It makes sense that online reviews and social media reputation is essential to your business, but do you know how critical they really are?
Surveys show that 97% of consumers read online reviews and that 85% of them trust those reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member. It’s more important than ever for businesses, specifically small or newer businesses, to be proactive about what customers are saying about their services and products online.
Amazingly though, only a small percentage of businesses are investing in review marketing and review management tools. This may lead to an unfavorable effect on your business considering 49% of customers are looking for a four-star rating before they will trust any company, and will read an average of 7 reviews before they make that decision.
Online reviews can also boost brand awareness, increase website traffic, and increase SEO.
Reviews are big for your business. Consider some of the following statistics from a recent study by Neilson:
82% of consumers go to a review site because they want to buy a product or service
74% of people looking for a local business will turn to a review site to find it
79% of review site users say they are looking for a business to use multiple times.
What can a positive review do for your business?
A study by Cornell University suggests that a hotel can raise its rates by as much as 11% for each one-star increase in its rating without seeing any losses in the number of bookings. They are also willing to spend as much as 31% more on products and services with “excellent” reviews.
12% of consumers report searching for a local business every day, 54% looked within the last month, and 97% of consumers looked online to find a business in the previous year. Virtually every consumer is conducting regular searches for local businesses and is increasingly expecting the company to have a visible web presence. That presence can be essential since 68% of respondents said that positive customer reviews made them more likely to use a local business.
How can negative reviews hurt?
No matter how much attention you devote to customer service and quality outcomes negative reviews are almost inevitable. It’s okay though since consumers might not be willing to trust your reviews if all of them are positive.
Just one pessimistic review can have a severe impact on your business. One negative Yelp review can lose 30 customers, and a bad google review in your search results can cost you 70% of potential consumers.
A recent Cornell study of Yelp reviews states “When customers are very uncertain in regards to their preferences, they tend to purchase products or services that they do not like and leave bad reviews. If they so happen to be one of the first customers to rate the business, the bad review is a condemnation to death,”
It’s critical to the future of your business whether you’re just starting out, or are trying to establish a consistent online presence, to avoid negative reviews. If a negative report is the first thing, a potential customer finds when they are searching for you, it can seriously affect your chances of losing their business. A negative review can push four out of five potential consumers to reverse their purchasing decision. This could mean you are losing out on up to 80% of possible sales driven by online traffic if you’ve got too many bad reviews for people to read.
Addressing the negative can help though. If a business responds to and can find a way to resolve a complaint by an unhappy customer, they are 70% more likely to return to the company in the future.
All a customer requires is a response, an apology, and a genuine sense that your business is trying to make it right and it can go a long way to convince someone to remove a negative review that’s been posted previously.