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Why SMEs Benefit the Most from Online Reviews

Hellopeter

Dec 9, 2020 4:16:58 PM

Technology has changed how people shop. The most important change being that a majority of people prefer to read about what others think of a company before they can make a buying decision. Therefore, as a small business owner, you should take note of why online reviews matter and decipher how you can take advantage of the numerous benefits of online reviews.

Suppose you have recently opened an auto repair shop. To get people in the door, they want to know:

  • That you are well versed in how to repair cars
  • Whether or not your prices are reasonable
  • How you handle customer service
    • Is your staff friendly? 
    • Do the employees make customers feel welcome?
    • Do unexpected issues get resolved?
  • If you take good care of the vehicles
    • Are there more scratches on vehicles after the repairs are done?
    • Do mechanics get oil and dirt inside the cars while repairing them?

Online reviews help customers to address concerns like these so that they feel better about paying you for your service.

Online Reviews are the Key to Business Trust

Having great online reviews will promote your business, improve buyer reassurance, and in the long run, help you to enjoy higher profits and growth. While you may fear that negative reviews can discourage potential customers from visiting your business, the reality is that having a healthy blend of both positive and negative reviews can improve your business, establish authenticity with your audience, and help you earn more money over time.

When you understand the importance of online reviews, it will be that much easier to optimise your customer experience to create a positive online footprint. Here are several benefits of online reviews that small to medium enterprises just like yours can enjoy:

They Build Credibility

Today, almost everyone can access the internet. Therefore, customers can check online reviews to ensure that whatever they are purchasing will be worth their time and money. Having online reviews about your business quickly builds credibility, making it easier for potential customers to trust you and make buying decisions.

Positive reviews tell potential customers what sets your business apart from the competition. It’s sometimes exactly what people are looking for to gauge the quality of your services or products. 

At some point, you will get a negative review, don’t panic when you see it. Instead, try to figure out what caused the issue, and use it as a growth opportunity. This is your time to showcase your customer service levels and reassure potential customers that you’re committed to resolving issues when they go wrong. The ability to turn sentiment around is extremely powerful, it’s crucial to make sure that you respond to reviews, both positive and negative.

It’s true that people may be unwilling to risk their money to purchase from a business with several negative reviews, but that is usually only the case when the business has not responded to these negative reviews. In fact, HostingTribunal.com reported that “Negative reviews can increase conversion by up to 85%.”

The trick is that you must respond to the negative reviews, and mitigate the situation to show you care about the customer’s experience with your business. Doing so “can be a positive driver for users to spend more time on your website.” HostingTribunal.com went on to say that “More than two-thirds of users trust reviews more when they are a mix of negatives and positives,” and “An overwhelming 95% suspect censorship or faked reviews if there aren’t any negative ones.”

Online Reviews Are a Critical Source of Feedback

You can learn more about your business or services from reviews that your customer leaves. For instance, you will gain insights into what people like or dislike about your business and what they pay attention to the most.

Whatever you do with the reviews is entirely up to you. You can decide to ignore the feedback, though that is not recommended. Or you can use your feedback to make your small business even better. The best part about reviews is that the feedback you receive can help you fix small issues before they become severe.

Online Reviews Serve as Digital Word-Of-Mouth

When we’re seeking solutions to our problems, online reviews provide us with instant feedback about the companies we’re researching. While seeing an online review isn’t the same as your best friend recommending a company, digital word-of-mouth transcends traditional word-of-mouth due to the scale and reach of social and online platforms.Why-SMEs-Benefit-the-Most-from-Online-Reviews-Inner-BlogDigital word-of-mouth is free and is a very effective marketing tool, it has the potential to reach an enormous audience, while still providing a trusted source of feedback from someone who was in a similar position. Today’s third-party review platforms also amplify the trust and impact of reviews by being a middleman between companies and customers. Potential customers can rest assured that the review they read can be trusted since the third-party review platform vouches for the legitimacy of it.

Online Reviews Improve SEO

Our new auto repair shop doesn’t have time to write a bunch of articles to try and rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). Luckily, online reviews can help improve SEO. A handful of reviews can significantly help your business website to rank higher in search engines like Google, making it easier for potential customers to find you. 

Google likes online reviews for several reasons, but to put it in simple terms, Google trusts your customers more than it trusts you. That’s why Google prioritises online reviews as a form of content, called user-generated content, for SEO purposes. 

Even though traditional search engine optimization (SEO) practices can help your business website rank higher on search engines, positive online reviews are more effective because they are directly related to user experience. 

Most people prefer to interact with a business that has at least ten reviews. The more the reviews, the better. Another reason to respond to these reviews is so that when you are found in search engine results, the public sees that you are actively engaging with what people are saying about you.

How often your website changes also affect SEO. After some time, search engines ignore websites that don't update their content. One way to ensure that your business website is always being updated is to have a customers' review section that you regularly share to.

Reviews Help You Directly Connect With Customers

One of the many benefits of running a small business is knowing most of your customers personally. After all, businesses are built on relationships making this one of the most critical benefits of online reviews - they are a great way to connect directly with your customers online. You can interact with them by liking or responding to the reviews they leave. You can also thank them for reaching out. Simply by reading your responses, potential customers will get to interact with you and know, like, and trust you more.

Need Online Reviews for Your Business? Hellopeter Can Help!

Hellopeter is South Africa’s largest and most reputable review platform. We help your business stand out by aiding you in the collection of and engagement with feedback about your business. We’ve shared the benefits of online reviews, and now we want to show you just how much they can impact your growth. The best part is you can get started for free. Create your free account today, and get on the fast track to getting found online.

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