The Importance of Online Reviews

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With any business, the hope is to create a good impression on your customers, providing a good service and/or product that will ultimately result in a happy customer who has a high opinion of your company. One of the most important things that businesses have always benefited from is word-of-mouth to raise awareness. However, never before has this become such an integral and powerful tool in the digital age. Given easy platforms, such as social media or review websites, we as consumers are more keen than ever before to give our opinion and share experiences of a business or service that we have received or experienced, be it negative or positive.

Reviews can make or break you

Never underestimate the power of a customer’s review. Many people like to do their research before purchasing from a company or using their service and if you have had some negative reviews written about your company, this can have an effect on potential customers, who may go elsewhere, finding a similar service that has had more positive reviews. Negative reviews may be costing you customers, sending them to your competitors! On average, a single negative review will cost you 30 customers & 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews

According to Moz, a massive 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews, claiming that 88% of consumers consider online reviews to be as important as personal recommendations. With this in mind, it is vital that as a business you do your utmost to ensure that your customers are compelled to write a positive online review of your business.

Addressing negative online reviews

If you have received a negative online review, don’t bury your head in the sand. You should instead address the problem head on. Reply to your customer directly to try to rectify the situation, offer some sort of compensation or assistance with the matter. Responding shows that your customer’s opinion does matter to you. This offers more chance for your customer to revoke their negative review for a more favourable comment. If you deal with an issue in a professional customer-centric manner, you will be in a better position.

How to ensure positive online reviews

Firstly, it is vital  to make sure that you are doing what you say you do. If you are promising to deliver items the next day, but 80% of the time, this is not happening, this is obviously something that needs to be addresses and put right. If you are promising unrealistic timescales on completing projects, you are immediately setting yourself up for a fall, disappointing your customer and creating a greater possibility of a negative online review.

Some pointers to consider:

  • Are you communicating expectations to your customers?
  • Do they understand your product or service?
  • Do you follow up with them after their purchase?
  • Is your customer-facing representative knowledgeable and friendly?
  • Do you have good customer communications?
  • Are your timescales reasonable and achievable?

Customer-centric approach

Customer service is as important as your product or business service. If you lack customer service skills in your business, perhaps this is an area that should be developed to ensure that your customers are receiving the highest level of customer care that you can provide. In life obviously things don’t always go to plan, but if there has been a short-fall with your product or service, if you are able to offer a positive outcome with your customer care, you have the opportunity to redeem yourself.

At the end of the day, customers want to feel that they are important and not just another £ sign to your business. If you look after your customers the right way, your reviews will look after themselves.

You can find more interesting facts and figures about online reviews on a useful infographic here.

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