Do you consider online reviews before trying out a new restaurant or making a hotel booking? I guess we all do! Online reviews are quite powerful in helping customers make a better purchase decision. Barring few myths like, online reviews are fake or paid by companies, there’s no denying that reviews can have a direct impact on the bottom line of a business.
- As per the 2013 Local Consumer Review Survey findings by BrightLocal, 79% surveyed consumers trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2014, 88% consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business. This was higher compared to 85% in 2013
Irrespective of the advantages, many businesses have not yet embraced the impact of online reviews. They are either unaware of its benefits or it is a new territory which they don’t wish to explore.
Why Online Reputation Matters?
Online reputation matters because a brand is only as good as its reputation. ORM (Online Reputation Management) is not just for big brands. With social media sites and user-generated review sites becoming popular, ORM has become more important than ever. Considering the statistics mentioned above, growing number of consumers are reading reviews before their selection of a local business. Reading online reviews has become a part of pre-purchase research for many and this new trend needs to be taken advantage of.
Here are some of the benefits of online reviews to start with:
- It helps increase sales by offering the required information about a company’s products or services to prospects. People are more likely to spend money on things that have been recommended by others
- It helps in understanding your target customers, what they liked about your company, what they disliked and so on. By taking negative online reviews into consideration, your company can make necessary changes in your products or services to better serve your customers
- It helps in improving your business website’s ranking on search engines because the more people write about your business online, the more important search engines will consider your business to be
- It creates customer engagement because at times, online review pages turn into active social communities. Once people give their review about a particular business, they keep coming back to see whether or not someone has made a comment on it. This creates customer engagement, helping the participants establish a connect with the business and with others
Online reviews can make or break a business, making it necessary for business owners to hire a team of ORM specialists. There are several ways to get good reviews from existing as well as potential customers but when it comes to negative reviews, businesses need expert help. ORM experts know how to handle negative reviews so that it doesn’t cost your company in the long run. They make reviews work for the business rather than against it. Remember, negative reviews are also important for improving the level of customer satisfaction but if not handled in the right manner, it can lead to damaged online reputation and revenue loss.