Do you read online reviews before making a purchase? If you like 91% of consumers in a recent BrightLocal study, then answer is yes! Looking up reviews is fast and easy. There’s no downside to checking out what past customers had to say before you spend any money. Consumers are especially prone to double checking for businesses in the restaurant, hotel, and healthcare industries.
When you are engaging with reviews from the consumer side, it is easy to take them for granted. They simply are what they are! However, if you are a business owner, you cannot afford to be so blasé! Increasingly, the success or failure of your business depends on your online reviews and reputation.
You ARE your online reputation
Reputation is everything! We have all heard it, but have we really digested what that means in a digital era?
Prior to the internet, people certainly still talked. However, word-of-mouth was significantly less tangible. Rumors and irate misunderstands certainly wouldn’t have ended up on the billboard next to yours! However, now, when someone Googles your business, that is functionally what happens.
Right next to your business’ information sit customer reviews. For potential customers, who have no relationship to you yet, these reviews are as much a part of your business as your address!
You need to build TRUST
The currency of reviews is trust. Potential customers read reviews to determine whether or not you can be trusted to provide a quality product or service. They want to know that the time, energy, and money that they are considering investing in you will be worth it in the end. No one can predict the future, so potential clients have to rely on one thing: your hard-won reputation.
When a customer reads a review – good, bad, or ugly – they imagine themselves in the place of the reviewer. “If that happened to this person,” they think, “it will probably happen to me!”
This type of sympathetic thinking is why 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendation. People look at and create reviews because, deep down, we like sharing good experiences with others. Similarly, we like to protect others from our bad experiences!
It doesn’t take long for customers to decide whether or not you meet their expectations or not. After seeing 4 to 6 reviews, 68% of people have made up their mind about a business’ trustworthiness.
The burden of proof is on YOU
Many businesses try to get the benefit of positive reviews without doing the work to gain them legitimately. Instead, they create fake accounts to give themselves 5-stars. Maybe there was a time when this worked; however, those days are long gone. People are wise to this trick now. Marketing lingo, overly flowery praise, accounts that exist purely to post a single review, and multiple identical or similar reviews are obvious frauds.
Instead of gaining credibility, businesses who try to game the system end up worse off. Customers have to wonder, “what is so wrong with this product/service that they felt they needed to hide REAL people with fake ones?”
Like it or not, it is on YOU to prove that your business is worthwhile. Your business needs to do a legitimately good job at what it does, first and foremost. Then, you have to encourage actual customers who were happy with your service to post online reviews. It takes time and effort, but it is the only long-term way to build online credibility.
Will you get negative reviews? Yes! Everyone has an off day, and that is okay. Resolve that customer’s issue, and learn from their feedback. Potential customers will appreciate seeing that you listen!
Do not UNDERESTIMATE the power of online reviews
BrightLocal found that customers will spend 31 percent more on a product or service if the business has excellent reviews. They trust they will get the same great service, so they commit to your business.
Can your business afford to lose 22 percent of your potential customers? What would you do with 31 percent more income? Are you ready to find out? Contact the One Question Reputation App at (210) 899-6772 to get started building your online reputation today!