Businesses often welcome and dread online reviews at the same time. This is because they are critically important for the success of your business. However, while bad reviews can certainly have an impact on your business, they are not the end of your company's story. How you promote good reviews and handle the bad ones will help determine whether your company is both visible and viable. Online reviews can influence how your company is viewed both by customers and search engines.
Regardless of how well your online review reflects the actual reality, the sum of your feedback will go a long way to determining what the public reputation of your business is. Simply stated, this is what people read about you when they go online to learn about your company. While it is not always possible to receive perfect reviews, the sum total of your good reviews and how you react to the bad ones becomes your reputation. Online feedback can be used as a way to get customers to trust your business.
What is strange about online reviews is that people will place their trust in others whom they have never met before to guide them to or away from a business. For your purposes, that is something that you can harness for your own advantage. You need customers to not only be able to find you but to trust you as well. This depends on a combination of visibility and a trustworthy business record. Online reviews will accomplish both of these for you at the same time. Not only do they help improve your business' visibility online, but they also persuade people that you have a track record of pleasing other customers.
Of course, this all assumes that your reviews are generally favorable. If your reviews are unfavorable, they can give your business a bad reputation. This is made even worse if you are defensive in the face of negative feedback.
Bringing In Customers
If you are wondering what the connection is between online reviews and new customers, all you need to know is how much stock people place in online reviews. In today's age, when customers have so many choices, they need something to differentiate businesses from each other. Reviews are essential to gaining a customer's trust since 90% of customers will only visit a business after checking online reviews.
The mobile information age puts more information and resources in customers' hands than they ever had before. One of the first things that people see when they find your business online for the first time is several different pages that have your reviews. They can even see an average rating of your reviews so that they can get a sense of whether your business is highly-rated or not. The last thing that you want is for customers to get a negative impression the first time they ever see your company. Good reviews drive traffic and vice versa as the two have a symbiotic relationship.
When customers find a business online, they simply do not have much to base their decision on when they are figuring out whether to patronize a business. The deciding factor after price and convenience will usually be online reviews. In addition, it will let them know what to expect when they are doing business with you.
Improved Customer Experience
We all know that not every customer who patronizes you will walk away happy. The old adage that you cannot please everyone is doubly true when it comes to doing business. This is not the end of the story for your business. Not only can that customer be won back, but you can turn a negative into a positive when you either constructively engage the customer or fix the problem that they brought to your attention.
Think of online reviews as a large handful of data points that you can use to improve your business. Of course, all businesses aim for perfection, but nobody ever achieves that. A sound business will look at reviews and glean from them the areas where the business can make legitimate improvements in its processes and practices to make itself more sustainable in the future.
Some reviews may not be very constructive, but nearly all reviews will have something in them where you can learn. If you have acted as a reasonable business should, the end result of your online reviews will be that you have focused your resources on enhancing your customer experience and addressing any weaknesses that you may have as a business.
Just like any student or worker should use feedback as a way of making targeted fixes, so should every business. As you can see, online reviews are critical for your business in many different ways. Promote and embrace them and your business will be well on its way to a sterling reputation.
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