It’s crucial for businesses to monitor and manage their online reputation, as unfavorable reviews can have detrimental effects.
If you are a business owner who provides goods or services, then you likely already know the power of a favorable review. Not only does the internet make it easy to see how your company measures up to others that are similar, but potential customers can find out just about anything they want with a click or a swipe.
All the more reason to be cognizant of the online profile your business presents to the outside world. Online reputation management can make or break a business, so knowing what others are saying about your organization is essential for success.
Potential customers scan the internet to find out as much as they can before they open their wallets because it only takes minutes to see what others have posted about your business. Consider a few statistics:
- 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, while 84% of those people trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- 95% of consumers are influenced by online reviews for their purchases.
- A +0.1 star rating can increase conversion rates by 25%.
- A brand with excellent reviews can experience a 31% spend increase.
- More than four negative reviews about a company, brand, or product can decrease sales by as much as 70%.
Social media has also become a popular venue for sharing information about purchases, with 39% of US adults sharing their feelings or experiences about products on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
WHY ONLINE REVIEWS ADD VALUE
Reviews can provide a company with valuable feedback that highlights what customers really want. Reviews can also offer valuable insights into overall customer satisfaction, which can let companies know what they need to up their goods and services.
Building credibility through reviews is a surefire way to strengthen a company’s reputation, since reviews are a form of social proof that establishes a product’s acceptability or unacceptability.
Organizations that do not have online reviews stand to lose out on business because many consumers who search for products or services online make decisions based on reviews alone. A business that provides top-notch goods and/or services may get overlooked if there are no reviews to consider.
Positive reviews also enable newer businesses to level the playing field with established businesses with known reputations. Consumers are more likely to give a new business a chance if its services are backed by positive commentary from customers.
CUSTOMERS WANT TO BE HEARD
Good, bad, or indifferent, reviews allow customers to be heard, which is why written reviews have such appeal. Customers are able to weigh in easily whether they are behind a desktop, a mobile phone, or a tablet screen.
Businesses that know they will be reviewed online are more likely to provide better quality customer service. According to Pew Research, approximately 65% of US adults say they always or almost always read online ratings and reviews, and that they are generally accurate.
REVIEWS CAN IMPROVE RANKINGS AND REPUTATION
Reviews help ratings—plain and simple. In fact, some studies show that reviews alone are the single biggest factor that affects SEO rankings. The reason?
Having positive reviews significantly increases the chances of attracting visitors to your website or business. These reviews play a crucial role in optimizing search engine performance. When Google detects favorable reviews, it assigns a higher rank to your website in search results, as it indicates your popularity and ability to provide customers with a satisfying experience.
Google ranks websites with reviews in higher positions because it puts value in word-of-mouth marketing.
LET CUSTOMERS DO YOUR MARKETING
Positive online reviews tend to have a cascading effect. Reviews attract more reviews, and serve as an unofficial marketing campaign that keeps every time a new review is posted. New positive reviews shine a spotlight on your company, creating continuous brand awareness that is beneficial for both the short and long term.
Studies show that online customer reviews are the most effective way to capture the attention of other consumers and boost sales. The longer you wait to start encouraging reviews, the more business and revenue you stand to lose.
The impact of online reviews on customer behavior is significant and cannot be ignored. Reviews not only influence the amount customers are willing to spend, but they also serve as a valuable source of information and play an important role in establishing trust. Therefore, it’s crucial for businesses to monitor and manage their online reputation, as unfavorable reviews can have detrimental effects. By staying actively engaged with review platforms, businesses can stay informed about real-time discussions surrounding their brand and take appropriate actions to maintain a positive image.
Evan Nierman is Founder and CEO of Red Banyan, a global crisis PR firm, and is author of The Cancel Culture Curse and Crisis Averted.