The Importance of Online Reviews

The internet has evolved in to a space where customers have the liberty to assess and express their own impressions on your products. From automobiles to retail to hospitality, it has become rare in this day and age to make a blind purchase without reading through a plethora of online reviews. Customers treasure the first-hand experience. And that can either make you or break you.

The important point is to get online reviews for your business. You may be wondering, just how big is the impact of online reviews? Well…

92% of customers choose brands based on their positive reviews *
94% say a negative review convinced them to not make a purchase *

It goes without saying that catering to your online footprint and ensuring that it’s a positive one is a key element to branding. We’ve done some digging and here is why published experiences are giving the power to the people!

1. Social proof

With the abundance of information that is the internet, customers increasingly value transparency in their decision-making process.
Online reviews breed transparency, and act as social proof for the customer.
As a business, you can tell me that you have a great product; but if an unbiased third party told me that you have a great product, I would be that much more inclined to believe it.

84% of people treat online reviews like a personal recommendation from a friend *

2. Online exposure

The search algorithms in place today are complex – that’s an understatement. One thing you can count on is that online reviews boost your search engine rankings.

A good portion of the search algorithm depends on review signals from review hubs. Google collects this data and judges you based on the quantity, velocity, and diversity of your reviews. If you have a good balance of the 3, Google will send you to the top.

3. Impact on revenue

There is a growing body of evidence that empirically suggests that your online reviews lead to increased revenue. Harvard Business School conducted a study* in which it was found that online reviews demonstrably impact your bottom line. The research confirmed that a one-star improvement on Yelp led up to a 9% increase in sales in the short term.

4. Customer intelligence

One very handy feature of Google reviews is the customer intelligence acquired through the feedback loop. Every review you collected can be a customer survey response for you – both quantitatively (in star ratings) and qualitatively (details).

  • You can gain insight into the product that they purchased from your business, whether you delivered a positive experience.
  • You are able to look into the data to spot patterns: what leads to a 5-star rating? what actions are in your control to get a customer to change a negative review?

This can be a big learning process in which you alter the processes by feeding into the areas that performing well and changing faulty ones that no longer serve.

5. Customer Engagement

Reviews open the door for a brand-customer relationship. Establishing an emotional connection is an invaluable opportunity.
Customers today have expectations for expressing themselves, so it’s important to not let any communication slip through the cracks.
Reviews open up a channel to be in touch with your customers. You can take that as an opportunity to be frank with them – thank them for their positive input. If it’s negative, you have the chance to turn the table. You’re able to contextualize their complaint and mitigate its effect. These gestures translate to the wider picture of your customer relationships and show that you care and value them.

People are speaking and people are tuning in – closely!
Online reputation management is crucial for instilling customer loyalty. It’s a chance to be highly customer-centric, test and tweak operations for smoothness and efficiency, and encourage positive conversations surrounding your brand.

Your customers hold the power to shape the success of your business. Let them guide the direction in which you grow and watch your business flourish.

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