In our modern technological age, it’s no secret that consumers put a lot of stock in online reviews—no matter the business, good, or service. Regardless of the size of your business, it’s likely you already understand the importance of a social media presence. However, simply having a Facebook page or a Twitter account isn’t enough. Consider the importance of online reviews to your business.
The so-called “herd” mentality, where people need to know others approve of their decisions, affects shopping decisions, and it’s especially true of online shoppers. The only way to seek this “social proof” and to find out if others think you are making a good purchasing decision while you are shopping online is to read reviews. An uptick in your star rating can help boost sales, and positive reviews help even more.
Search engines each have their own way of ranking content, but one thing they all like is fresh content. Reviews on your website count as content and can boost your ranking in search results if your site gains in authority as a result.
A business that doesn’t seem open to feedback is unlikely to earn a customer’s trust. If your business doesn’t appear on popular review sites, people are going to wonder how serious or professional it is. Restaurants, landlords, and services of all kinds should actively seek reviews from their customers. Encouraging reviews demonstrates confidence in your products and services. Even negative reviews are an opportunity to demonstrate responsiveness, respect, and professionalism in your reaction.
Showing your customers that you value their opinion helps build, maintain, and expand your relationship with them. Reading and responding to customer reviews after they’ve already purchased your product or utilized your service gives you a better chance of retaining them and seeing them come back for more. When a customer makes the effort to engage with your business by leaving a review, the least you can do is offer a prompt and upbeat response.
Local businesses have the benefit of offering immediacy to their mobile device bearing customers. Consumers who use their smartphones to search for what they need often end up buying it from a local business—that’s why good reviews are so essential.
The evidence is overwhelming that online reviews are important to your business. Creating spaces on your own website and a page on popular review sites, like Yelp, builds your credibility and offers opportunity to increase engagement with—and retention of—customers.