The Case for Business Reviews
Reviews are an integral part of customer research.
More than that, reviews are an essential part of any business.
Customers have now made it a habit to go online, search the business name, and browse through ratings and other customer reviews to gauge the quality of services provided.
Customers can get this information easily, thanks to the several online review sites. This makes them more empowered, and for local businesses, it’s an important focal point in their digital marketing strategy.
As you look to amplify your business’s online real estate and improve its credibility, you must integrate review management into your marketing strategy.
But why is it so important?
Where should you focus your review management efforts?
Keep reading to find out the answer to these critical questions.
Why Are Business Reviews So Important?
When a friend or family member recommends a product or service to you, how much more confidence do you feel in that business than before? Lots more, right?
Extend this concept to reviews.
Your customers live in a world where information on your business is accessible at their fingertips. This includes detailed reviews that other existing customers may have left your business—both positive reviews and negative reviews.
To manage your business’s online reputation and make the best of the positive feedback you get from happy customers, your business must understand how reviews work and why they’re so critical to your customer management.
Here are a few reasons to take online reviews into serious consideration.
Earns Free Marketing!
Word-of-mouth referrals can work wonders for your business. And on top of that, they’re free!
Unlike Facebook ads or getting your business name featured in a trade magazine, reviews act as free publicity.
It’s a great way to spread the word about your business through customers who love what your business offers and hold it in high regard.
91% of consumers in the age 18-34 bracket trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. That’s an entire demographic who are more likely to engage with your business from checking out your business’s reviews.
Identifies Blind Spots
Reviews are a source of constructive criticism and feedback, directly from the customers’ minds.
Most customers tend to post reviews when they’re fresh from the experience of engaging with your business. It’s a great way to get some real-time feedback, and make any adjustments to your business.
Both 5-star reviews and more critical, negative reviews can provide valuable insight into what your ideal customers feel about your services and products that you otherwise might not have realized.
Using this feedback, you can then improve upon the weaknesses in your business to strengthen the quality of your services.
Customers feel like they have a voice when they leave a review. They feel empowered and heard.
When businesses take the time to read and respond to reviews, even the bad ones, it works in their favor, too.
89% of consumers read these responses and form an opinion of how well a business communicates with its audience. They’re checking whether your business truly cares about its customers and improving its operations.
Reviews act as a post-sale bridge between business owners and their existing customers. But they are also a great source of insight for potential customers to see just how well you connect with your customer base.
Grows Your Customers Base
Reviews are testimonials that act as natural endorsements of your business. New and prospective customers may see this and be more confident in engaging with your business.
As such, they can help you not only showcase your business information and maintain your credibility but actually lead to more revenue opportunities through new customers. Why? Customers trust other customers.
Review Sites for Local Businesses
Now that you know the importance of reviews, what online review sites should you consider engaging with your customers?
Here are a few of the most popular ones, especially for home service-based businesses like plumbers, electricians, and others.
Google is the #1 search engine in the world, but that’s not all it is. For businesses, it’s a great tool to boost their local search results and increase their visibility through its powerful algorithms.
By creating a Google My Business profile, you can claim your business listing, verify your business, and also connect it with Google Maps to make your services more visible to prospective customers in the area.
Google listings play a huge role in your business’s local SEO rankings as well. The more reviews your business gets, the better your business will look on the world’s biggest search engine.
Yelp is by far one of the most popular review websites for consumers and covers a large range of service-based businesses.
With a hyper-focus on locality-based businesses, “Yelpers” have the opportunity to post reviews and provide star ratings.
If you’re an active local business, you’re guaranteed to see a lot of Yelp reviews and customer engagement on this site.
Facebook Business Pages
Facebook is a powerful social media platform for businesses to leverage and establish their digital storefront. This is done by setting up a Facebook Business Page.
Facebook Business Pages allow customers to directly interact with a business by posting reviews and recommending them to their networks. They can also “check-in” to your physical business location, letting their friends know they’re there and perhaps encouraging them to visit!
Apart from review services, Facebook also offers a plethora of other functionalities, such as Facebook ads, posting Stories, Live broadcasts, and the ability to tag your customers in photos for increased engagement!
Sounds exciting? Get started here.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is both a consumer review site and an advocacy group.
Set up as a non-profit, it serves the best interests of consumers in North America by objectively providing information on businesses in the region, including name, address, phone number, and more.
It also grades businesses on a scale of A to F, provides reviews, and hosts any past complaints on record about the business’s practices.
Getting accredited on the BBB is a great way to build credibility and trust with your customers.
HomeAdvisor has quickly become a popular go-to for all things home renovation or home service. Customers select a specific service ranging from electrical, roofing, plumbing, and much more.
When the service is completed, customers have the option of leaving a review of the home service professional who completed the job. Customers provide an overall rating based on a 5-star scale, then rate the home service professional on the following individual criteria:
Value for money
The reviews are then sorted into different filters to help any future customers search for their next home service professional. Reviews can be organized by geographic location or by home service category.
Should Your Business be Reviewed?
It’s no secret—you can’t deny the value of a business review. If you have any doubts, this section will get rid of them.
Yes. Reviews are extremely beneficial to your business’s growth and overall success. This is especially true for local or small businesses that depend greatly on positive word-of-mouth and great SERP (search engine results page) to bring in more customers!
The more reviews you gain, the more legitimate your business becomes in the eyes of customers. They act as social proof and can greatly influence purchasing decisions.
Through feedback, you can strengthen your offerings and eliminate areas of weakness.
In the long run, reviews will help increase your profitability and strengthen your company’s footing in the industry.
Customer Reviews: Things to Keep in Mind
As you get started on your review management journey, here are a few things to keep top of mind:
Reviews Are Not Always 100% Accurate
There is always room for bias with reviews posted online, especially free ones. In some cases, you may even receive bad reviews from fake customers. Not every review is an accurate reflection of your business, so don’t take each one to heart.
Just focus on how to appropriately respond to them or how to add more positive reviews instead.
Filter Your Reviews
Depending on the site, some reviews will include ratings/grades or photos. If you wish to respond to reviews, make sure you filter them on the parameters you wish, such as most recent or most popular.
Avoid Paid Reviews
Regardless of the review platform your business decides to use, avoid paying for any reviews. Paid reviews are considered dishonest and can cause more problems than they solve. Even if you’re not getting as many reviews as you imagined or they’re slow to pick up traction, avoid the temptation to incentivize reviews or pay to get fake, good reviews.
Managing Your Online Reviews and Reputation
At the end of the day, customers want to know they can trust your business. It’s your responsibility to show them your business’s values, and reviews are a great way to do that!
Signpost is here to help you on your journey and with your business’s reputation management. If your business needs expert help tracking and replying to reviews, consider opting for our review management service.
Get started with managing your online presence today, and you’ll see the benefits of your hard work grow over the long run.