Online reviews matter. Why? Because most consumers actively look for them before they patronize a certain brand. Often, reading an average of seven reviews on different sites and checking between three to five stars before making a decision. With all that said, having a positive online reputation is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can use to stand out among tons of search results and attract new customers.
How online reviews affect consumers
With more consumers seeking the help of the online world for their everyday decisions, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the majority of them use reviews to see if a local business is worth their money. They are becoming more review-savvy, choosing businesses that have myriads of high-rated reviews on a regular basis.
A local consumer review survey conducted by a UK-based digital marketing agency, Bright Local, shows why online reviews are crucial to a business.
The Key Findings:
97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking every day
85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business
The data only tells us one thing – online reviews matter. And because they can make or break a business, it is important to not underestimate them.
Why it is important to respond to reviews
You want to know what people are actually saying about your business, but more importantly, you want to respond to them. Reviews are not only there for you to read, you need to answer them.
While it can become overwhelming to get back to each review, especially if you have multiple locations, this is a critical part of your overall marketing strategy. As one of the key findings shown above, 30% of consumers consider responding to reviews an important factor when examining a certain business.
We share three reasons why it is a must to respond to your customers.
First, you want to excel at customer service
Responding to reviews is an excellent way to show that you’re on top of your customer service game. Your response can turn a negative experience into a positive one. You see, customers appreciate it if you listen to them and find ways to resolve the issue. Often times after a business has taken an action, reviewers will update their negative review and let people know what happened.
On the other hand, failing to answer a customer’s response could make you lose some of your potential customers. People may view your customer service poorly, they may feel ignored, and worse, they may think that you don’t value them at all.
Second, you want to build your customer’s trust
Customers are more likely to share bad experiences than good ones. But responding to them in a timely manner and showing that you value their experience can win their trust back. Moreover, people form opinions about your business based on how you deal with negative feedback, long before you even get the chance to meet them. An effective response is a good way to gain a prospect’s trust.
Finally, you want to bring in more customers
Many businesses think that negative reviews are the only ones that need answering as a sort of damage control. In truth, compliments need replies too. Consumers love it when the brands they patronize interact with them and of course, happy consumers talk. Word of mouth still works these days. Plus, responding to reviews is another avenue where you can subtly market your business while connecting with your customers.
How to monitor your reviews
Now that you have learned the importance of responding to reviews, it’s time to keep track of them. There is a wide range of tools and solutions for monitoring review sites, some are free while some can be pretty expensive, depending on the features and services you need. A few good options are Google Alert, TweetDeck and Hootsuite.
If you’re looking to keep an eye on and influence your reputation online, we would love to help you out. At Boost Media Group, we provide comprehensive digital marketing services. This is not only to increase your search engine rankings but also to help your brand generate a sound and credible online reputation.