The Influence of Local SEO and Reviews
In today’s world where “mobile is king,” the importance of online customer reviews have taken center stage with shoppers. The stats show that before visiting a business, 90% of consumers check their online reviews to see what other people are saying.
What’s even more amazing is that almost 9 out of 10 people checking these reviews trust them as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. They are also more likely to drop some extra cash on a business with 5-star reviews.
What does this mean for a business with no reviews, especially if you are in the restaurant or hotel business? It means that without ever stepping foot in their doors, there is a lack of confidence in what the business has to offer.
This site provides some interesting statistics on the importance of online reviews:
In 2017, however, the truth is that the content of online reviews on sites like Yelp, Glassdoor, Trip Advisor, and even Facebook can mean the difference between success and failure — particularly if you are in the restaurant or hotel business. For example, did you know that positive comments from customers or clients produce an average increase in sales of 18 percent and that consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more because of positive reviews?
Conversely, 22 percent of consumers won’t buy your product or service after reading just one negative review and four or more bad comments can take up to 70 percent of a business’s potential customers away.
See the full post here: Why Positive Reviews Are So Valuable To A Small Business
Are No Reviews As Bad As Negative Reviews?
Basically, no reviews are somewhat equivalent to bad reviews. It’s understandable that no one wants to be a “test subject” if a business is new, but it could also be construed that no one even knows you exist or thinks your worth checking out.
So how do some companies handle this dilemma? They get fake reviews. The problem? There’s no sincerity in the comments or it’s so overdone that it is obviously fake.
On the opposite end of the review spectrum, there are times that negative reviews are purposely written to bring down their competitors. If they are posted on an anonymous review site, then you can’t even put a face or name to the complaint.
In this video, Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, offers his thoughts on how to deal with negative reviews:
Reputation Management Companies
With the significance of reviews, reputation management has become a big industry. Your online reputation is a valuable asset, and digging out of a major online debacle can be difficult and possibly a permanent black eye for your company.
That’s why organizations often hire a reputation management firm, formerly known as a public relations firm. The fact that people can express their opinion in a very powerful way has completely changed the landscape of the online world.
Transparency is the new decree for businesses to survive and flourish. Gary Vee alluded to it in the above video clip, but being open to criticism and feedback seems to be working for many organizations.
Even more influential is addressing the criticism as quickly as possible, as discussed in this post:
You must address the criticisms directly and promptly. If you cannot respond immediately, then at least immediately acknowledge that the complaint has been read by the organization and a response is coming promptly. A week or more is not prompt in online community conversations. Realize that, no matter what you say, your organization’s actions are going to speak much louder than its words.
- If you say a response is coming promptly, then it had better come promptly. Again, a week or more is not prompt in online community conversations.
- Don’t just say you welcome criticism — allow critical messages to be posted to your discussion group or comments board on your blog, so long as such criticisms don’t use inflammatory language, encourage criminal behavior, are filled with obvious inaccuracies, include confidential information, aren’t verbatim posts from the same person over and over again, etc. (and if you ban such a person, say so to the group, so they know such action has been taken, and WHY).
Read the full post here: How To Handle Online Criticism/Conflict
You definitely want to do more than just thank someone for their opinion and leave it at that. Be sure to take what an individual says, give it some thought, and reply with a sincere response that proves you understand their frustrations and will do your best to not let it happen again.
Of course, you should not to offer any incentives for writing reviews, nor would you want to provide a free meal for an unhappy customer. That definitely opens a can of worms and is against the terms of service for most sites that allow reviews.