How You Can Use Online Reviews To Enhance Your Business
Editor’s note: A sideways step from our usual content. We all know how important online reviews are. This infographic is followed by an in-depth article. You can click on that link to skip the Infographic, if that’s your preference. All of the sources are attributed at the bottom of the infographic, which is by Websitebuilder.org. However, one that particularly caught my eye came from from this excellent survey by Bright Local.
I post that, to add some perspective to the section within the Infographic on fake reviews.
Online Reviews Infographic
Customer opinion, especially in the online world, is as important as ever for your business. About 90% of online shoppers never make a purchase without reading customer reviews first. Even if you have detailed product descriptions, shoppers trust these consumer opinions 12 times more because they are seen as impartial. This also applies to local businesses, where 72% of the customers turn to online reviews (even if the business itself is offline). Numerous online review websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and glassdoor and increasingly are consulted by web users before making a purchase or using a paid service.
Rising importance of online reviews
Establishing a positive online presence is not just about creating a website and leveraging social media, online reviews can be just as important. In fact, they are akin to word of mouth advertising of the past and are a modern way to demonstrate social proof. A lack of reviews can even be detrimental, so encouraging customers to leave a review when they have made a purchase or used your service is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Reviews influence purchasing decisions
A recent study published in an infographic by <ahref=”https://websitebuilder.org“>WebsiteBuilder.org</a> indicates that 88% of customers read up to 10 reviews before making important purchasing decisions. Furthermore, about 40% of shoppers read at least three reviews before deciding on the reliability of a local business. If you don’t focus on collecting reviews for your website, you are effectively alienating potential customers from using your services or buying your products. More than 88% of online shoppers trust online reviews similar to personal recommendations from friends and family. When asked, 7 out of 10 customers will be eager to leave a positive review when they have a good shopping experience.
The number of reviews and their authenticity significantly affect purchasing decisions of customers. More than 94% of consumers prefer a business with a 4-star rating. On the other hand, many consumers have trust issues and they don’t rely on reviews if all of them are positive, because it hints at possible manipulation (such as buying fake reviews). This can make for a delicate balance.
Reviews increase search engine rankings
The search engines such as Google have started to use various off-site measures to add to your website’s overall ranking, including social media and reviews. In other words, a large number of reviews for your business could boost your site up the rankings (accounting for around 10% according to some experts). Likewise, the reviews themselves often appear in search results, allowing consumers quick access to opinions about your business, which in turn you will benefit from if they are mostly positive.
About 37% of the consumers use review websites to find out authentic reviews about a business. Yelp ratings are increasingly becoming important for local businesses, especially restaurants. You need to focus on receiving more reviews on such websites because 99.2% of businesses lose their visibility when customers sort based on most reviewed or highest rated business. Google provides specialized importance for information about your business on third party websites because the reviews about business are more valuable than reviews about individual products. You can also include these Google reviews in your website using rich snippets.
Authentic reviews increase conversion rates
The popularity of television advertising is surpassed by authentic online reviews as about 68% of millennials trust online reviews more. With authentic and positive reviews, a business can easily increase sales by 18%. Customers who are inspired by positive reviews about a business show 133% higher conversion rates. When your product has 50 or more reviews, it can boost conversion rates by 4.6%. Online users prefer to read reviews through their PCs, but those who read reviews on smartphones are 127% more inclined to use the business. Even negative reviews are useful in creating a buzz around your business as it looks more authentic. When your business has hundreds of positive reviews without a single negative review, it dramatically changes the opinion of the customer. As long as the negative reviews don’t suppress the positive reviews, your business will benefit from a mix of both positive and negative reviews.
Reviews increase customer engagement
Reviews also help in increasing customer engagement as your customers take one additional step to spread the good news about your business. It is possible to establish brand loyalty when you show your customers that their feedback matters to your business. Even those who leave negative reviews will be interested in changing it to a positive review if you address their concern. Social media is increasingly used to review businesses and it is a great way to enhance customer engagement. When your business has many reviews, it means that you give a platform for your customers to leave their voice and it will be heard. When there are many reviews for your business, other customers will also be inclined to leave their reviews.
