Since 89% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase1 and 60% deem them trustworthy or very trustworthy,2 managing online reviews effectively is critical for your business’ success.
Why Are Online Reviews Important For Businesses?
Similar to asking a friend or family for a recommendation, many people use online reviews to seek social proof. This gives online reviews the ability to make or break the success of businesses.
Additionally, brands with a large number of reviews will rank better in search engine results. Thus, they will gain greater brand awareness and visibility. Specifically, reviews account for 15% of the method that Google uses for ranking local businesses.3
4 Best Practices For Managing Online Reviews For Small Businesses
Online reputation management starts with knowing how to gather and respond to online reviews professionally. Here are four tips and tricks for handling online reviews like a pro:
#1: Establish Your Online Presence On Review Sites
The first step in managing online reviews is setting up or claiming your business profile on popular reviewing platforms. This allows you to post your business’s hours of operation, address, phone number and have the ability to respond to any reviews and comments about the customer experience.
A few of the most popular spaces for leaving customer feedback that brands should constantly be checking up on include:
- Trip Advisor
- Facebook Business Page
#2: Stay Active With Responding To Reviews
The way you interact with online reviews can speak just as loudly to your potential customers as the reviews themselves, for engaging with and responding to reviews shows that you care about the satisfaction of your customers. To ensure that your tone and intentions are perceived positively, here are a few ideas for ways to respond well to reviews:
- Respond to reviews as quickly as possible for optimal customer service
- Always use professional and friendly language
- Maintain a consistent brand voice in every review
#3: Don’t Hide From A Negative Review
While it might be tempting to avoid interacting with a bad review at all costs, or worse, responding to one defensively, it is pretty beneficial to respond to them as often as your positive ones. More specifically, studies found that 53.3% of customers expect businesses to respond to their negative reviews in no more than a week.1
Negative reviews can feel like a blow to the ego, but rest assured, taking responsibility, apologizing, and showing care for solving the unhappy customer’s concerns will reveal your business’s true character and integrity to readers.
#4: Encourage Existing Customers To Leave Reviews
While incentivizing positive reviews with free perks or discounts can come across as disingenuous, there is no harm in gently encouraging satisfied customers to leave a review if they were happy with their purchase or experience with you. Some of the easiest ways to ask for a customer review in a manner that isn’t pushy include:
- Asking your customer face-to-face after an in-person sales transaction or interaction
- Leaving a direct link to leave a review and star rating on your social media platforms, company website, or at the end of an email to your subscribers
The Bottom Line: Online Reviews Are Crucial For Business Growth
The marketing professionals at Full Circle SEM are your partners in creating a solid online review management strategy. To learn more about how we can bolster your online presence and reputation, contact us online today.