Why Your Company’s Online Reviews Are More Important Than You Think | The digital age may have popularized online shopping, but the COVID-19 pandemic has turned it into a necessity. This flood of online shoppers has opened the door to customer information sharing in the form of online reviews.
With 95 percent of customers reporting that they read reviews before making a purchase, it’s more important than ever to recognize the impact that these reviews can have on a customer’s purchase intent. It’s equally critical for your company to develop an effective online review response strategy in order to improve customer service and maximize sales.
Who Cares About Reviews?
Whether you’re the founder of a new business and are attempting to attract a solid customer base or the owner of an established company trying to increase your revenues, your reviews should matter to you.
As a business owner, it’s important to keep up with the competition, as 67 percent of local businesses maintain a four-star rating or higher. If your business looks comparatively worse than two thirds of small businesses, there’s a good chance you’ll see your traffic suffer. An effective customer review strategy should involve monitoring the competition to ensure that your strategy is up to par with the rest.
About 88 percent of consumers use online reviews to discover new local businesses. Not only do reviews signify customer satisfaction, but they’re also excellent marketing tools to draw customer attention.
Consumers have even expressly stated the importance of reviews to their purchasing decisions. 41 percent of Americans see reviews as one of the most important considerations when exploring small businesses.
What Impact do Positive and Negative Reviews Have?
The data regarding consumer reactions to positive vs. negative reviews is very telling, and should prompt efforts to deliver a positive customer experience.
The majority of consumers are willing to travel further or pay more for a business that has positive reviews. This data suggests that even if you offer a higher price point or are located in a more remote area than your competitors, positive reviews may make up for the inconvenience.
In addition to business traffic, you can expect an increase in profitability by maintaining positive reviews, as customers tend to spend nearly a third more at businesses that have excellent reviews.
On the flipside, negative reviews can tarnish a company’s reputation and have an adverse effect on revenue. Studies show that negative experiences have much greater weight on a customer’s decision to leave a review. A shopper is 21 percent more likely to leave a review due to a negative experience than a positive one.
Not only do negative experiences prompt leaving a review more than positive ones, but these reviews can have a drastic impact on traffic. 94 percent of consumers have avoided a business because of an online review.
What Can I Do to Improve My Business’ Reviews?
There are certain concrete steps you can take as a business owner to ensure that your customer reviews attract customers rather than push them away.
Presently, the majority of customers who leave poor reviews do so due to bad service (59 percent) or unsafe COVID-19 policies (26 percent). Catering to these core concerns through improved employee training or by revisiting your health and safety policies could be all that’s needed to shift your ratings from three stars to four and up.
But what about the negative reviews that customers have already left? Prompt responses to customer concerns are crucial.
56 percent of people have changed their opinion of a business after reading the business owner’s response to reviews. That’s right — your responses don’t just have an impact on the concerned party, but also on other site visitors. Rather than attempting to cover up poor reviews, respond actively and seek reconciliation.
Great customer reviews may not be all it takes to drive significant traffic to your store, but they can be a really important part of the equation. Your customers may have some valuable insight regarding how to improve your business, and listening to them could make a world of difference.