and what you can do in order to improve.
- Whether a product or service is a hit or miss among consumers, which can help you to narrow down your business offerings, or perhaps expand your offerings. This can also tell you whether the prices you are listing are competitive with the current market.
- The aspects of your business that is a plus for consumers, and the aspects that may be a negative for consumers.
How to Monitor Online Business Reviews
The importance of online reviews cannot be overstated, thus a diligent plan for monitoring online business reviews is highly needed. One of the best methods to do this is to put a Google Alert onto your business name in order to see when new comments or reviews are posted that mention your business name.
Other people prefer to look through various websites until they find reviews that are about their business. Either method is something that needs to be done in order to learn what your customers really think of your business.
Are No Reviews, Good News?
One of the questions that many businesses ask is if they have no online reviews, is this good news? The answer is most definitely not, if your business has happy customers, you want the word to be out there. Thus, no reviews does not necessarily help you, as many potential customers see a lack of reviews as a red flag, and will not do business with the company. Here are a few basic guidelines to help in gaining online reviews:
- Have a website, even if you are a brick and mortar company.
- Ask customers to write reviews, and offer an incentive in order to get customers to do this.
- Ask other businesses whom you do business with to give a review on your products or services.
Most importantly, for any business who has reviews online, interact with these customers. If they leave a negative review, get into contact with the customer to see what you can do in order for their experience to be a great one. And for those who leave a positive review, thank them for being a customer.
Online reviews are vital to your success and to learning just what you can do in order to improve and maintain your business. Be vigilant in monitoring these reviews, obtaining positive reviews, and interacting with customers. The more attention you pay to this area of your business, the more likely you will see positive results in your business.