By Whitney Lemon
More than ever, shoppers start their purchase process online. From big ticket items like automobiles to inexpensive items like shampoo, most people research online before buying. Customer reviews are one important way for shoppers to learn more about your business, products and services before they buy.
Reviews inspire trust and credibility. A June 2013 BrightLocal studythat focused on local consumer reviews found 70% of respondents said positive customer reviews make them trust a business more. More than 60% said that positive reviews make them more likely to use a local business. Here are some tips to get you started.
Quantity is important, but so is quality. There isn’t a rule of thumb about the quantity of reviews, but reviews can help build credibility for your business. Research shows that as more people describe their positive experiences with your products, services, and company, shoppers develop greater trust and comfort doing business with you. First impressions count because many people scan the first two or three reviews to form an opinion.
Respond to reviews
Business owners should monitor what people write about their company online, especially in the first set of visible reviews. Inevitably, every product, service, and brand experiences positive and negative feedback. If you find a negative comment or review, address it promptly.
Some websites allow you to publicly respond or send messages to reviewers. You might be able to work with an unhappy reviewer to resolve the issue and request a retraction. You can also ask happy customers to write new positive reviews, so a shopper’s first impression of your business isn’t a negative review.
Encourage customer reviews
To get reviews for your business, encourage customers to write about their experiences. Include the option for website visitors to publish reviews on your own website. If you receive positive comments via email or print mail, you can publish them as testimonials on your site. You can also provide links to third party review websites or social media sites.
Here are some additional tips for acquiring reviews for your business.
- Start by asking people to write reviews. Remind customers that you value their feedback and encourage them to review your business online.
- If you receive positive comments via email or print mail, publish them as testimonials on your website.
- Interact with customers online. These interactions can improve your relationship with the individual customer, as well as show prospects what kind of customer service they can expect from you. Social media websites are a great option to engage your customers.
- Make it easy for people to publish reviews directly on your website or provide links to third party review sites.
- Monitor what people are saying about your business online. Respond to all reviews, positive and negative. Thank people for kind reviews, and try to work with dissatisfied customers. They might amend or retract a negative review.
On behalf of the entire Get Your Business Online team, I wish you great success growing your business.
Whitney Lemon – Friday 15 Host, Google Small Business Engagement
Whitney hosts Friday 15: Small Business Tips, Google’s series to help small businesses succeed online, in 15 minutes or less. Friday 15 is part of Google’s Get Your Business Online program providing small businesses with a custom domain name and web hosting– free for one year.