Recent studies have shown that approx 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews.
Which is why, whether you’ve ordered a product online or used an online service of some sort, you’ve most likely been prompted to leave a review about your experience. This is because online reviews are the new “word of mouth” marketing.
Therefore, if you sell a product or service, it’s in your best interest that you’re actively seeking online reviews from your customers, and also directly responding to customers who have publicly written about a negative experience with your company.
Here are a few important reasons why:
- Potential customers are researching your company before they buy from you.
And the closer they get to the buying stage, the deeper they will dig. Businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by potential buyers. If three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2%.
Having four or more negative articles about your company or product appearing in Google search results and you’re likely to lose 70% of potential customers.
You can (and should) push negative reviews down in the Google search results, by making sure your good reviews significantly outnumber the bad ones.
- Your customers are having conversations about your products, whether you’re there to participate or not.
Like it or not, reviews are here to stay. Unfortunately, they are still unregulated and can be easy to fake. As reviews prove to be an invaluable step in the online buying process, more and more retailers and review sites will need to take a stricter stance on making sure reviewers are legitimate and can be trusted. In fact, Amazon has already begun quietly cracking down on their users who are deemed to be “manipulating product reviews”.
Since studies have shown that consumers are more likely to trust a brand that is active and responsive to customers online, it’s in your business’ best interests to join the conversation.
- Publicly responding to negative reviews shows potential customers that you care about them.
Let’s face it, even if your company is perfect, you aren’t going to be able to avoid a negative review here and there. It’s what you do with those negative reviews that counts. I reached out to a local company that, through my research for this article, I found was doing an excellent job of responding to their online reviews. Telsco says that responding to customer reviews really gives them “an opportunity to learn and grow”. It also gives their potential customers (i.e. the ones who research the company before they buy) proof that Telsco will in fact care about them and their home security experience.
Another local company that is killing it as far as online customer care; Shaw. In fact, many companies have now taken to Twitter to handle their customer service and complaints.
This is a much better brand PR strategy than simply ignoring bad reviews or disgruntled customers, and hoping they’ll go away (pro tip: they won’t).
If you run a business in 2016 and you’re not a) asking your customers to review your product or services, and b) responding to reviewers in a caring, professional manner – then you could be missing out on serious revenue potential and the opportunity to bring a voice to your brand.