How crucial are online customer reviews for small businesses? They are extremely important, it turns out, because over 90% of consumers read online reviews before consulting a small business. Depending on whether they’re good or bad, people decide if they should do business with the company or not.
With a number of online reviews and rating sites cropping up, customers are able to voice their opinion faster and easier than ever before. And, that’s great news for businesses because the ones that have more satisfied customers and good reviews get to build a solid reputation and attract new customers.
Why online user reviews are important for businesses
Let’s face it! Before hiring a contractor or purchasing an item, the first thing people do is browse through the Internet. Once they find your business on Google listings, they will look for reviews about your company – they might do so even before visiting your website. A few bad reviews about your service or customer support can seriously hurt your chances of even being considered. In most cases, they’re going to stay away. But, let’s consider the other side of the coin. Good testimonials about your business will ensure that they are going nowhere. You are most likely to get a call in the next few minutes. That’s how powerful online customer reviews are.
Check out an infographic on the Power of Customer Reviews for Local Contractors by Contractor Dynamics:
How good reviews impact a small business
No matter what service you offer in your local area – plumbing, moving, real estate, or any other service – the best endorsement is positive testimonials from an army of satisfied customers. People trust businesses that are given excellent online ratings by others, and the power of such advertisement is far effective than any other form of marketing.
If you are offering a great service and wish that to get noticed, then try this: email your existing customers and request them to review your service. To maximize the number of replies, offer a monthly gift for a chosen winner.
What if the remarks are negative?
While a rave of good reviews can lead to more sales, the opposite of it could mean your sales door is closed on potential customers.
In business, if a satisfied customer tells about your services to one of his/her friends, a dissatisfied user will kvetch to ten others. Even worse, negative reviews spread like wildfire on the Internet. With social media, it happens even faster. Negative remarks can totally dampen the interest of users to go ahead and purchase a product or hire a service.
If you wish to nip your chances of being affected by bad reviews, it’s important that you constantly track the online mentions of your brand – especially on social media, forums, and local review sites. If you do not have the time or knowledge about it, then the best option is to hire a reliable reputation management service. They can help limit the number of negative comments and increase the positive outlook on your business by sharing user-generated testimonials at places where your local audiences are most active.
Ramping up your reputation could turn things from bad to good for your business, and that will ensure that people who come across your business name will most likely become your paying customers. Offer them great service, and they will spread the ‘good’ word about your company!
A rave of positive customer reviews can complement your other marketing efforts and get you new customers and enable you to consolidate the great service that your company is offering. Do thank all your customers (old and existing). Make them feel valued, and they will be happy to shop again. And refer their friends too!