Have you monitored your business reviews lately?
It may not be near the top of your priority list, but it should be. While it’s normal for SEO, email, social media and advertising (digital and print) to take up the bulk of the attention of most marketers, reviews should not be taken for granted.
In fact, despite all the time, effort and money you put into your various marketing channels, reviews left by customers could very well be the deciding factor in whether or not someone chooses to do business with you.
It should come as no surprise that today’s buyers, armed with all of the information available via the internet, are more skeptical of sales pitches than ever. Even the most knowledgeable and personable salesperson will have difficulty converting leads who haven’t had time to complete their research process. It’s just the nature of the modern buyer’s journey.
Reviews factor into the decision-making process of many buyers — sometimes quite prominently. In this article, we’ll discuss why this is the case and also share ideas on how you can generate more business reviews for your company.
Why Business Reviews are Important
People can find and post reviews on numerous business review websites. Because Google is the dominant search engine, its Google Business Profile service is the most popular. A company’s star rating is displayed near the top of the profile.
Individual reviews are displayed farther down in the Reviews section.
Facebook is another popular option. It lists a Rating along with a link to a Reviews page where visitors can view and post company and product feedback.
A third option is Yelp, and there are also some industry-specific review websites to consider, such as Tripadvisor for travel, food and restaurant businesses or Angi for service businesses. If you’re a B2C business, Amazon reviews are very important due to the site’s huge amount of traffic.
Here are a few red flags related to business reviews on those sites:
- No reviews have been posted
- Posted reviews are all old
- Multiple reviews are negative
- Reviews have not been responded to
If any of these apply to your company, you’ve got work to do!
Consider these statistics:
- 97% of consumers said that customer reviews influence their purchasing decisions — Spiegel Research Center
- 72% of customers won’t take action before they read some reviews — Testimonial Engine
- More than half of consumers won’t use a business if it has less than a 4-star rating — BrightLocal
Public opinion of your brand, products and services matters. People value peer feedback, and even one negative review can be enough to give them pause. This highlights the importance of continually getting and managing customer reviews.
Below is a summary of some of the specific benefits.
Shaping the Company’s Online Reputation
A company’s online reputation is its image that is projected on the internet. It could be positive, negative or neutral.
Business reviews have a major impact on how the public perceives a brand. Positive reviews provide a stamp of approval for your business. Negative reviews warn prospective buyers to avoid your business and find a better alternative.
When potential customers are learning about your business for the first time, the hope is that they’ll see many more positive reviews than negative ones. This will put them at ease that they can trust your business and not have to worry about the quality of your products or services.
Providing Valuable Feedback
There’s a lot to be learned from reviews, regardless of if they’re good or bad. The comments that accompany the star rating of a review are especially valuable because they add context to help gauge company performance.
By monitoring customer reviews, you can learn things like:
- Products or services that are performing well and should be promoted more
- Products or services that need improvement
- Processes that contribute to positive customer experience
- Processes that need to be improved to enhance customer experience
- Departments and employees that are meeting and exceeding expectations
- Departments and employees that need to improve performance
Any feedback you receive should be acted upon to strengthen your company as a whole.
Increasing Visibility on Local Search
Business reviews — Google reviews in particular — help improve search rankings and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts in general. This is because customer reviews help search engines assess the trustworthiness and authority of a business.
In fact, the 2018 Local SEO Ranking Factors study found that Google Business Profile reviews that included the searched-for keyword were the second-most influential factor in a local business’s performance in the “local pack,” which includes a map of business locations and listings for three businesses that are relevant to the search.
The more reviews you have, the more content about your business Google will have to review and the more opportunities you’ll have to rank for relevant keywords. And if customer reviews are primarily positive, it tells Google that you’re doing things right and are worthy of receiving a high search ranking.
Standing Out from the Competition
Combine all of the benefits from the previous sections and you have the ingredients for leaving your competitors in the dust. Compiling numerous positive customer reviews is one good way to stand out from the competition, especially if your competitors don’t put much emphasis on reviews.
Think about someone performing a local search for the products or services you offer. If they see that your business has dozens of reviews and your competitors have few reviews, if any, who do you think they are more likely to consider? Or if your reviews are overwhelmingly positive while reviews of your competitors are average at best, who will they find more appealing?
And if you apply what you learn from your reviews to better your business and your competitors remain stagnant, the gap between you and them will continue to widen over time.
How to Get Business Reviews
Now that you’ve learned about the many benefits of accumulating business reviews, the question on your mind is probably, “How do I get people to review my business?”
It starts by providing satisfactory products and/or services and backing them with good customer service. Without them, the reviews you get aren’t likely to be flattering if buyers even bother to leave a review.
However, the better (and faster) way to get business reviews is simply to ask for them. Call customers to action rather than waiting around and hoping that they’ll do what you want them to do.
There are many ways you could ask customers for reviews:
- In person when someone buys in-store
- On the phone after someone completes an order
- With a request on a receipt or invoice
- Via email – Some systems can integrate with a point of sale (POS) system to send a review request after an order or service has been completed
- With a callout on your newsletter or e-newsletter
- Using a social media ad or post
- Via text message
Buyers will be more likely to leave a review if you make it easy and convenient for them. One way to do that is to utilize a review link generator like Podium, BrightLocal and Whitespark. These tools allow you to create and share a link or QR code customers can use to get right to the location where they can leave a review.
Why You Should Respond to Every Customer Review
Our last piece of advice is to acknowledge every customer review you receive, especially the negative ones. Doing so shows customers that you value their feedback and take what they say to heart.
For positive reviews, it could be as simple as a quick “Thank you for your business and the positive review.” For negative reviews, your response should show that you are taking their complaint seriously and care about resolving the issue.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you should always remain professional. Even if the reviewer is incorrect about something or writes something rude, it can hurt your online reputation if you respond in a combative, lackadaisical or angry manner.
Make Business Reviews a Priority Today
Business reviews should be a part of every company’s marketing strategy. Ongoing efforts should be made to keep a steady flow of customer feedback coming in. With peer input having so much influence on consumers, those reviews could be a critical component of your lead-generating machine.
Have questions about business reviews or want to learn even more? Call us at 815.431.1000 or submit this form to contact us.