Online reviews aren’t just for products and restaurants anymore. Websites now give people the chance to review everything from real estate agents to auto repair shops, and even employers.
The power of online reviews shouldn’t be ignored. Company leaders must know what is being said about their business online because it can seriously affect the bottom line. Consider the following ways online reviews can impact your business.
Consumers are prone to trust online opinions
Traditionally, word of mouth has been a strong influencer, and it still is. However, the internet has added another layer to this medium, and even supercharged it. For instance, the online review site Yelp has 145 million visits each month. These visitors are trying to find and share opinions on companies like yours. With the typical customers reading up to seven reviews, both bad and good, it’s easy to see how someone can form an opinion about your business before even setting foot in it.
Online reviews should matter to you because they matter to everybody else. In an era of “fake news,” that might be difficult to believe, but statistics say the vast majority of people trust opinions they see on the internet as much as they trust the opinions of their friends. Online reviews that are articulate, detailed and include a personal touch tend to carry the most weight, research has shown.
Bad news spreads quickly
Posting a bad review on the internet is how some people release frustration triggered by a bad experience. It can feel good to have your feelings of frustration validated by other people. Sometimes, a reviewer is motivated by the altruistic idea that their bad review might prevent others from having the same experience, a motivation that should worry business owners.
One approach to combating bad reviews is to ask customers who feel satisfied to leave a positive review. A bad review is likely to occur at some point and it can be counterbalanced by one or more good reviews. Let people know if they like what you are doing, it helps to spread the good word about your products or services.
It also helps to remember that employer review sites like Glassdoor allow disgruntled current or former employees to leave a bad review. A significant amount of bad reviews can scare off top-quality applicants, especially in a tight labor market with many options for job seekers.
Good reviews build trust
While business leaders might think good reviews lead to higher sales and revenues, surveys show the good reviews earn something else: trust.
When people read through many positive reviews, it gives them the impression the company can be trusted. It makes sense that if other people had a good experience, they might as well. Conversely, reading through several bad reviews isn’t going to make someone want to take a chance on a company’s products.
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