The internet has grown at an alarming rate since it burst into our homes during the 1990s. More and more people are now connected and using the web for everyday tasks. Research conducted by the Office For National Statistics shows that in 2015, 86% of the population in the UK use the internet on a regular basis and they aren’t just playing Candy Crush or poking each other on Facebook!
Do Online Reviews Matter?
You’d better believe it! According to a recent report
- A whopping 88% of the population now read online reviews when making buying decisions.
- From those, a further 90% will base their decision on choosing goods and services from the online reviews that they have read.
- 88% of these customers take give the same weight to an online review as they would give a personal recommendation or criticism.
How Can Reviews Improve My Business?
There are many different companies that will allow you to embed their review engine into your website, the market leader being FeeFo. This company has software that integrates easily into your website and manages your reviews, it automatically prompts buyers to leave reviews and should their be a problem it immediately routes it to you so that you can address it. It is essentially a review and customer service tool and as a Google partner, Feefo will ensure that your review data will show in the Google search results alongside your company info.
There are other free methods of obtaining reviews that are of equal importance, even if you don’t have a website! The first that comes to mind being Facebook reviews which are available to Facebook business page users, the second most important tool that a business can use to gather reviews is via Google. If you’ve registered your business (for free) on Google My Business then not only will you be listed on Google local results but also people will be allowed to leave a review easily.
Are Reviews Good For SEO?
Yes! most definitely, and for many reasons. Reviews are essentially user generated content. They give the search engines more things to crawl and index. Whether they are good or bad reviews they will inevitably contain keywords that are highly relevant to your industry, products or services and even the geographical location in which you operate. Even off site reviews such as those on Google will benefit your business, the more reviews you gain, the higher up the Google local listing you’re likely to climb.
The statistics above show quite clearly just how important reviews have become. If you’ve ever used Amazon you’ll have seen that they have an excellent review system that enables customers to leave a review on the product that they have purchased.
Compare that to Ebay that only offers a basic feedback system (which is fundamentally flawed) aimed at seller ratings only and you’ll start to understand why Amazon sales grew by 27% last year whilst Ebay sales shrunk by 16.2%
Will Bad Reviews Harm My Business?
There are two answers to this really. If you receive one or two bad reviews and fail to act on them, then it’s possible that you could start to get more poor reviews. If however you can put your pride to one side and look at the criticism from the viewpoint of the customer then hopefully you’ll be able to see why the client felt the need to leave a poor review, maybe your product was faulty, maybe your service wasn’t up to scratch, maybe your courier failed to deliver on time.
Whatever the reason, a poor review generally means that you’ve failed to meet a customers expectations. Rather than become defensive and think that the review was unjust, instead reach out to the customer, assure them that as a business, customer satisfaction is important to you and ask the question “how can we put this right for you?” You’ll be amazed how that approach can turn things around.
People who look at reviews are generally realists. They will appreciate that you can’t please everyone all of the time, in general however, if you have more 4 and 5 star reviews then the odd 1 star criticism won’t affect their judgement too much. If you’re constantly attracting 1 star reviews then you need to ask yourself why and make some changes!
Are Reviews Good For My Business?
A resounding yes! And here’s why. Not only will you benefit from the huge percentage of people who now actively look for reviews when making buying decisions, you’ll also find that indirectly you’ll start to offer a better customer service. You’ll return calls more quickly, you’ll find efficiencies internally, you’ll eradicate dispatch problems, communicate more effectively, reduce production times, and generally do everything you can to attract good reviews, you’ll find yourself going that extra mile to over deliver and most of all you’ll strive to avoid situations that would attract a poor review. The end result, you’ll be delivering a better product or service to your clients which will naturally pay dividends by way of glowing reviews.
What are you waiting for? Go and cultivate your reviews!