Over the past decade, the way customers select goods and services has shifted significantly. While print ads and written commentary still have their place, online reviews have dominated how customers voice their personal opinions and individual experiences.
With 97% of consumers using the internet to find local businesses, and three out of four consumers using smartphones to search for local businesses in their area, it is no wonder that the importance of maximizing a positive online presence is now more important than ever.
Why Are Online Reviews So Important for a Business?
Simply put, positive online reviews can generate new business and solidify your current customer base. Below are key statistics relating to online reviews and how they impact businesses of all sizes.
- 82% of shoppers check online reviews for local businesses, and 52% of 18 to 54-year-olds say they ‘always’ read reviews
- The average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision
- The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
Do You Have Reviews Rolling In? Here’s How to Leverage Them.
Positive online reviews play a crucial role in the functionality and growth of your current business.
Potential, current, and longstanding customers are reading the reviews of other customers a business has served in the past, and they continue to make decisions based on past comments. Overall, they will avoid businesses with less-than-stellar evaluations.
Some ways you can leverage good reviews include:
1. Improving the customer experience and building rapport
If your customers are submitting online reviews, have you thought about engaging with those reviews to improve the customer experience? Replying or commenting on reviews (good or bad ones) in a timely fashion can boost customer loyalty and happiness.
When you respond to say thank you for the review or to acknowledge a complaint, you’re showing current and potential customers you care, you’re listening, and you’re committed to the connectivity of the community you are a part of.
Responding to positive reviews, in particular, is one necessary way to build rapport with customers and encourage them to:
- Continue engaging with your company or brand
- Advocate for your business to their friends, family, and social following
2. Turning reviews into helpful FAQs on your site
What are people saying in the reviews they leave for your business? How are they talking about their experiences with your products or services?
Pick them apart and create a user-generated FAQ for your website – a resource that is a true asset in helping potential customers, especially ones who are hesitating on doing business with you, get to know your products and services better and know what to expect when doing business with you.
FAQs generated from reviews can include:
- How to use your product
- How to choose different products based on a customer’s needs
- What to look out for
- What to expect from your services.
3. Improving your product/service & solving common problems
When you pay attention to how customers are rating and talking about your product or service, you can modify your product/service accordingly and offer more of what customers want.
4. Increasing your visibility across online platforms
Did you know good reviews influence Google search rankings? That’s right; the more good reviews you get, the better you could rank when customers search for a product or service your business offers or sell.
For example, when a potential customer uses the “best…in…” when searching on Google – such as best mattress store in Cleveland, or the best dentist in Denver – your positive reviews can get you noticed and highlighted in the returned search results.
5. Establishing trust
Got positive reviews? Don’t be afraid to show them off. You can include them on your website or in your sales prospect emails and TV commercial. You can even tell people they exist and where to find them.
How to Address Bad Business Reviews
Just as positive reviews can elevate your business to new heights, negative reviews can hold you back from achieving the goals you’ve set for business.
While it would be great to receive five stars from every customer you serve, the fact of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, some customers just can’t be satisfied.
Understanding that negative reviews will come at some point is important because accepting this reality enables you to properly address that negative feedback when it gets posted.
Having a plan to face this inevitability allows you to proactively face the situation and potentially repair whatever damage has been done. Three simple steps to implement when faced with a negative review are:
- Apologize to the customer
- Ask how you can make it right/tell them what you’re going to do to make it right
- Fix the issue
This process allows you to address real issues that customers may be experiencing while also showing others that you care about every single individual you do business with.
Going forward, potential customers will see your positive attitude and consider you trustworthy—even if they haven’t engaged with your business yet. That’s the power of a customer review, and that’s why it’s crucial to stay on top of them.
Adding a Financing Payment Option Could Help Add to those Positive Reviews
Ultimately, the quality of your products and services is what drives your business and reputation forward. You know this better than anyone.
It’s important to keep in mind that all the extras you do for your customers don’t go unnoticed, and with something as significant as a sound and helpful consumer financing option – one that ensures your business and customers benefit – it can mean all the difference between gaining more positive reviews and not.
Get to know UCFS – a leading provider of consumer financing – and see how we can help grow your business.
If you’re a business and would like to learn more about how offering financing can help you increase sales, feel free to contact us.