Customer Reviews: How Much Do They Really Matter?
If you’ve ever been hungry and was unsure where to eat, you most likely searched restaurants nearby. If your car has broken down on a road trip, you might have searched mechanics in the area. The list goes on and on. As you know, reviews often appear when a business is searched on Google, not to mention the numerous independent websites that have reviews for every type of company imaginable. Do customers read these reviews? Can one scathing review keep dozens of customers from frequenting your business? How can you leverage customer reviews online?
A handful of customers can have more impact on the success of your business than you would ever expect. Bad reviews can have a powerful effect on readers. Even if the majority of all reviews ever given were positive, recent reviews are available at a glance because they appear first. If the most recent reviews were negative, this could be enough to deter your potential customer from visiting your website. They will move on to another option. Reviews, while somewhat out of your control, can make or break your online marketing strategy.
Research shows that customers do trust the opinion of a complete stranger. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. This is an astounding number. Know that any online review of your business will most likely be considered credible be readers even if you feel that it is inaccurate. Of course, the best way to avoid negative reviews is to provide excellent service and products, but not every customer will leave happier than when they arrived. A product with all five star reviews and not a single negative comment appears suspicious, would it not?
Now that you know the power of online reviews, you can leverage this power to positively affect your presence online. Featuring customer reviews directly on your website promotes transparency and shows that you have nothing to hide. Since you will see all the content being posted on the review platform, it will be easy for you to respond to each and every review, either thanking them for their positive feedback, or offering a remedy to a problem. Having customer reviews on your website will also improve your search ranking on search engines.
Do not underestimate the power of online reviews. If they start a conversation, respond to it. Engaging with customers online is becoming increasingly important in this digital age.