Editor’s Note: This article was initially published in May 2019 and updated in February 2023.

In a time when people don’t buy products or book a service without first reading reviews, it’s crucial to seek out these testimonials from your customers and know how to manage and use them to your advantage! 

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Why Reviews Are So Important

Reviews are like referrals.

93% of users admit that online reviews had an impact on their buying decisions. Consumers trust online reviews – they are unbiased, honest and the digital version of a word-of-mouth referral. No matter how much promoting or marketing you do for your business, we’ve seen that potential customers will trust and listen to current customers more than the promises your brand makes. 

With that being said, more customer reviews equal more trust. Often, if it comes down to a couple of options, consumers will feel more confident purchasing from a business with more reviews.

It’s easy and effective.

Setting up your business on review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor is easy. In most cases, registering your business on the site is a simple matter. Facebook has been another one of the top platforms for collecting reviews. While it is declining in popularity, most review sites make it easy for your customers to sign in using it, as well as other social media channels.

Reviews generate more reviews. Once a business receives online reviews, it encourages other visitors to share their feedback. Reviews can be an influential part of your marketing strategy – a high return with little upfront investment!

Beneficial to search engine rankings.

User reviews can help your company’s website appear higher in search engine results if consumers search for specific words mentioned in said reviews.

Having your business listed on online review sites is a form of local citation building that impacts your local pack and organic rankings. These citations include a link back to your website, which further helps with local SEO and your organic ranking.

The SEO value may differ depending on the type of backlink, but the process to acquire them is straightforward, and there are no negative consequences with links back to your site from established and well-known online review sites.

Increase your web presence and customer experience.

Another benefit of positive reviews of a company is brand awareness! Consumers today prefer to use online tools to discover a new product or service or find relevant information about it. Having this accessible to new customers will help them learn about your business and open the door for them to consider purchasing.

They are also a great way to develop better relationships with your customers. Businesses can directly interact with consumers, addressing any concerns or providing clarification. This all contributes to overall brand loyalty and shows your customers that you value them and genuinely care about their experience.

How to Manage Your Reviews

Always respond.

It’s nice to acknowledge customers who take the time to boost your company’s reputation. The response doesn’t always have to be in-depth, but enough to show your gratitude and commitment to engaging with them on an ongoing basis in the future.

Turn negatives into positives.

As a business owner, you know not all clients will be satisfied 100% of the time. You will likely come across a negative review from time to time, and how you address the situation is the difference between keeping or losing someone’s business. Since we know many people read responses to reviews, how you respond to an unhappy customer can attract even more customers.

Respond as quickly as possible. The longer you let a situation fester, the harder it is to manage. Acknowledge the concern—let the reviewer know they’ve been heard. If people can see that you genuinely attempted to solve the problem, it will strengthen how your brand is perceived.

Be authentic and proactive.

People don’t trust businesses that lie or manipulate the truth. Find a voice that aligns with your brand, and deal with customers openly and honestly. The best way to avoid a negative review is to prevent it. Your frontline defences are accurate company information, transparent policies, and excellent customer service. 

Draw attention to top reviews.

As you gain more positive reviews, use them to your advantage! Feature some of the best reviews on your website so visitors can see them, subtly encouraging them to purchase or reach out. You can also draw attention to top reviews by using them on social media, either for organic content or social ads!

Invest in review management.

Online review management tools can simplify the process of asking customers for a review. Upload your customer contact information to send an email asking customers to rate their experience with your business and provide a review using the links to your selected online review platforms. 

Bluetrain has our customizable Review Builder platform; to learn more about this service, contact us today!

Consistently encourage reviews.

Make it easy for people to leave you a review and let your customers know you want their opinion by providing links to your review site profiles. Ask your existing, loyal customer base to get the reviews started through customer emails, purchase receipts, websites and social media.

Follow-up emails are a great way to target customers who have recently purchased or completed a service. People find recent reviews more valuable, so you must stay consistent with your review strategy!

No matter the industry, online reviews can make or break your business. That’s why it’s so essential that you leverage them effectively. Online reviews require a small investment of time to set up and manage. But the ROI will be increased awareness and an edge over your competition. If you need help getting started, contact Bluetrain, and let our digital experts guide you.

And don’t forget, return the favour and leave a review for a business you appreciate!

​​Source: https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/

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