The fact is that consumers are putting more faith in fellow consumers and less faith in actual companies. What this means is customer reviews and referrals are more powerful than ever before, including their ability to serve as a marketing tool for small businesses.
The ability of customer reviews to persuade another isn’t fabricated, there are hard facts behind the influence they have on purchasing habits. In this article, I’ll discuss why you need customer reviews, how they affect the bottom line and best practices for managing them.
Why You Need Reviews
Customer reviews aren’t just nice to have; they’re necessary for running a profitable business. Reviews act as endorsements for your business by consumers who’ve already tested out your product. These customer evaluations hold a lot of weight and play a vital role in getting other consumers to use your services.
Reviews lead to more generated sales, an increase in conversions and a greater number of return visitors. The latest statistics and trends, which have been compressed into an infographic by Invesp, show that 90% of consumers read online reviews and 88% of them trust the online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, more people read reviews as part of their pre-purchase research before buying a product or service (bussiness2community).
Reviews & Consumer Spending
According to a study conducted by Zuberance, eight of ten consumers say online reviews influence their purchase decisions. This statistic should be reason enough for you to realize the value of customer reviews. The interesting factor in this case is that we’re actually seeing a change in consumer behavior when they interact with a review.
Below are a few supporting facts for the construction industry alone.
- 90% of consumers read online reviews before calling a contractor.
- 92% of people will contact a local contractor if he has at least a four-star rating.
- Consumers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews.
Managing Negative Reviews
Receiving negative reviews about your business can be a tough pill to swallow, but you must deal with them head-on. Even though it may be uncomfortable to face undesirable comments, you’ll be worse off if you ignore them.
Try approaching negative reviews with an open mind and see it as a learning opportunity for you and your business. I’m not saying all negative reviews will be factual or legit, but you’ll be able to tell the real issues from the trolls pretty quickly, and can address the ones that matter most. This is also your chance to show your customers that you genuinely care about them and appreciate their business. Solving problems is part of being a small business owner, so think of this as a lot of different problems you need to solve in order to continue delivering a solid product.
Using Positive Reviews to Your Advantage
On the flip side, it’s also a good idea to acknowledge and respond to positive reviews and feedback. Interacting with your customer base online will increase engagement (vs. one-way communication) and help you to start building relationships with them on individual levels and as a community.
There are several ways to use positive reviews to your advantage that’ll help you grow your business. A best practice is to consolidate your best reviews and get permission from the reviewers to post their comments and name/business on your website. Make sure you highlight the positive feedback that shows others how you do business and why customers have enjoyed working with you.
Customer reviews are a powerful marketing tool for small businesses. They also aid in business growth and help shape your company’s reputation. Consumers want to hear experiences from other consumers before making a purchase, so it’s no longer an option to have online reviews about your business. It’s essential.