It’s no secret that the novel Coronavirus has had a dramatic impact on businesses worldwide. Just one of the many impacts it’s created is customers are more vigilant than ever about the companies they do business with. Fear is funny like that. It makes us hyper-aware of everything and causes us to keep our guard up about the people we’re purchasing from.
Add to that the uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused for employment and the economy, and customers globally are being extra cautious with their spending money. As a result, online reviews have become more important than ever for marketing, as well as brand reputation and awareness.
News outlets are reporting some devastating numbers about the South African economic landscape due to COVID. Here are just a few of the reports we’ve seen:
-- “South Africa’s GDP could plunge 8 percent this year because of the pandemic...The assessment, which will inform policy and program responses, projects South Africa’s economy will recover slowly through 2024, with some 54 percent of households that have been pushed out of formal jobs at risk of falling into poverty.” (United Nations Development Programme)
-- The labour force could see a reduction in 25 to 40% of hours for the foreseeable future as the country works to overcome the impacts of the coronavirus. (International Food Policy Research Institute)
-- “Covid-19 is accelerating the rise of the digital economy...Organisations that embrace digital solutions have greater resiliency in the face of adversity—and a leg up on the competition that will enable them to recover faster and pivot from playing defense to chasing growth. (BDO South Africa)
-- “South Africa can become a technology hub within the region, by applying new technologies in various sectors where it has a traditional advantage over its neighbours. These include mining, agriculture, and financial services...Winning in the digital economy requires a combination of technical understanding, pioneering leadership, and a sense of vision and determination to encourage an ecosystem of innovation. Leaders who engage with these possibilities today could be reshaping the economy of 2030 for the greater good.” (The Small Business Site)
As more businesses push their efforts into working remotely due to the digitally accelerating world we now live in, the importance of reviews are higher than they’ve ever been.
Customers are engaging with online reviews more than ever before to learn about the companies they’re considering patronising. In a world of choice, if the only differentiator between you and your competitors is your level of customer service then reviews are critical to stand out, showcase your strengths, and beat your competition.
-- Your reviews are directly related to business trust. Customers want to feel safe purchasing from your company, and they want to know the goods and services they order will be delivered as promised.
-- Reviews provide digital word-of-mouth about your business. Buyer reassurance and customer satisfaction are increasingly more important in a tightening economy. With online reviews, you’re able to provide social proof that you’re delivering on your promises, and the community is happy with your business. Trusted relationships are so important in these uncertain times, and what people are saying about you helps you form and build on your community’s perception of your business.
-- Your online reviews make your most loyal advocates more likely to spread the word about your product and help boost you up through the toughest of times. Imagine having a fan base loyal enough to tell the community to continue purchasing from you. People like to assist businesses that help people, and show that they care. Make sure your business is assisting your customers, and then encourage your patrons to spread the word about your goods and services.
The reality is, we’re in uncharted territory. For most of us, the global pandemic is presenting challenges, unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime.
We know digitisation and going online can be scary for most - especially small businesses. It requires expertise, reliance on external people who can help you implement changes and it can be a costly process.
We’re committed to helping small businesses attract customers more easily by growing a trusted online presence, building social proof, and becoming more discoverable on an easy to use independent review platform. So you can focus on what you do best - running your business - while not being tied into complicated and expensive marketing agency contracts.
We know that it’s more important than ever to boost the perception of your company. Click here to download the complete eBook guide!