“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates
Online customer reviews are essential for business owners and managers. They provide a public forum for customers to share their thoughts and experiences with your company; customer reviews can impact everything from how new prospects view your company, products and services; to whether or not people decide to do business with you. The good news is that there are ways to manage online reviews and ensure they work in your favor. This blog explores the power of online reviews and offers tips on managing them to get the best result. Stay tuned!
What is an online customer review?
An online customer review evaluates a product or service made by someone who has purchased and used a product or service from a given company. Customer reviews are a forum for brick-and-mortar stores or e-commerce customer feedback. They are critical in today’s hyper-connected and extremely competitive marketplace. In fact, 85% of consumers treat online reviews like recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues. But that’s not where it ends; customer reviews are also connected to reputation management, business success, lost or gained sales; as the following consumer data demonstrate:
- 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising
- 75% of consumers trust a company more if it has positive reviews.
- 60% of consumers say that negative reviews made them not want to use a business.
- 49% of consumers need a four-star rating before using a company.
Further, customers tend to spend 30% more money at businesses with “excellent” reviews. Whereas 86% of shoppers hesitate to purchase from a company with negative online reviews. So, owners and managers must take an active role in managing online reviews as they are directly linked to the business’s brand and reputation.
Top Four Business Customer Review Websites 2022:
- Google Business Profile: 158.03 million reviews
- Amazone-commerce: 85.44 million reviews
- Facebook: 85.57 million reviews
- Yelp reviews: 40.47 million
What are the benefits of online reviews?
Online reviews can give businesses a boost in credibility without having to incur any additional advertising expenses. In addition, positive reviews with good ratings entice consumers to take a closer look at your business’s products. In short, the more satisfied customers are, the more people will be interested in buying your products.
Evidence has proven that online reviews directly influence the shopping decisions of consumers. For instance, one study found that having just five reviews increases the probability that a product will sell by 270% compared to products with fewer than five or no reviews.
What is a good online review rating?
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”- Don Porter.
Organizations should aim for a 4-star rating or higher. A study by the Spiegel Research Center found that 4.0 – 4.5 star ratings are the most trusted. This is a good benchmark for businesses to aim for. Consumers understand that mistakes are bound to happen; and thus too many perfect reviews may be viewed with suspicion.
Note: negative feedback provides opportunities to identify operational weaknesses that management might not be aware of and address them.
What is the cost of negative reviews?
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.” – Jeff Bezos.
Depending on the type of business, estimates that one lousy review ranges from $750 to $3,000 in lost (retail) sales annually. Again, you can calculate your business’s average sales to find out how one bad reviews impacts your operation. But, it is not just the cost of losing that initial sale to a new customer; the business also loses the revenue that the new customers would have generated and any positive word-of-mouth promotion.
How can businesses promote positive reviews?
Provide space on your business website to leave reviews
Providing space on your company website to encourage customer reviews is good practice. First, the dedicated review space demonstrates a willingness to be transparent to customers; studies show that transparency helps to build trust. Second, reviews on the business website versus a third-party website allow management to be more responsive to feedback or negative comments.
Encourage happy customers to leave reviews.
Happy customers = Satisfied; these are the customers who are more likely to leave positive reviews or constructive feedback. Also, asking happy customers to leave reviews strengthens bonds and the likelihood of repeat business. For instance, when customers know you are interested in their ideas and opinions, they feel valued.
Respond to every review, especially negative ones
It is good practice to respond to online reviews and publicize the responses. When businesses answer customer reviews, it solidifies trust between consumers and your business. Moreover, responding to negative reviews acknowledges the customer’s grievance, which fosters respect and a genuine perception that you care about the customer experience and are willing to make changes.
Share positive customer reviews through social media.
Social media platforms reach a large and diverse audience. Sharing positive reviews via social media gives potential customers access to your business details and how existing customers have reviewed it. Positive reviews on social media increase customer engagement with your organization. Engagement generates awareness, interest, increased traffic and sales.
What is the Relationship Between Reviews & Word of Mouth (WOM) Advertising?
“word of mouth still moves from person to person, sequentially, so it takes time to spread. The first person tells the second person something, who tells the third person, etc.” – Jonah Berger.
Word-of-Mouth advertising is a side benefit of positive online reviews. To most people, reviews are seen as unbiased, constructive opinions from individuals who have had experience using the product or service. Thus, the most important role reviews fulfill is they act like a WOM recommendation or a caution to future consumers.
“A customer talking about their experience with you is worth ten times that which you write or say about yourself.” – David J. Greer.
Getting positive reviews is one of the best ways to promote your business. The process starts by providing excellent customer service consistently and reliably. Satisfied customers are more likely to leave positive reviews, and they are also more likely to recommend your products or services to their friends, family members and workmates. So it is vital to make sure you focus on your company mission, values and to always provide an excellent customer experience.
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