Online reputation management is a critical component of business success in the Internet age. In an era where a single poorly-judged tweet or Facebook status can cast you into the role of villain, “watching your step” online has never been more important. The days where businesses held the reins of power are long gone, as consumers are well versed on their rights and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions.
However, it appears this message isn’t getting through to some business owners yet, as we can see from these statistics:
- An estimated 90 percent of customers’ purchasing decisions online are influenced when they see positive online reviews and testimonials. However, only 50 percent of small business owners in one survey acknowledged the importance of positive online reviews, and more than 20 percent incredibly believe customer reviews are NOT important.
- Approximately 55 percent of small businesses don’t receive online reviews, while another 20 percent get less than five reviews per month on average. This is probably not a surprise, since less than 15 percent of business owners actually bother asking customers for online reviews.
- Around 70 percent of consumers have a positive view of a business if the organization actually responds to an online review. Despite this fact, almost 70 percent of SMB owners don’t monitor their reviews, and those that do spend less than five hours a month doing so.
- Among SMB owners, over 40 percent believe the online review system is unfair because there is no way to prove that the reviews are left by real customers. There have been many occasions where companies have played dirty and left bad reviews for rivals. This is an ongoing problem but one that the major search engines are trying to solve.
How to Stay on Top of Online Reviews
- Broaden your perspective: If you are among the 50 percent of business owners that don’t take online reviews seriously, consider rethinking your stance in light of the evidence above. The fact is that online reviews greatly impact the purchasing decisions of Internet shoppers, so start asking for reviews and try your best to ensure these reviews are deservedly positive. Don’t be afraid to offer incentives like discounts for a review; this is not bribery if the review is honest.
- Engage with customers: Because so many customers admit that responding to reviews places a company in a good light, start addressing reviews. While it is nice to receive good reviews and thank customers who are positive about your company, you must also try to reply to those who have had a bad experience with your business. This action could not only save a customer, it may produce a ripple effect as word spreads about your excellent customer service.
- Monitor reviews: This is extremely important, because how else can you respond if you don’t know the reviews exist? Fail to monitor your online reputation and it could crumble without you even realizing it.
- Post reviews and testimonials on your site: Positive reviews are ammunition, and you have to show the world that your company is the choice of the people. The best way to do this is to create a testimonials page on your website so everyone can see how positively other people view your company.
You can’t ignore the impact of online reviews, so follow the above advice and ensure your company benefits from the power of consumer opinion. Or enlist the help of our Phoenix Internet marketing team to help put your best foot forward.