Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, you want to be sure that your brand has a positive online presence. If you’re wondering why online reviews are important, it’s because they are a direct reflection of customer satisfaction. Seeing past customer experiences often influences new customers’ purchasing decisions. Reviews can be almost as meaningful as personal recommendations from friends and family.
The Impact of Online Reviews on Your Brand
Testimonials play a big part in the decision-making process for consumers. One study found that 79% of consumers reported that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. As online consumerism and e-commerce grow, and more people are relying on social media or review platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor to look for brands, it is becoming increasingly more important to build and maintain an online reputation supported by positive customer feedback.
While positive online reviews can boost your brand’s online presence, not all reviews you will receive will be positive. In fact, it is more or less a guarantee that you will see bad reviews from time to time. Negative reviews can have just as much (if not more!) of an impact on your brand as good reviews.
It can feel very alarming to receive negative reviews, and your first thought is probably to try and remove them. But, unfortunately, that is not an option. Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and most other major review platforms do not allow business owners to remove negative reviews — only spam or inappropriate reviews.
In any case, it’s important to address negative reviews rather than brush them off and forget about them. Acknowledging and responding to lousy business reviews can help mend the matter in question. Offering an apology and a solution will help to ease the situation and maybe even fix the issue entirely. You may have to reach out to the unhappy customer directly in some cases. Keep it professional and avoid getting defensive as some situations may get intense quickly depending on the customer you’re addressing.
How to Increase Online Reviews for Your Brand
Many customers will forget to leave a review even if they had a positive experience. Below are a few easy ways to boost the number of reviews you receive for your business.
1. Make It Easy to Leave Reviews
For people to leave reviews, they have to be able to find your business online. Setting up your brand with a free Google Business Profile allows customers access to a platform where they can leave reviews quickly. In addition to Google reviews, you’ll want to make sure your business has an official profile on other review sites. Major platforms such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are likely to come to mind, but don’t forget to check for more niche listing platforms specific to your business as well.
2. Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
You’ll want to remind your customers to leave a review at the time of purchase. Even better, you can send them a reminder or ask for reviews in the form of a follow-up email. Offering an incentive tends to be very effective, but if you’re not in a position to do so, simply asking is often enough.
3. Interact with Reviews
Everyone wants to feel they’ve been heard. Responding and interacting with customer reviews can help build customer trust. Thanking a customer for leaving a positive review will give them — and others reading — the impression that the brand genuinely cares about their experience and opinion.
The bottom line is that online reviews are an important part of connecting and building trust with your clients. Accessibility, encouragement, and interaction are three key components to keep in mind when thinking of the importance of online consumer reviews.
If you’re looking to boost your online presence at a professional level, consider reaching out to the experts at Front Porch Solutions. Our online reputation management services help you position your brand in the best light while simultaneously highlighting your best assets. Contact us today to start something great.