In the good old days before the rise of internet and social media, one disgruntled customer would not have much effect on your business. If their unhappiness was the fault of your business or their own, the worst they could do is tell their family and friends. That has all changed with the advent of online reviews. One or two poor online reviews can do some serious damage to your business’s reputation if left unchecked. Just how important is reputation management for your business? Keep reading to find out.
Online reviews and new customers
Everyone wants new customers, right? Making sales and building new relationships is what drives businesses forward. But, one key element influences new customers more than any other: online reviews. Did you know that 86% of potential customers will read reviews for a local business to determine if they want to buy? That means that poor reviews have the potential to turn away 86% of your new customers. Yikes! In fact, a whopping 57% of customers will use a business only if it has more than four stars. But, if you have some poor reviews in your history (as most businesses do), there is some good news.
The good news about bad reviews
A good chunk (40%) of consumers tend to look at only the last two weeks of reviews, which saves you from that awful review from two years ago. The other good news is that your response to poor reviews makes a big impact. Sure, you can’t control what an unhappy customer posts (and we don’t recommend deleting them!), but 89% of the other consumers will look at your response. The way that you deal with unsatisfied or angry customers is a huge part of your reputation management. You need to show your true character as a business when responding to less than nice comments. A potential customer may not immediately discount you for a poor review, but if your response is in poor taste or not there at all, you stand a greater chance of losing them completely.
Getting good reviews
How can you get good reviews without seeming desperate? Well, as it turns out, users are more often than not happy to leave a review. In fact, 68% of customers will leave a business review if you ask them. Many times, business owners will feel like they are bothering customers if they ask, but this just isn’t true. As the younger, internet-connected generation grows up, reviews are simply accepted as the way to communicate. 80% of 18-34 year olds have written online reviews, and 91% of that age group actually trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So, especially for that age group, asking them for an online review is speaking their language.
The ISO feature on Facebook is taking reviews to a whole new level. If you haven’t heard of it, ISO stands for “In Search Of” and creates a new type of Facebook post that users can get recommendations on just about anything.
“ISO a new barber for my son in the Phoenix area.”
“ISO a reliable lawn care company for my mother. Our last company, The Seed Brothers, really took her for a ride. Please help!”
“ISO an authentic Italian restaurant in Atlanta. Must have great service!”
The above statements are the norm for Facebook, and have a heavy impact on the businesses mentioned. Facebook is becoming more and more central for many users’ lives, not just for connecting with friends. A study done in 2017 showed that 47.7% of Americans active on social media had made their most recent purchase through Facebook. Wow! Facebook is actually the second most popular recommendation and review platform in the world. That being said, if you aren’t maintaining your reputation on Facebook, you are making a huge mistake.
What you can do
Keeping a tight rein on your reputation is a key to improving your sales. When you consider the weight that online reviews carry, you can’t afford to ignore them. Here are a few ways to make sure you are on top of your reputation:
Weekly check all review sites to address new reviews
Use search features to find mentions of your business on social media