Benefits of Online Customer Reviews

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Consumer Reviews Go a Long Way

Business owners know that keeping every customer happy is a nearly impossible task, but that doesn’t mean you don’t strive for 100% satisfaction with each and every customer you do business with.  Unfortunately, that satisfaction often goes unrecognized, as customers rarely will go out of their way to write a letter, make a phone call, or visit to tell you how happy they were with the service they received. That’s why, if you want a good review, you have to ask for it.

We understand the hesitation – what happens if a customer leaves a negative review? This is, of course, very plausible, as Helpscout reports that news of bad customer service will reach more than twice the number of people than praise for good service. In addition, a Street Fight poll of 1,000 participants showed that 19.1% of respondents would be more likely to write a review after having a negative experience, and 21.6% wouldn’t write a review at all.

So, how do you get those non-reviewers to start giving positive feedback and how do you offset the negative reviews? Simple: Ask your customers to leave you a review online. Online reviews give you the credibility you need to be relevant on the internet – and build trust in your company that you want your consumers to see.

There are a number of different platforms for your customers to use to leave a review – Your Facebook business page, Google+ (this is a big one and we’ll get into that later), Yelp, Angie’s List, Foursquare, and more. They can even do it on your company’s blog if you allow comments.

But before you start actively seeking out customers that would be willing to leave a review, you may be wondering why it’s so necessary. While it can be tough to encourage your customers to go online and leave a review instead of doing so through another medium, it is important that you have a system in place, and here’s why.

Why Online Reviews are Important to Your Business

  1. Build Trust and Credibility: Bazaar Voice reports that there is an 82% higher chance of converting customers when you have reviews online. Why? Because it means that you and your brand are giving consumers the information they want, which is the knowledge that they can trust you. Plus, if you as the business owner/brand respond to a customer’s review – whether positive or negative – 41% of people will trust that you really care about your consumers.
  2. Free Advertising: When your customers trust you, they are more likely to repeat business, and/or tell friends, family, and colleagues about you. Word of mouth is a great way for you to earn more business. In addition, when customers leave reviews for you online – especially on social media – this exposes you and your company to a much wider range of people. Reviews often provide free mass exposure that would normally be very expensive.
  3. People Trust What Other Consumers Say: A 2009 Nielson survey reported that out of 25,000 consumers from 50 different countries, 70% of them trusted consumer opinions that are posted online. Every review makes an impact on potential customers. If just the bad ones are found online, this is the only impression of your business consumers are being exposed to. Change their mind by having more positive reviews of your company online.
  4. Constructive Criticism: No business wants to read bad reviews online, but they can be an indication of areas to be improved upon. One main goal is to enhance customer experience, and if there is something you can do to directly affect that, you should be the first to know. Take bad reviews you read and think of them as constructive criticism, ultimately helping you improve your business and make your customers happy.
  5. Google+ Reviews Enhance Google Search: Google takes what happens on Google+ into high consideration when ranking your website. The more reviews you have on Google+, the more visible you will become on the Search Engine rankings. This is because Google will view your business as more legitimate, a business that consumers can trust. Half a Bubble Out writes, “If you don’t have reviews and a competitor does, they will likely rank higher than you when customers search for your services.”
  6. They Help Improve Local SEO: In addition to Google+ reviews increasing your ranking, other search engines will look at the quantity and authority of reviews to help improve your results. Therefore, the more reviews you have, the higher you’ll see yourself on the page.

The next piece of this puzzle is how you can get your customers to leave those reviews. Besides asking them after they do business with you, you could also target them in through other mediums. Send them a “Thank you” email a week after they made a purchase; Reach out via social media or direct mail; Or have your employees hand out a business card-size notice asking them to rate their experience on a Google review.

For more information on leaving reviews or other small business tips, please visit Direct Capital‘s website!