Online customer reviews can be scary because most business owners don’t know that major online review sites allow you to manage your reputation. A few owners in Boulder, CO were relieved to learn that you can actually respond to both positive and negative customer reviews. I decided to share this good news.
Have you ever wondered how much influence an online customer review can have? Enough to warrant resources and energy to manage it. According to a survey of 1,000 adults from Cone Communications:
- In 2010, 77% of survey participants were more likely to purchase a product or service when they could find online recommendations about them. That number increased to 85% the following year.
- Before making an online purchasing decision, 64% of the participants searched for an online review.
Stats aside, consider how often you, your family and your friends consult online reviews when buying something. Or look at Amazon, a company that really leverages reviews. Just about all of the Amazon fans I know read the reviews before making a purchase.
How Online Customer Reviews Influence Search Engine Results
In 2011, Google purchased Zagat, an online review service that allows people to score a business and leave comments about their experience. Since reviews are opinions from the local community, Google displays them and uses these “social signals,” along with other criteria, to determine where a local business is positioned on its SERP. Bing is following suit with customer reviews on Yelp. The more reviews the better, and positive reviews are best.
Review Your Reviews
If you aren’t already aware of what people are saying about your business, I suggest you do some searching to find out. To do this, enter common search terms people use to find your business and its location into a search engine. You’ll notice in the photos above that I entered “restaurants boulder” and the search engines listed local restaurants in my area. To read the reviews click the “reviews” link under the stars on Yelp or the “Google reviews” link on Google.
You might be pleasantly surprised to see the great experiences your customers have had. However, as you probably know, you can’t please everyone, so you may find some undesirable comments. Don’t sweat it if they aren’t as rosy as you’d like. You can manage your reputation by responding to reviews, the good and the bad.
How to Respond to Online Customer Reviews
Make a list of reviews that you’d like to respond to. Then check out this blog post where I explain how to post and respond to customer reviews on Google and Yelp.
Many thanks to J Wynia who designed the image at the beginning of my post.