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Consumers have a growing number of choices when it comes to who they do business with. Reviews have always been an important part of the buying process – especially when they’re in the form of peer recommendations – but now, they’re also a quick and easy way to narrow down the decision-making process. That means a business’ average star-rating is just as important as what individual reviews say, how many reviews there are, and how often they’re left.

Whether a consumer is narrowing down their search results, or thoroughly researching different purchase options, make sure your business is covering all of its bases when it comes to managing reviews. If you’re not already, it’s time to start playing an active role in developing and maintaining your online reputation. If you’re not yet convinced, read on for a few good reasons why you should.

Reviews can turn shoppers into buyers

These days, it is easier than ever for us to look for and vet businesses that we’re considering purchasing from. In 2017, 97% of consumers used the internet to find a local business. Think about what you see when you search for a business near you – you’ll likely see the business on the map, their Google star rating, probably a link to their website and maybe links to a few articles.

More often than not, a star rating from at least one major review site will show up for every business – consumers don’t need to go looking for reviews, they are automatically served up as a part of their search results. This is why it is so important for businesses to actively and regularly manage their reviews; they’re there whether the consumer or business wants.

According to a recent BrightLocal survey, about half of consumers need to see at least a 4-star rating for a business before they choose to use it. That may seem like a tall order, but the review process can quickly and easily become a normal part of how a business manages its online presence. Checking for and requesting reviews can be as simple as posting on Facebook.

Reviews are important to current customers too

The foundation of any great relationship is trust. For local businesses, trust can mean the difference between having a great relationship with their customers or losing them to their competitors. Just because someone has always shopped with your business, doesn’t mean they always will.

Loyal customers also have many friends, whose opinions they value greatly. If a friend asks them why they are shopping with a business – or worse, their friend heard some bad things about that business – it’s likely they’ll begin to reconsider their loyalty as a customer.

Online reviews may not be quite as powerful as the recommendation or skepticism of a close friend, but a whopping 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That should be a large enough number to convince any business to take review management – and maintaining customer loyalty – very seriously.

Why your business should ask for reviews, and not just wait for them

There is a new stat out that shows 63% of consumers have left positive reviews for local businesses, and only 32% admit to leaving negative reviews. This stat appears to dispel the old review rule of thumb, “people are more likely to leave a review for a negative experience than a positive one.”

We used to assume that people wouldn’t bother going through the hassle of leaving a review unless they were particularly heated up about something. But now, leaving a review on the top review sites is easier than ever and it seems far more people are leaving positive ones.

The data didn’t reveal any major shifts in consumer happiness or satisfaction, but it did reveal that 68% of consumers left a review for a local business when they were asked to. And the vast majority of those consumers weren’t even asked for a “review,” they were asked for their “feedback.”

Maintaining a positive online reputation through reviews is no longer a passive business practice; It requires active participation. So, get out there and start letting your best customers know that you value their feedback (and show them where they can share it).That’s what we call a win-win.

 

Want to find out more about how Vivial can help your business manage your online reputation and request feedback and reviews? Click here to schedule a free business consultation!

All statistics from a recent 2017 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey

  • telephotousa

    I’m a small business VP and among our core demographic the overwhelming majority seldom leave reviews so when they do it makes a big impact on ratings. As an aside, I’ve always wondered why it is that anyone can simply leave a review for a business (on Google reviews or Yelp for instance) regardless of whether they have ever actually done any business with them-or even set foot inside the establishment for that matter. With smaller local businesses, reputation is key…and since such businesses tend to have smaller numbers of reviews, one or two keyboard trolls can negatively impact ratings. In my opinion, one must be able to provide verifiable proof that some business intercourse actually occurred before they can leave any review for a business. Some larger chain stores, etc. now have a system where “verified purchasers” of the item in question can leave a review on their site…and in my opinion it should be mandatory on Google Reviews and Yelp as well.

  • Lindsey Anderson

    This is an awesome, informative article, and definitely a great resource to emphasize how important online reviews are. Thank you for sharing!

    I actually did a podcast episode about this very topic; I’d love to hear what you think! Check it out > http://trafficandleadspodcast.com/online-business-reviews/