What do the customer reviews say?
Updated: Feb 13
If you’re like us, that’s the first question you ask yourself before you arrange absolutely anything! Bars, restaurants, plumbers, dentists, funeral directors – they all get reviewed on one site or another.
Of course, we read what a company is saying about itself – but it will undoubtedly be the ‘best curry in the country’, ‘kindest dentist this side of the drill’, or ‘voted best customer service 1989’. They’re going to sing their own praises (as we have to) so it’s down to us, as a consumer, to take that with a giant pinch of salt and look for the reality elsewhere!
The new 'Word of Mouth'
We often make decisions based on ‘word of mouth’, which is one of the best forms of marketing and publicity you can get – good and bad! We listen to what our friends recommend and pretty much go with it…
And word of mouth continues to have its place in our decision making. However, recent surveys show that we now also trust complete strangers to help us to choose where to spend our hard-earned cash! 85% of us now trust customer online reviews as much as our friends** - who’d have thought!?
Reviews are everywhere!
And you can’t really miss them, they’re everywhere… The minute we Google somewhere, it pops up with its yellow stars taking pride of place on your screen - whether there’s 1 star or 5 – there they are, shouting ‘love me’ or ‘leave me’ in plain sight!
In 2018, a survey by ReviewTrackers showed that 63.6% of consumers checked Google Reviews before visiting a business – that’s more than any other review site. You then have the other key players like Facebook, TripAdvisor and Trustpilot amongst many other industry-specific ones… as a business, there really is nowhere to hide!
Be a great responder
Your business reputation can stand or fall as a result of these reviews, (and comments on social media) so you should take every opportunity to learn from them, and most importantly respond to them. We all hate being ignored – it’s so frustrating to write a review, only to hear nothing back – it’s as if they really don’t care, as if we’re irrelevant! Yet the fact is, as businesses, we are nothing without the support of our customers – they are the reason our businesses still exist, they pay our bills…
Despite that being the case, another survey showed that 63% of consumers never heard back from a business after leaving a review*… please don’t be one of those businesses!
Thank those who compliment, and even more importantly - engage with those who aren’t so happy so you can understand why they left you a negative review (45% of consumers say they are more likely to choose a business that responds to negative reviews*) – all of these comments are a valuable tool to help build an awareness of your business that you can’t always see from the inside…
Your reputation is fragile...treat it with care
We know that 66% of consumers trust reviews 12x more than actual brand content*** – so your website may look great and your product could be amazing, but if a potential customer finds comments about your brand like “terrible customer service”, “rude staff”, “didn’t receive any response”, then you will have a problem!
As invested parties, the best thing we can all do is face it and deal with it - quickly.
Listen and Learn
Use customer feedback to act today and predict tomorrow...
We all need to understand that these ‘online ‘word of mouths’ are a massively important way to build new custom and maintain our strong business and reputation.
Once you keep an eye on all your reviews you may start to see patterns forming – what’s good, what’s bad, what’s missing. These can help you understand where to put your focus and make informed company decisions – let your customers help you stay successful - they are far too important to be ignored.
Acknowledge them, engage with them and listen to what they’re telling you – it could pay dividends!!
If you ignore the importance of your online reputation and don’t spend the time needed managing your reviews and comments, consumers won’t trust you, won’t use your brand and your income could drop as they take their custom to your competitor.
*** Martech Zone, **BrightLocal & *ReviewTrackers