Consumer behavior has changed. Customers trust online reviews as much as their friends and family, and the majority of people don’t trust advertising. In fact, most people are constantly looking at online reviews and digital word of mouth to make their buying decisions. As a result, businesses now need to embrace the digital era to have a competitive advantage in the market.
Having an online presence offers many benefits to businesses, one of the most evident being a broader reach to their target market. The companies that don’t keep up with the times and reject having online reviews will be left in the proverbial dust.
The reviews customers leave about a business explain the past experiences of different people with certain products or services. As Social Media Today explains, reviews answer the question "What do people think of these guys?"
Your customers want proof of previous business interaction, and to hear about the experiences others had before them prior to purchasing any of your goods or services.
“It's that instant snapshot of a company's service that a shopper latches on to immediately - the overall rating for the company and its products.”
When you’re operating a small business, your credibility suffers from few or no reviews. From the feedback previous customers have left, potential customers can predict the outcome of the experience they can have with certain products, and make informed decisions of whether or not to move forward with a purchase. Such pieces of information improve their comfort levels and give them confidence when making an online purchase.
When you’re starting out, or when things become stagnant, your goal is to ensure business growth. What better way to actualise such a plan than to gather business reviews? Having an online presence shows you can keep up with the times. Adding online business reviews to your digital portfolio guarantees your business exponential growth. And you will have the customer feedback you need to break through your barriers.
Online reviews give your business feedback on the quality of customer service you offer your clients. Customers will comment on their brand experience by revealing how happy they were with interacting with you. They may also comment on their expectations for improvement, and share what they’d like to see from your brand in the future. Regardless of whether or not the feedback is positive, it’s a learning experience for the enhancement of your business.
Consumer behavior is heavily influenced by reviews. Your small business having reviews implies that different people have tested it, lending authenticity to your brand. Since customers are often compelled to purchase after obtaining social proof, your business stands a better chance of improving your sales, and hence overall return on your marketing efforts.
It’s hard to make a purchasing decision without external influence. Whether someone is suggesting we buy or not can be the difference in whether or not we make it to the checkout page.
Furthermore, impartiality is vital when making business decisions that affect your own level of growth. It’s the customer experience, and hence the reviews, that can sway your judgment of what to do next to improve your brand. With the small exception of people merely trying to get something for free, customers rarely have a negative end game when writing their reviews. As a result, you get honest information about your brand that can lead to ways to make changes that will satisfy your clients and keep them coming back.
Identifying what your clients are looking for can be easier thanks to online reviews. You can get crystal clear information about how your customers are engaging with your business, that you might not have otherwise had access to. Using this information, you can reverse engineer new ways to attract your target audience.
Your company can get a leg up on the competition thanks to online reviews. Consumer behavior tells us that customers are looking at who’s offering the best deals, the best customer service, and the best user experience. With all other things being equal, your reviews can help you stay at the top, or find ways to gain an upper edge over the competition. It can be daunting growing your small business in a highly competitive market. However, your reviews could be the very leverage you’ve been looking for to facilitate your business’s success.
If you’re not using online reviews as a marketing strategy, you could get left behind in this digital age. It might be scary to open yourself up to feedback, but do you want to know what’s even scarier? Losing business to the competition because they have an engaged fanbase. Learn more about why you need to encourage online reviews, click here to download the complete eBook guide!