When running a business in this high-tech age, few things can be as important as maintaining an effective online profile. The internet has the potential to be an invaluable tool to any company by enabling you to garner attention, gain new business and better connect with your current customer base. Of course, there are obviously potential downsides since it can sometimes take nothing more than a few bad online reviews to send a once promising enterprise into a tailspin. Therefore, it is essential that all businesses understand the huge importance that online reviews play in consumer buying decisions and how to efficiently make the most of this powerful tool.
Understanding the Importance of Online Reviews
The truth is that online reviews can truly make or break a business. Statistics show that an astonishing 90 percent of people now read reviews online before visiting a business, which could mean you’re left trying to attract that remaining 10 percent of people still stuck in the Stone Age if you don’t do what you can to ensure your business gets good reviews.
Of course, there are still plenty of successful businesses that mostly get by on word of mouth. The problem is that even this once-powerful tool has begun to diminish in importance in recent years, and the reason once again has to do with online reviews. While not everyone believes everything they read on the internet, research still shows that approximately 84 percent of consumers now trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend.
Monitor Your Online Reviews, Maximize Your Business’ Potential
The fact that the vast majority of customers now place such great stock in online reviews means you’re definitely missing out if you’re not paying attention. Regularly checking your reviews can be a powerful tool, and one that even allows you to improve your overall level of customer service. While most people don’t enjoy facing criticism, even negative reviews can potentially have a benefit if taken constructively and used as a learning experience.
Similarly, responding to any negative reviews enables you to show your current and potential customer base that you take them seriously and that you actually care. At the same time, keeping a close eye on your online presence can also make it easier to spot fraudulent or unfair reviews, which is an unfortunate problems that’s becoming all-the-more common.
There are also many different ways that you can potentially encourage your customers to leave positive reviews. Considering the potential that positive online reviews have on the ability of your business to grow and flourish, it is really no wonder the lengths that some companies will now go to generate good reviews. On the other hand, the huge impact that these reviews have on customers means the last thing you can afford to do is ignore them altogether.