Once upon a time, the idea of asking people for their honest thoughts on your product, and displaying those thoughts for the world to see seemed like an odd thing to do. Now, technology has changed how we shop for products and services, and people share their everyday experiences on the internet freely.
Today, small businesses depend on online reviews to be found and to be chosen.
Ratings and reviews influence how consumers perceive businesses, their services and products. When considering a new business, 91% of people think reviews are important enough to sway their purchasing decision. So whether you’re a luxurious bed and breakfast or a mom-and-pop sandwich shop, online reviews are crucial to the success of your business.
Customer Experience Over Your Words
You might have hired the world’s greatest copywriter to pen your products’ descriptions but the truth is, that wasn’t necessary. We love a jazzy description as much as the next guy, but we live in a time where people shamelessly false advertise to gain profits.
Consumers won’t blindly place their trust in what a business says. They want to hear about your customer experience, but not from you. Customers trust online reviews nearly 12 times more than any description you could place on your website.
When was the last time you went to a website with zero reviews and said, “Man, I’m so excited to give my hard-earned money to this disreputable business where I might not even receive my product”? Exactly. We didn’t think so.
Online Reviews and Risks
There are moments when consumers are willing to risk money to sample a product or service — when the risk is losing a few dollars. The cost of the product or service increases the weight of your reviews. You’ll need more than two reviews to build a potential client’s confidence in spending $10,000 on your wedding planning service.
Bad is Good
All reviews are not created equal. You need users to give their unfiltered opinion on your products and services — yes, even the bad ones. We know it seems crazy to provide past clients with the opportunity to trash your business, but you have our word that it’s for the best.
Giving your customers a forum to vent their frustrations gives you the chance to publicly rectify the situation. Show that you care enough to go the distance and make things right, which is great for establishing brand credibility. This will reel back in customers who swore off your business and establish trust with potential clients who stumble across your reviews.
Beef Up Your Reviews
So how can you generate more reviews and prove your worth?
- Reach out to past customers and ask them to share their opinions
- After they visit your business, send them an email or text asking them to write a review (make it convenient by providing a link)
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews promptly
Google Reviews Work for You
While reviews are a great tool for your current and future customers, they also benefit you greatly. Beyond all the kind words you’ll find what you really want— more eyes finding your business.
Stand out on Google without paying for the ad space. Star rating (0 to 5 stars) and reviews count and affect local ranking. Businesses with higher star ratings and more reviews typically book more jobs because Google when rank them higher in search results.
That means your current customers turn potential customers into paying customers. Wow, talk about coming full circle.