Online Customer Reviews | 4 mins read

Why Online Customer Reviews Can Make or Break a Business

why online customer reviews can make or break a business
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By Mary Kate Morrow

Online customer reviews can severely increase or decrease your bottom line profitability and business reputation.

Introduction

94% of online shoppers report that negative online customer reviews cause them to avoid visiting a business.

The Importance of Online Customer Reviews

An online customer will often research customer reviews before making any online purchase. In fact, 90% of shoppers read at least one online review before going to a business storefront.

Technology has increased the number of online customer reviews as opposed to the past when a local business only had their in person customer experience to consider. As a result, even small local businesses need to manage their online reputation and monitor online customer reviews consistently.

Online customer reviews can-

1. Increase purchases- Social proof impacts sales decisions, even if the majority of customer reviews are from complete strangers. A five star rating on a product can be the deciding factor for an online customer to make a purchase they were not sure about.

Customer feedback creates social proof that customer reviews increase buying and decrease the need for alternative marketing. Negative reviews also affect social proof by decreasing the likelihood of an online customer making a purchase.

2. Heighten visibility- Customers read through blogs, scroll social media platforms, and use search engine capabilities when making buying decisions. The higher your search engine rating the more likely a customer is to visit your site and potentially purchase your product or service.

3. Foster trust- Business reviews can ease the mind of an online customer who is unfamiliar with your business. Case studies report that an average customer review that is above a four star rating will more likely result in sales and site traffic.

The more product reviews that your product receives, the more traffic your page will likely get. However, it is important that your customers leave reviews that are positive, as there is a small margin of error for the star rating that online customers will engage with.

Customers leave sites that have too many negative reviews or a low star rating consistently. Reputation management should focus on getting positive reviews that foster trust online for your business. Remember, an online customer may be hesitant to trust products that lack reviews altogether because of social proof.

4. Expand reach- Whether your customers leave reviews that are negative or positive, your brand reach increases with each new customer review. Encourage customers to leave online reviews and give customer feedback directly to your company on where you can improve.

Positive reviews are more likely to be spread among online social media networks and business review sites like Yelp or FourSquare. Negative reviews can cause a lot of damage if they are not promptly addressed with an effective reputation management program.

5. Raise revenue- Case studies show that online customer reviews lead to increased revenue. In fact, just a one star rating improvement on Yelp can boost sales by 5-9% in the short term.

6. Create conversation- Online reviews are a great place for a local business to engage with its customers. Negative reviews should be promptly addressed and businesses should make all attempts to make up for customer experience issues.

Make sure to engage with positive reviews as well to show your loyal customers that you care about what consumers say about you. Customer service should always incorporate replying to online customer reviews.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Getting Online Customer Reviews

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Reviews online have the possibility of helping or hurting your business. Positive reviews can elevate consumer confidence and motivate more sales. With 84% of customers trusting in online reviews as much as personal recommendations, business reviews can exist as a free marketing tool. Customer bases are expanded and customers are retained more frequently by a business with positive reviews.

Customers will spend 31% more on a product or service that boasts good reviews. Business reviews also provide an opportunity to understand where there is room for improvement whether in a customer service department or local business customer experience. You can optimize the customer experience by providing opportunities for customer feedback and read reviews that customers leave on your site.

Drawbacks of online customer reviews range from false reviews to decreased sales. A disgruntled employee or competitor can easily leave a fake review to bring down your star ratings online. Whether this is done with the intent to decrease your search engine ratings or to tank your online reputation it is important to report reviews that seem ingenuine.

Case studies reveal that customers are more likely to post about a negative customer experience than a positive one. Additionally, an online customer will likely engage with negative reviews more often when searching for a product or service.

Keep reviews up to date as part of your reputation management technique. Outdated reviews can communicate to an online customer that your company has not made improvements or is no longer in business.

Unfortunately, you cannot make every customer happy, regardless of how great your product or service is. With a couple of bad reviews proving to be enough to dissuade more than 50% of potential customers, it is essential to create an online reputation management system that focuses on generating positive customer reviews.