Why You Must Pay Attention to Customer Reviews About Your Business
Customer review sites are a great resource for business owners to find out what customers are thinking and saying about your business. It’s your chance to be the proverbial fly on the wall when a private conversation goes public. You get to hear what customers aren’t saying to you in person or are trying to tell you but not feeling that you are listening or getting what they are saying. Research indicates that 93% of consumers take into account product or service reviews before they make a decision on their purchase. That number alone should be enough to convince you to explore how your business is faring on the myriad of online review platforms.
Obviously, you prefer to have people speaking highly of your company. Positive reviews will let you and every other reader know what customers like about your business. This will supply you with ideas on what to do more of or give you some inspiration on what other products or services you can offer your customer. Accumulating a number of positive reviews will provide social proof that your company is worth doing business with. In other words, when people see a number of customers saying good things about your organization, they assume that those reviews are accurate, which will influence their buying decision.
Of course, the same can be said of negative reviews. If there are multiple reviews warning people to stay away from your business, the odds are that potential new customers reading those reviews are not going to give your business a chance. Sometimes these complaints will seem petty or unwarranted, but each one should be examined for any truths behind the statements. Although negative reviews don’t feel good to get, they do present an opportunity for business owners. They can clue you in to why customers are not willing to give your business another shot. You can take those concrete complaints and use them as a springboard to improve upon your product or service. Negative reviews also lend credibility to your company. It would be hard to believe that 100% of customers would give your company a 5-star rating. A less than stellar review demonstrates honesty and transparency for your company. Often, if the review relates more to the customer experience rather than the actual product or service, the negative review could actually reinforce the positive reviews on the site.
Let’s look at just a few of these review sites. And I’ve even thrown an 8th one in, which will give you an idea of what your staff and former employees think about your business.
7 Review Sites Where Your Customers Are Talking About You
Yelp: This platform is geared to reviews and often accompanying photos of local businesses. Customers view Yelp as a way of seeing what their neighbors are saying about you. With researching indicating that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, Yelp is like a friend’s opinion helping them make a decision about whether or not to buy from your business.
Google My Business: Claim your business on this platform and create a profile. This will allow you to connect with customers across Google Search and Maps. Customers can leave reviews and post photos of their interactions with you. Google is the most popular search engine on the web today, so not only will this tool allow you to see customer reviews, but it will give your company credibility as well, reinforcing those positive reviews.
Bing: Maybe it hasn’t reached the heights of Googling, but Bing is a heavy contender in its own right. Much like Google, Bing requires that you claim your business listing, When you look up a company on Bing, you’ll also see other social platforms that the company is rated on and what their average ratings are.
Facebook: Like the two platforms mentioned above, you can claim your business on Facebook. On this platform, you may see a lot more conversation about your business and not just on your own business page. As an example, someone on a neighborhood page might ask the group for recommendations for a local plumber. Members in these groups feel connected as a community and so offer their friendly suggestions, sometimes offering a testimonial as well. In contrast, someone who has a negative experience with a business may post that to a neighborhood forum as well, and often there are no shortages of people who just need a prompt to chime in and share their own negative experience.
Better Business Bureau: This organization has been rating companies long before social media made its appearance. In addition to the rating and accreditation status provided by the BBB, customers can view others’ reviews and complaints on the BBB website.
Amazon: The titan of e-commerce, Amazon can be overwhelming to the shopper. However, when deciding on which gadget, electronic, or health and beauty item, if someone does not know exactly which brand to purchase, the reviews are going to be influential to that decision. You want the majority of your ratings to be about 3.3 or higher, but some unfavorable ratings will enhance the believability of all of your 5-star reviews.
Niche sites – OpenTable, Angie’s List, VRBO, Airbnb, TripAdvisor: Finding the review site for your niche, whether it be the food, hospitality, or services industry, can also open your eyes to how you rank among your competition. You can read their reviews as well as your own to gain insights into what you customers are looking for in your field and how you can improve on the customer experience.
And One Where Your Employees and Former Employees Are Talking
Glassdoor: While this is a topic for another blog post, studies show that engaged employees are more productive and bring in more revenue for your company. This is a good site for business owners and executives to check on levels of employee satisfaction and monitor the culture of your organization.
These are just a few online platforms you can check out to see what customers – and employees – are saying about your business. There are many more. Look at reviews with a critical yet honest eye, especially when it comes to the negative ones. It might even be easier to assign someone who can view these objectively to take a look at all reviews and categorize them for you and your staff to discuss and address. It makes good business sense to stay abreast of this free market research so that you can give people what they want more of and improve upon what these stakeholders don’t like, in the end improving your reputation and your bottom line.