As a business owner, a solid reputation is not a luxury anymore - it’s a necessity. In this digital era, your customer reviews have the power to make or break your business.
How? 93% of customers read reviews before deciding to buy the products or services online. These reviews help other customers learn more about the product and decide whether or not the product is good for them.
While positive reviews reassure your potential customers that they are making the right decision, negative reviews can scare them away. As a business owner, the priority is to let customers know that you are reliable and offer great quality products/services. This is exactly why many web marketing services are now hiring agencies with customer review systems to help them build a positive brand image.
For any company, customer feedback is an important part of business development. Here are the reasons why customer reviews are important to growing your business.
Why Do Customer Reviews Matter?
Whether you like it or not, customers want reassurance before buying something online or in person. Your prospective consumers are turning to online review websites to find out more about your brand or offerings. For instance, websites such as TripAdvisor, Google Business, and Amazon provide forums for consumers to share advice, or view previous consumer experiences directly from the source.
How influential are these reviews on consumer purchasing decisions?
The answer: A LOT.
So, how do customer reviews help your business?
1. Identify & Solve Your Business's Service Problems
We all need feedback to improve our services and products. If your business wants to grow in the long run and make a profit in the future, you should listen to what your customers have to say about your company or the product.
By immediately acting upon customer feedback, you protect relationships with your customers and can fix the flaws in your offerings to gain customer trust and enhance business performance.
2. Increase Customer Trust
Customer trust is difficult to earn and easy to lose after a poor experience. Positive feedback is a potent way for businesses to improve their sales, with around 92% of B2B consumers more likely to buy after seeing a reliable review.
3. Improve Communication with Customers
Receiving reviews from consumers will give you insights to help you enhance the buyer’s experience. These insights help you create a snapshot of their entire buyer journey and determine areas where your brand is doing well and those that require improvement.
Whether your customers are sharing reviews on your own website and social media or any third-party review site, you can respond to them and initiate a conversation to learn more, and close the loop to make sure their problems are addressed and solved.
4. Optimize Website Search Engine Rankings
Do you know, online user reviews influence business rankings (around 6.47%) in organic local searches? The comments consumers write in their reviews also matter as ‘Negative Sentiment in Google Reviews’ is a negative SEO ranking factor.
5. Generate Referral Business
As a small business, you may not have the resources to proactively market your brand or product. However, if you have tons of happy customers, they would love to promote your business for free. Leveraging those great reviews can increase your business leads exponentially.
Getting referrals can be one of the most effective strategies for gaining new customers and growing your business. All you have to do is ask for them.
Should you respond to every customer review?
The answer in one word is YES. Responding to all reviews is crucial to improve your brand image and make customers feel heard. If good reviews and comments come in, great for your business. But even if there is criticism, it’s important to respond to it constructively.
What if something goes wrong?
Businesses, including yours, are not perfect. We all try our best but sometimes we fall short of expectations. The reality is, you serve enough customers and you will eventually get a negative review.
Don’t worry - customers are generally forgiving. It’s not whether you get a negative review but HOW you respond to that review that will determine how the negative feedback impacts your business in the long run. Customers want to know you care. They want to know if they have a bad experience or purchase a defective product that the business will address problems promptly and resolve disputes fairly.
Sometimes, you may lose a dissatisfied customer permanently. However, your response to their review is not only to influence them but to influence potential customers. Remember, it’s easy to look great when you’re getting 5-star reviews. It’s how a business handles bad reviews that really makes an impact on potential customers.