Online reviews – the good, the bad and the ugly
The influence of online reviews and ratings is growing, offering yet another way for businesses to connect with their customers. Here are just a few ways they can help your business.
It used to be that publicists, brands or advertising agencies told us all we needed to know about a product, whether it was what to buy, what to watch or where to go. Now online review sites and social media give us the chance to try before we buy. Or we can give a big thumbs up, or thumbs down to our latest purchase.
These reviews can add to any business’s digital portfolio. Although it’s always good for businesses to receive positive reviews, bad ones are still an opportunity for a business to show they can do better. Good reviews will help build trust. Bad ones won’t. A good review can be maximised through social media to encourage more, but a bad review will need a quick response.
Online reviews are more important than ever to both businesses and their customers. A company can help customers manage their online reputation and generate reviews to stay ahead of the competition. Customers can check out reviews to give themselves peace of mind before buying.
It used to be personal recommendations by word of mouth. Now people trust online reviews just as much – for many it’s their first positive step towards a buying decision. No business should underestimate the importance of online reviews.
Online reviews can have a positive effect on a business by:
- Increasing sales – people are more likely to buy based on recommendations from others.
- Better understanding of customers and service – online reviews will tell you if you are doing a good job. And if not, why not, and how you can improve.
- Improving search rankings – the more that’s written about your business online, the more important a search engine will think you are.
- Giving customers a voice – a customer that takes time to leave a review is more likely to feel a certain loyalty towards a brand that will keep them coming back.
- Creating customer engagement – online reviews can become active social communities. People will often come back to their own review to see what others have added. This allows customers to form a bond with the business and other customers as well.
- Letting your customers do the marketing – positive reviews are a simple marketing campaign that will keep working, long after the review was posted, giving a constant positive image and long-lasting brand awareness.