In the age of social media and free access to information, consumers have more power over their buying decisions than ever before. Not only do they have a vast number of similar products to choose from, but they have the ability to gauge the experiences of past customers, research specific products, and compare everything they find with competitors. Often reviews are the first interaction someone has with a company—even before they check the website.
People tend to trust each other more than they trust the business they are researching. Imagine you went to research a company before purchasing from it and you found that Google Reviews awarded the company a two-star average. Would you still decide to buy from that company? Probably not.
1. The legitimacy factor
Most people trust online reviews the as much as they would personal recommendations. Taking this, and the fact that the majority of people check online reviews, into account, you’d be crazy not to see the value in getting online reviews for your own company.
People want reassurance that the product they are about to buy is, in fact, worth their money. If your company doesn’t have any online reviews, you lose legitimacy in the face of competitors who do. The lack of reviews makes your company seem small and unreliable because no one has backed you up or taken the time to say anything about you. By garnering reviews, you gain social credibility and perceived legitimacy and increase the likelihood by 68% that customers will buy from you.
2. Boost your SEO: More mentions, more traffic, better visibility
Google favors sites with more mentions and links. When a customer reviews a company, Google picks that up as a legitimate transaction, recognizes that your business is, in fact real, and boosts your visibility.
Reviews also widen the amount of material Google has to read and associate with your business. This means that the more you get reviewed, the more Google will be able to associate new keywords and content with your business, which increases the likeliness that your company will appear in related searches.
The bottom line here is that the more you get mentioned on the internet and the more your company interacts, the more likely you are to show up in a search and the more visibility you have.
3. Opportunities for growth
Tracking the way people are talking about your company online is a great tool for other things as well. By keeping up to date on your company’s reviews, you can:
- Gain a better understanding of your company’s online reputation and use this information to inform your marketing campaigns.
- Discover trends in customer experiences and identify areas of improvement. Do your customers regularly complain of bad packaging or delayed email responses? This is a great resource for discovering where you can improve on your customer experience.
- Collect clear data on your customer experience and incorporate it in a scalable way to review how your business has improved over time.
- See areas where you already shine and use this as a way to encourage and recognize your team’s accomplishments.
- Reviews can also give job seeking employees a glimpse before they join your team.
Reviews can be just as helpful to your company as they are to customers. It’s up to you to capitalize on this free access to important and informative data.
Replying to reviews is also an important part garnering customer trust, whether they’re positive or negative. Leaving responses to negative reviews can help temper a customer’s bad experience. It is also an opportunity to show readers how your business handles these situations. You can use this to show that you are respectful and care about your customers—even if they had a bad experience with you.
It’s a big job, but you’re not alone!
Reviews can come from many different sources such as Yelp, Google Reviews, Facebook and Amazon, to name just a few. Tracking and maintaining online reviews can be a big, time intensive task. Luckily there are great reputation management systems where you can keep track of all your reviews in one place. You don’t have to do it by yourself!
Whether you are just starting or are already established, reviews can make all the difference when it comes to meeting this year’s revenue goal. Remember, reviews aren’t just for your customers, they are there for you too!
Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
Photo by Ivan Kruk