Online Reviews and Ratings: Do They Really Matter?
By Small Screen Producer. Publish on September 18, 2013.
If you're like most customers, you've probably skimmed through a couple of reviews once or twice to help you make all types of purchasing decisions. Online reviews are definitely helpful to customers, but just how much do they matter to businesses?
The answer is: They matter a lot.
- 82% of people say that online reviews are extremely valuable or valuable to them.
- 71% of customers agree that online reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product/service.
- And about 70% of people consult an online review/rating before making ANY type of purchase.
That's a huge percentage of people who are observing what products and services you're introducing to them through conventional marketing and advertising AND how they stack up with those of other companies. Most importantly, online reviews are very telling of a brand's humanistic qualities such as personality and customer service. And that's a big deal.
Such a big deal that Yelp most recently placed a lawsuit against a San Diego law firm for apparently writing "fake reviews" from non-existent clients.
While we definitely do not recommend that a business approach a bad review in such way, word-of-mouth, whether good or bad, will make or break a company. There are certain ways to handle reviews though, especially bad ones. A good thing to note is that 75% of all online reviews are positive ones and 95% of unhappy customers will return to a business if an issue is resolved quickly and effectively.
What Can Businesses Do About a Negative Review?
Getting a bad review is one thing, but how a business handles that bad review is another. The best way to handle a bad review is to discover and address it as quickly as possible. Business owners can soften a blow, especially if it's still hot, when it's done immediately. Have a representative or even better, an owner or manager, contact the reviewer directly, acknowledging the issue and what the business can do to make it better. Not only will this be a powerful way to show proactiveness and concern for customers, but it lessens the negative air in the virtual atmosphere.
What Should Businesses Not Do With a Negative Review?
A business should try and resist the urge of being on the defense about the reviewed product, service, or employee; that usually tends to make things worse. The key isn't to fire back with reasons the business is right and the customer is wrong, it's to address the problem and provide a resolution. If the review is warranted, thank the customer and apologize for the bad experience. We're all human here; it's okay to mess up and fess up. Again, it's how it's approached. Usually after the bad review is addressed and the customer is spoken to directly in a respectable manner, the user will most often than not, go back and edit the review. Businesses acting quickly and politely can turn negativity into positivity almost instantly.
Should Businesses Encourage Reviews?
The answer is yes. The stats overwhelmingly point to the growing importance of online reviews. Businesses should encourage customers to visit online review sites and share their thoughts and experiences. This will not only give a business great feedback on how they can improve, but most of the time, it's not even a bad review that the customer wants to share! And businesses should not just stop at review sites, either. Ask for an interview, a testimonial, or a short story or comment about a customer experience. This can be posted on social media sites and websites to attract more leads and prospects. Positive feedback from customers is marketing gold.
It should be important to note that no amount of positive reviews can combat a bad review or bad "first impression". So be sure to resolve all bad reviews regularly and often. Nipping at the bud will prevent any bad joojoo from spilling onto a company's online reputation. Keep in mind that it's a number game - for every 10 good reviews a business gets, they'll be about 3 bad reviews. It's just human nature to share good and bad experiences. It's up to the company to approach and handle the online review in the right way to make it work for their business.
To learn more about managing your online reputation and proactive steps you can take to build more positive reviews, click below to find out more about our reputation management services.
About Small Screen Producer
Small Screen Producer is a full service, marketing firm located in Houston, Texas that specializes in online digital media marketing through a 4-step process. Step 1: WE PLAN a custom web presence strategy for your business through website design and development, mobile development, social media account creation and branding. STEP 2: We then POSITION your brand through Pay-Per-Click advertising and search engine optimize tactics that include on-page and off-page SEO that are Google and Bing approved. STEP 3: We then PROMOTE your brand using an Inbound marketing strategy or a content marketing strategy to help you accomplish your marketing goals. We do this through blogging, video production, infographics, call-to-actions, landing pages, and free educational offers. We help you build trust and rapport with your customer base. STEP 4: We then PROTECT your brand's web presence with a reputation management program that monitors social media and on line reviews. Get started today with a free online marketing assessment of your company's web presence. Your company deserves it.
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