Feedback helps with business improvement
Just asking customers to leave reviews is not sufficient to propel your business to success. You have to legitimately take on board what people are saying. Whether positive or negative, reviews can greatly help you to improve your products and services. They also help you gauge out the expectations of your audience. If your business continuously receives negative reviews, it means that it is time for an overhaul. Identifying and resolving conflicts will help you to establish a better relationship with your customers.
Impact of negative online reviews
Negative reviews are important for business success because they make the overall body of reviews seem legitimate. For any business, it is impossible to satisfy 100% of the customers all the time. The absence of negative reviews makes the audience question your credibility.
Understandably, negative reviews have more impact than the positive reviews. A single negative review will result in loss of 30 potential customers according to the data. If your business has one negative review, 22% of the customers will change their mind. When there are four or more negative reviews for a product or company, you will lose about 70% of potential customers. Restaurants are highly affected by the negative reviews as people don’t want to eat in a place that provided a bad experience for someone else. 86% of the customers will not purchase from businesses that have many negative reviews. Furthermore, 50% of those who leave negative reviews allow brands a few days to respond and change their mind. If they don’t receive an adequate response some will get even more vocal, so it is always important to address any immediate issues.
What if you get a bad review?
When dealing with negative reviews, it is imperative to stay professional. A quick and prompt response will show that you are taking customers seriously and care about your image. Whether or not you are in the wrong, it is important to be seen doing the right thing. If there are inaccuracies in the negative review, politely correct those while treating the customer with respect.
When responding to bad reviews, address the customer personally and work to take it offline whenever possible. If possible, provide some compensation for the bad experience whenever it is needed. Most of the customers will be willing to continue using your brand if you listen to their bad experience and take efforts to change it. Those who read negative reviews also consider the response of the brand before changing their purchasing decision.
Attacking negative reviewers is only going to make your public image worse. You should accept all reviews graciously, even if you feel the reviewer is in the wrong (readers can often tell when a customer is being hard on a business and will respect you even more for keeping your cool). To drown out the negative voices, encourage loyal customers to leave reviews when they have a good experience. At the same time, you should know that offering incentives for leaving positive reviews are strongly discouraged by third party review websites and often backfires anyway.
Never buy fake reviews to boost brand visibility
When you are a startup with a minimal budget, it can be hard to establish a stellar online presence. Getting the first few customers and encouraging them to leave reviews is incredibly hard. Sometimes customers may not want to try your business if it has no reviews, so you may be tempted to purchase fake reviews to get a head start.
This practice is flourishing in certain parts of the web, but that doesn’t mean you should join in. Websites such as Yelp have algorithms to identify fake reviews and they will ban your business if they suspect this is happening – which will result in long-term negative consequences. Google also introduced Fakespot to identify fake reviews and penalize shady businesses. Online consumers know that not everything they read online is true and they are much more capable of spotting fake reviews than you may realize. Fake reviews will affect the consumer trust and Google will reduce the page ranking if it finds suspicious content on your site. Many review websites have started suing those who leave fake reviews and the punishment will only become more severe.
What do you think?
OK. So HUGE subject! What are your thoughts regarding reviews? Do you leave them? What is your policy on dealing with them when they are about your business? If you have any thoughts on this at all, please leave them in the comments section, below.
About The Author:
Megan Arevalo, the community director and content supervisor for websitebuilder.org lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Oregon State University in 2009 and started her family shortly after. When she isn’t calling to the duties of motherhood, she is following her passions which include, writing, photography, website building and social media management.You can contact or follow her on Twitter @_abrelosojos_ or Instagram __abrelosojos
Featured image: Copyright: ‘https://www.123rf.com/profile_pratyaksa‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
Customer engagement image: http://www.vocalcom.com/en/blog/customer-experience/top-10-customer-engagement-trends-for-2016-part-1/
Sign Up For Our Mailing List
To receive more in-depth articles, videos and Infographics in your inbox, please sign up below