In today’s digital age, online business reviews can mean the difference between the success and failure of your business. How many times have you searched up a restaurant before going there only to have your mind changed by their dismal 2-star rating? Guaranteed Removals, an online content removal and reputation management company, tells us that this is an extremely common occurrence for businesses of all kinds, not just restaurants. Before visiting a given business, 90 per cent of consumers will consult online reviews. A further two-thirds of these consumers will have their decision affected in some way by what they read.
Here’s what makes online reviews so important:
They’re Highly Accessible
Where there are businesses, there are reviews. The role of word-of-mouth reviews has been expanded exponentially with the creation of general and industry-specific review sites online. Where before consumers would tell their friends and family about their experiences with a given business, they are now able to share their thoughts online where hundreds and even thousands of people can view them. It’s almost impossible to search a business online and not be confronted with multiple review sites with varying scores or star ratings.
They’re Trusted by Consumers
Statistics show that more than 80% of people tend to trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation. If a review is well-written and specific, it’s very likely that the reviewer will be taken at their word and that people will believe what is being said is genuine. If the same amount of value is being given to an online review as to a recommendation from a friend, there’s little wonder why they impact purchasing decisions so heavily.
They Affect Sales
If the online reviews for your business are overwhelmingly negative, your sales are likely suffering as a result. On the flip side, however, having mostly positive reviews will attract more potential customers to your business and likely increase sales. A recent Harvard study showed that a business’s revenue can increase by as much as 5 to 9 percent with a one-star increase in ratings.
So what happens when you do get a negative review? Guaranteed Removals says there’s one key thing that every business needs to remember when dealing with negative reviews:
Remain Professional and Don’t Take them Personally
Having a few negative online reviews is not uncommon, but replying to these reviews with argumentative, defensive comments can make the situation far worse. There are many cases in which hot-headed responses to negative reviews end up drawing more negative reviews. In several extreme cases, businesses have been boycotted and have even been forced to close.
You’ll never be able to please everyone and even the best businesses will have a negative review or two. Improving the customer experience at your place of business is the first step in getting positive reviews but not the last. How you respond to positive and negative reviews as a business owner is just as important. Due to the accessibility and trust associated with online reviews, and the influence they have on sales and revenue, online reviews are something that every business needs to pay close attention to.