Who knew that online reviews translate into real dollars earned or lost for your business? According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, an independent market research company, 88 percent of people are influenced by online reviews when making a purchasing decision, be it dining out for dinner or dropping off a computer for repair. Needless to say, it’s the positive reviews that inspire those patrons and clients to trust a business.
But the negative reviews have their own power, too. In fact…
- 95 percent of customers share bad customer service experiences.
- 54 percent share those bad experiences with more than five people.
- 45 percent spread the venom via social media.
Having said that, when it comes to online reviews, most participants agreed that they have read more positive customer service reviews online than negative ones.
So let’s turn this information into steps your business can put into action. We’ll explore ways your business can generate positive online reviews and leverage their sway on prospective clients.
Tap into the Power of Positive Online Reviews
The nice thing about online reviews is that they’re like word-of-mouth referrals in overdrive. They have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people and influence their purchasing decisions without you doing any of the heavy lifting (other than giving those reviewers a positive experience to write about!).
So how can you take advantage of this kind of passive marketing to prospective clients and customers? Put the following tips to use:
- Create a page for your business on Yelp!, Thumbtack, and OpenTable (for food businesses). Be sure to include your business’s contact information, hours of operation, pictures of the establishment, and other relevant details.
- Stay up-to-date on what others are saying about your business. If you get a bad review, don’t ignore it in the hopes it will just fade away. As the stats earlier demonstrated, those reviews can have a negative impact on your business’s reputation and deter others from taking a chance on you. Respond to the review in a professional and friendly manner, and offer a solution to address the problems.
- Ask previous clients to write a review for your business on one of the review sites. If your client is raving about your work, wonderful! Thank them for sharing their experience with you and ask if they would share it with the public, too. You can offer incentives to entice clients to follow through with publishing their testimonials.
A Few Notes on Creating Positive Experiences & Building Brand Loyalty
At the end of the day, marketing of any kind will only take you so far. The key to creating and retaining satisfied clients is providing top-notch customer service that goes above and beyond making the sale. That may mean…
- Educating prospective clients about your products or services.
- Addressing the clients’ specific pain points with tailored solutions.
- Following up with clients about their experience with your small business.
- Interacting with prospective clients and followers via social media.
When clients feel as though your business genuinely cares about helping them, it goes a long way toward building trust and loyalty, which can lead to positive online reviews and repeat business.