Many business owners feel that "word of mouth" advertising is one of the best ways to get new business; and they are right. Your happy customers tell their friends, and they tell their friends, and so on. New customers have a high level of trust in you when their friend recommends you. Affiliations with reputable organizations like BBB also help build trust.
You have probably noticed, however, that the methods people use to communicate today are much different than in the past. Today, the most common way for a customer to express their excitement or disappointment in a product or service is to use social media or an online review site like BBB, Google, Yelp, etc... Of course, the old way still works, but with the prevalence of social media a customer can broadcast their pleasure (or pain) with your business in a matter of seconds to the entire world. Online Customer Reviews are taking 'word of mouth' to a whole new level.
No matter which type of business you are, Online Customer Reviews are having an impact right now on how people perceive your business. What people say (or don't say) about you online impacts:
- How you show up in online searches
- Customer purchase decision
- First impression of your business
- Whether or not they will choose to engage with you
Reviews are what your customers are saying about you, and they are visible to everyone, anytime. Knowing what people are saying about you online is vital. Whether you like it or not, online customer reviews are one of the first things people look at when they encounter your company online.
Your reviews and aggregate scores from different review sites are readily available to anyone researching your company. They can find your reviews and ratings (or lack thereof) from influential review sites such as bbb.org, Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc... Here they can see what other people are saying about you.
It is true that you want to minimize the amount of negative reviews, but that is only part of the story. Limited positive review activity on your business also sends a message that you don't have any raving fans. Readers like to hear about the positive experiences your customers have had.
What you need to know
You Need More Positive Reviews
The most effective way to impact your online reputation is to increase the number of legitimate, verifiable reviews you have on the leading review sites. Encouraging your happy customers to provide feedback is one way you can impact your online reputation. The more reviews you have on meaningful sites like BBB, Facebook, and Google, the more relevant your business will be to the search engines.
You Need to Respond Quickly to Negative Reviews
Sometimes you have customers that have a less-than-5-star experience, right? Despite your efforts to resolve the issue they go online and report their negative experience. It happens to everyone. How you work with that customer and respond to any negative reviews online is HUGE!
Happy customers don't often write reviews
You have more satisfied customers than dissatisfied customers. That's why you are still in business. But most of them have never written a review of your company. If you ask them, they'll tell you why. They never thought to do it. They forgot. It's just too difficult. Sometimes you can get a happy customer to write a good review simply by asking them.
You need a Strategy for Managing Reviews
The bottom line is that Online Customer Reviews matter. They matter a lot. Recent studies show that consumers read an average of ten reviews before they feel they can trust a company. That same study also showed that more recent reviews are more relevant than older ones. You are missing a great opportunity to manage your online presence if you don't have a strategy to increase the number of positive reviews and promptly respond to negative reviews. Of course, you should also have a plan to correct underlying issues that lead to negative reviews. At the very least, you should be asking your customers to review you. The more reviews, the better, and you want to keep new ones flowing in.
See also: Forbes: 20 Online Reputation Statistics That Every Business Owner Needs To Know
Your GreenCheck subscription gives you tools to manage your online presence; including your customer reviews on some of the top sites. We monitor your reviews on BBB.org, Facebook, Google, Yelp, and yp.com. Watch your inbox for regular alerts. GreenCheck Helps you stay on top of your customer reviews so you can continue to be a better business everyday.