Consumer opinion in the form of online reviews holds a lot of weight in today's fast-paced digital marketplace.
As it turns out, potential customers regard consumer reviews as a kind of holy grail before committing to a purchase.
9 in 10 consumers put online reviews and personal recommendations from friends and family on the same pedestal.
Online reviews are like a double-edged sword. Most satisfied customers will gladly leave your business a glowing review. However, those who were not as satisfied with your mortgage services can leave damaging negative reviews about your business in their wake.
But how can you leverage online reviews to boost your brand's visibility? Let's find out.
1. Improve your review response time
In reality, no one likes to be ignored or have their concerns belittled.
Always respond to all customer reviews if you want your review management plan to work.
Even the negative ones too.
Responding to negative reviews reassures anyone who comes across your business listing. It shows you're customer-responsive and committed to offering the best user experience possible.
It's not enough to just respond to these reviews, however.
The faster you do it, the more effective it is.
91% of customers who don't leave a review feel leaving feedback isn't worth the effort and the business probably doesn't care.
If customers were assured of an immediate response from your business, 81% of them would provide feedback.
2. Keep your reviews recent
A long-term review management plan should take into account the shelf life of customer reviews.
To potential customers, the views shared by a customer on Yelp a week ago, for example, are likely to hold more weight than user comments from a month ago.
It matters how fresh your reviews are and how quickly you generate new ones.
To stay relevant, we encourage business owners to proactively encourage customer feedback.
Positive reviews are not enough. Aim to consistently generate these reviews.
Recent research supports this claim. 69% of consumers don't consider customer reviews written more than three months ago relevant.
3. Review management affects social media engagement
Today, tech-savvy businesses are using social media platforms as a convenient way of engaging with customers.
You can use social media to respond to inquiries from potential leads, reply to comments, or address any questions posted on your business page.
This means you also have a reputation to keep track of on social media.
Social media platforms like Facebook, for example, have a review feature which you can activate on your business page. Once activated, you'll get a notification every time a customer messages you or leaves feedback.
We've already established how responding to all reviews on your business listings can boost your bottom line.
But giving social media reviews the attention they deserve is also equally important.
4. Reviews can help you win new customers
We're increasingly seeing consumers who prefer to go online to inform their purchasing decisions.
Review sites are a great source of information for consumers and a lead-generating tool for business owners.
We can rightfully conclude, therefore, that anyone who reads your business reviews is a verified lead.
Such an individual is ready to spend.
A good review is all it takes to win them over and quickly make a sale.
5. Create a plan
If you want to keep track of online reviews and enjoy all the benefits that come with it, have a plan in place.
It helps if you can find a professional to do the heavy lifting while you concentrate on the day-to-day running of your business.
When devising your plan, take a minute to consider the following questions:
- How will you be tracking your reviews?
- Who'll be in charge of responding to all reviews?
- How much time can you set aside to write responses?
6. Review management improves customer service
Let's be honest for a moment.
Do you give customers who complain about your product or service an ear?
Many business owners cringe when they see a negative customer review. That feeling of anger and disbelief towards the customer/review site is almost immediate.
Emotions aside, bad reviews can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Here's how:
- Blue-chip companies spend millions on consumer surveys. All this in an effort to learn what makes the consumer tick. Negative reviews are a goldmine of subtle cues on how you can improve.
- Depending on your response, you get to showcase your brilliant customer service skills.
- A mixture of both good and bad reviews is more authentic. Consumers want an insight on the worst-case scenario if they choose to interact with your business.
7. Reviews build trust
How can you trust a person who gives their two cents about a business, on a review site, and yet you've never met them before?
This is the paradox of consumer reviews.
It's easier to trust groups as compared to individuals. Strangers don't have a bone to pick with your business and customers tend to believe their views and experiences.
If 200 people swear by your product, then rest assured it's great. On the flip side, if they say your product just doesn't cut it, consumers will believe it too.
Today's digitally-driven marketplace is powered by customer reviews. And the success of your business relies heavily on this.
Keeping a hawk-eye on all online reviews made about your business is critical to your review management plan.
As a business manager, it's foolhardy to ignore the recommendations and comments consumers are making about your brand.
If customer reviews are the last thing to cross your mind, don't be surprised when your business lands in murky waters.