A great man once said, “I pay no attention whatsoever to anybody’s praise or blame. I follow my own feelings.”
That’s a splendid outlook to have on life if you’re the prodigious musician – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. But as a business owner who is hardworking and focused on running a successful business, you are irrevocably bound by the code: you must always strive to please your customers. What your customers think of your business is important to its success. This is why online reviews are extremely important for your business.
So, do customers care about reviews? According to a survey, 91% of consumers regularly read online reviews. And according to an infographic by Google, most of these searches (made on mobile devices) result in purchases made the same day. Reviews are shaping a consumer’s purchase decision and a brand’s reputation. So, yes. Customers most definitely care about reviews.
Understanding Consumer Psychology for Reviews
The best way to understand why consumers care about reviews is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and map their journey. You need to know why they turn to online reviews as opposed to directly walking into your shop or visiting your website to come to a consensus about your services. The obvious reason is because it is far more convenient to take the public’s opinion on a business through online reviews before you spend your time and money on anything.
So, let’s see what a customer wants to know in order to map their journey.
Consumers want to know what others think of a certain business before they make a purchase there. According to research, 58% of consumers judge a business by its online star-rating, and good star-ratings infer that the business is a good option. (Source)
Customers want to make the best option, so they will consider alternative services. For a business owner, alternatives are competitors. Online reviews happen to be the perfect yardstick for this purpose.
Good reviews that were made in the beginning leave a positive impression on consumers such that they may be lenient with negative reviews that can appear later on. A consumer’s judgement is shaped by the first impression. (Source)
Consumers want to share their experiences, be it good or bad, to educate others through online reviews. A recent study stated that 70% of consumers are willing to leave reviews when asked. (Source)
Consumers mean business when they are looking for reviews because they want make a purchase decision they won’t regret. 90% of consumers read 10 reviews or less before they can trust a business. (Source)
With access to a good internet connection and mobile devices, customers will conduct searches on the go to make purchase decisions. Among the number of consumers who visit a store within a day of their local search, 50% are smartphone users and 34% use their tablets or PCs. Out of this demographic, 18% of these searches led to a purchase within a day. (Source)
Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Business
I think that it’s safe to say that online reviews have a huge impact on the a consumer’s purchase decision. Understanding consumer psychology is reason enough to convince you that online reviews can either make or break your business. But aside from the opportunities reviews give you to maintain good customer relationships, reviews can even impact your local SEO. The reviews you generate from all your online directories and local listings platforms affect your ranking on SERPs. According to a study, online reviews affect 10% of search engine ranking decisions.
Apart from affecting your ranking on SERPs, online reviews provide your business with opportunities to enhance your brand’s reputation. If you have negative reviews, make sure that you respond to them as fast as you can, and solve their issue. If your customer is pleased with your service, he/she might leave a positive review to reconcile your brand’s reputation. In addition to this, online reviews also gives your business an edge over its competitors. You can focus your efforts on urging your customers to leave you reviews. You can even incentivize this to let your customers know how important their time is to you.
What You Can Do To Leverage Online Reviews
At this point, you’ve heard enough about why online reviews matter. Now, you need to focus on ways that you generate and manage reviews to help you grow your business.
An actionable way through which you can accomplish this is by opting for an online reputation management tool. With such a tool, you can find the reviews your customers are leaving about your business. You can respond to them immediately and take care of any issues that arise. Using a tool like Synup will provide you with a dashboard from which you can respond to all your reviews, and get notified about them in realtime. Some other alternatives to this tool are ReviewTrackers and GetFiveStars.
Another common practice is using a review handout generator. A review handout is a printable set of instructions that direct customers to leave reviews for your business. You can hand these out at your storefront to your customers. Maybe you could slip it in along with their cheque and have them leave you a review before they go. Alternatively, you can collect your customers’ contact details and send your review handout to all of them in one shot. In addition to asking for reviews, you can even leverage social media “check-ins” to boast how many customers walk into your store by incentivizing it. For example, if you have a cafe, you can offer a 10% discount to customers if they can leave you a review and “check-in” to the restaurant on Facebook.
These are some simple techniques that your business can adopt as a part of its review generation strategy. Even if you do opt for a reputation management tool, the onus lies on the quality of your services to let your customers know that you care about them.
Harsha Annadurai, Inbound Marketer at Synup