“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” – Online reviews have significant sway in business today. They can make or break a company’s reputation within a matter of days – sometimes, hours.

In this article, Nodifi delves into the importance of online reviews.

Key Takeaways:

  • Positive reviews are hugely beneficial to businesses
  • Negative reviews can be strategically turned positive
  • Fake reviews or incentivised reviews run the risk of misleading consumers
  • Google, Facebook and Trustpilot reviews each have specific advantages
  • Yelp reviews influence voice activated searches
  • Prepare templates to encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews
  • Monitoring tools help when dealing with different review sites

Fast Figures:

  • 95% of people aged 18-34 read online reviews
  • 94% of people say they’ve avoided a business because of negative reviews
  • 93% of consumers agree online reviews affect their purchase decisions online
  • 92% of consumers hesitate using a business with no reviews
  • 3.3 is the minimum star rating needed for a business to be ‘engageable’

Online Reviews Explained

The Power of Positive Reviews
When people leave feedback promoting your services, it builds trust and confidence for other potential clients reviewing your business. Additionally, consumers are far more likely to engage with businesses that prove having happy customers.

The Nuisance of Negative Reviews
These reviews can have damaging consequences on businesses. In a nutshell, potential customers are deterred by the fear of also having a bad experience. Negative reviews can be made worse when business owners fight back in the public arena.

When dealing with negative reviews:

  • Be polite and professional and offer a solution. This way other readers can see how you solve problems.
  • Take the issue offline by offering to call the dissatisfied customer and discuss in private.
  • Respond promptly. Make sure you offer a solution, explanation or even an apology as soon as possible and before too many people see an unanswered negative review.
  • Never fight back.

The Findings of Fake Reviews
Firstly, according to the ACCC website, businesses that do not remove reviews that they know to be fake risk breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Fake reviews are those written by the business themselves, competitors or someone who has been incentivised to write reviews.

Arguably, the best practice is to ensure all reviews are truthful and from genuine customers.

Google Reviews

Google reviews are, in most cases, the most prominent for people searching for services within a location.

For example, if someone searches online for ‘best mortgage brokers Melbourne’, Google star ratings are displayed within Google Maps on the results page. These contain links to reviews on businesses with a presence on Google.

On the other hand, a search for ‘car deals’ is less likely to display star ratings (and reviews) as this search is not location specific.

The Benefit of Google reviews: Location. These reviews are especially important for mortgage brokers or dealerships who target locally based clients.

Facebook Reviews

Although ‘social media’ comes to mind at first when thinking of Facebook, Facebook reviews have a big impact on customer decisions. With an optimised Facebook Business Page [link], your business is more likely to get noticed allowing people to read your (hopefully) positive reviews.

Individual Facebook reviews can have a larger impact because they’re more personal. When someone leaves a review, not only is their profile exposed along with a picture and name (similar to Google), but also, depending on settings, other personal information.

In other words, reviews on Facebook feel more real and personalised than other review sites as they are linked to in-depth profiles.

The Benefit of Facebook reviews: Personal touch. These reviews have a big impact due to the profiles behind them.

Trustpilot Reviews

In general, Trustpilot may not be as prevalent as Google and Facebook, but it’s a serious player in online reviews. The white-star-on-green-background ratings and reviews are pretty recognisable on company websites.

Register with Trustpilot to display a ‘Trustbox’ on your website – this is where your Trustpilot reviews are shown in a predetermined section on your website.

Trustpilot describes itself as an “online review community to help businesses and consumers benefit from people sharing genuine feedback about their buying and service experiences.”

The Benefit of Trustpilot reviews: Customisable displayed reviews. Businesses can hide negative reviews, invite only satisfied customers to write reviews and even set a minimum star rating.

Yelp Reviews

Yelp is the largest listing provider for voice searches. Yelp has a big influence on local voice search through its integration with major players including Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Samsung Bixby.

If you think your clients are likely to ask “Alexa, who is the best mortgage broker in Melbourne?” or “Hey Siri, show me the best used car dealership in Brisbane”, Yelp is important.

Traditionally, Yelp is aimed more at restaurants but there are options for people to leave reviews for almost all kinds of businesses. A quick search online will likely prove that there are Yelp reviews for financial services in your area.

The Benefit of Yelp reviews: Voice activated search results. As mentioned, Yelp provides a large amount of information to voice controlled assistants. Used well, it can elevate your business ahead of competitors.

Encouraging Customers to Leave Reviews

Many businesses have a strategy for asking happy clients and customers to leave reviews. Often, this just means simply asking a satisfied customer, ‘do you mind leaving a review? It would really help us’.

This could be in person, over the phone, via email or through sms.

Tip: If you often communicate with customers via email, organising a template is a good idea. For example:

‘Hi [FIRST NAME],

We really appreciate you choosing [business name]. Providing you with [service] has been a pleasure.

Reviews help our business and help others learn about us. We would really appreciate it if you could share your experience by leaving a review on [link to your review site].

Thanks for taking the time to help us’

Review Monitoring Tools

Tools like Podium monitor and even reply to reviews online. These tools can notify users when they receive reviews and allow them to respond instantly from one portal, without having to log into and switch between different platforms.

Some tools allow users to set up auto-replies to respond to certain types of reviews.

Additionally, they can display data showing various visuals of reviews like areas where positive reviews are coming from.

Online Reviews Recap

Simply understanding the importance you place on reviews for businesses you intend to engage with, should be an indicator of the pivotal role they can play for your business. Many businesses are turning that importance into reliance due to the huge impact online reviews have, highlighting the importance of technology in business.

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