The following are Matt’s points with some comments I’ve added:
- They create trust. People are suspicious that reviews are filtered to remove any negative comments. A negative review every now and then adds credibility to the positive reviews posted for a business. The lack of any negative comment also makes business-provided testimonials better than nothing, but not much. People do not expect that testimonials represent an honest cross-section of a business’s customers.
- They provide honest feedback. Most business owners rarely hear from unhappy customers. An unhappy customer will tell their neighbors, friends, and relatives about a bad experience at your business, but they will not tell you. Web reviews give you, the business owner, a window to what’s being said about you and an opportunity to use that information to change your business.
- They can improve your website search engine optimization. Customer reviews tell you how your customers view and discuss your products and services. This information can help you update your website to respond to those discussions using the same words your customers use. You’ll rank better for the search terms most likely used by your customers and your website will respond to their questions and concerns more effectively.
- They help you make better business decisions. If your customers complain about one aspect of your service or about a particular product, it’s probably wise to make changes. Prioritizing changes in this way is a more successful and cheaper approach than hiring a consultant to survey your customers.
- They offer you a golden opportunity. If you can respond effectively to the reviewer and turn a bad situation into a positive one, you’ll likely create a new loyal customer and win over the many prospects who are interested in how you respond when problems arise. These prospects will have more confidence and trust going into a business relationship with you, because they know you’ll work with them when something unforeseen happens.
Note that these benefits only occur if you are monitoring the Web for new reviews and if you respond quickly when a negative review surfaces. Most small businesses still don’t check the Web for reputation information. If you don’t and if a negative review sits on display for six months or a year or more, you’ve given up on most things positive that could happen. So either resolve to monitor the Web for reviews of your business or hire a firm like us to do it for you. Give me a call to learn more at 979-531-8300 or send me an email using the contact form.
- Online business reviews – tips for getting started (marketing.yell.com)
- Should I be asking customers to review my small business? (marketing.yell.com)
- Negative Online Reviews: When Should You Respond and How? (choosewhat.com)
- Dealing With Negative Reviews (mutedadvertising.wordpress.com)
- “Please Complain” by Seth Godin (houstontexasseo.com)
- The Number One Reason SMBs Go Social Is… (smallbiztrends.com)