- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
Feb. 20, 2020
This paid piece is sponsored by Click Rain.
What determines a company’s reputation?
That’s a complex question. Companies hold different reputations in the minds of different people — employees, investors, competitors, customers and so on. Let’s say you had a five-star experience at a local restaurant once, but both times I dined there my food was lukewarm and the service sluggish. What gives?
Thanks to the internet, both of these experiences can contribute to the restaurant’s overall online reputation, which is arguably the most significant reputation a company can maintain today. In this article we’ll unpack the impact of just one facet of online reputation — online review management. Successfully managing online reviews can improve your company’s reputation, attract new customers and, ultimately, increase revenue.
Think of online reviews like the story your customers, clients or consumers are telling about your company. It’s the word-of-mouth way to express praise or disdain for your services or products. And people are listening.
Of course, to some degree, you cannot control the story consumers are telling about your business online; you can’t manipulate positive reviews or cover up poor services or products.
But you can and should encourage customers to write honest reviews online. According to BrightLocal, 86 percent of customers would consider leaving reviews for businesses if asked. This makes sense. We all love to recommend our favorite brands or businesses to others. So why not capitalize on this natural instinct with your own customers?
GatherUp found that companies generally see an increase in their average star rating after emailing buyers a direct link to submit reviews. You believe in your services and products. Now trust your customers to reinforce your reputation by sharing your story online.
Fundamentally, better reviews mean more business. That’s because consumers trust the reviews of other consumers. They want to hear from someone with unbiased insider information. BrightLocal states that most consumers read 10 reviews before feeling they can even trust a business. And when we took a deeper look into Midwest-specific data for our Digital State of the Midwest. we found that Midwesterners are 45 percent more likely than the rest of the U.S. to always or almost always read reviews before buying a product or service.
So your customers are reading your online reviews, and those reviews are impacting their decisions. This could either make or break your business — it all depends on the reviews themselves.
At the end of the day, there isn’t much you can do to prevent all negative reviews. Eventually, someone will be unhappy with you — but don’t get discouraged! A negative review also creates an opportunity to win back a customer and showcase your customer service.
Among consumers who read reviews, 97 percent read how businesses respond to reviews. When you respond to a negative review, not only are you rectifying an issue with one customer, but also you’re further demonstrating to other customers that you read and care about their reviews and experiences. Review management is a conversation. It’s a way to make amends with an unsatisfied customer and a way to make a favorable impression on potential customers.
In fact, statistics from Moz indicate that your customers likely expect you to reply to most reviews online, not just negative ones. Google also has indicated that actively responding to reviews can help improve your local ranking.
Can you respond to everything? No. But properly managing your online reviews will entail a good deal of dialogue. Responding to reviews satisfies customers and continues to improve your online reputation.
Review management is work — but is it really worth it? We think so. At an increasing rate, consumers use online reviews when considering how to spend their time and money. Here’s the data:
Google understands how much consumers rely on reviews to make a decision. That’s why it and other search engines give more preference to business listings with more reviews. GatherUp reports that “Businesses appearing in Google’s top three local positions have an average of 47 Google reviews.” In other words: Good reviews increase the likelihood that customers will find and trust your business.
Online reviews matter to your customers, so they should matter to you too. Review management has become an effective — and necessary — tool to reinforce your company’s reputation, which is an integral component of your long-term success.
Managing your online reputation doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are platforms that help streamline and simplify the review management process, including one from Click Rain coming soon!
From your star ratings to your online reviews, it’s a lot for a business to manage — but this data says you need to.