Finding customers is the age-old challenge of growing a business. Having a great product or service isn’t enough to get customers knocking down your door — you have to help people find you. The work doesn’t end once you have a good flow of customers; retaining customers is a constant challenge.
Surprisingly, online reviews have emerged as a powerful tool for helping potential customers find your business. Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth, but these days the conversation has moved online. If you have no reviews, customers can’t find you. If you have bad reviews, that’s like someone standing outside your business, bad-mouthing you to everyone who walks by. They key is to have a steady stream of positive customer reviews.
If you think online reviews don’t matter, think again. Research shows that 85% of customers use the Internet to find local businesses. When they find your business in a search, it’s critical that online feedback paint a positive picture of your business because customers increasingly use reviews to decide where they’ll spend money. In fact, 92% of customers read online reviews of local businesses and 88% trust reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family.
How can online reviews grow your business?
If online reviews make you nervous, you’re not alone but you’re missing the hidden opportunity. Online reviews can be one of the most powerful tools to attract and retain customers, if you manage them correctly. Even a negative review can be turned into a positive opportunity. Consider these thoughts:
- They’re free customer feedback. Online reviews give you an inside peek into what’s working, and what’s not. If a customer makes a public complaint, it’s an opportunity for you to talk to the customer and make a correction.
- They’re an excuse to engage. Online reviews let you interact with customers directly. Whether a comment is negative or positive, an online review gives you a window of opportunity to converse with your customer in a somewhat public setting. This helps show the individual consumer, as well as potential customers, that you care about their input.
- They’re an opportunity for repeat business. Even 70% of complaining customers will give your business a second chance if you resolve their concerns. If someone posts a negative review, reach out and offer a reason to come back. It works.
Are you doing it right?
How can you start taking charge of online reviews? Here are three easy steps you can implement today to start making these public conversations work for you:
- Monitor review sites. When it comes to online reviews, don’t stick your head in the sand and hope all is well. Proactively monitor review sites to learn what your customers really think about your business and product.
- Talk to reviewers. If someone goes on and on about how much they love your business, give them a quick thank you. Your attention could turn them into long-term brand advocates, which is much more valuable than a run-of-the-mill advertisement. On the flip side, if someone goes on and on about how much they hate your business, find out why. This is your opportunity to make a correction and turn a negative experience into a positive one. Plus, recent research from Womply shows that businesses that regularly respond to their online business reviews earn up to 49% more revenue!
- Ask customers to review your business. When you ask customers for their feedback, you’re telling them that you value their opinion. This helps create a trusting, more loyal relationship between you and the customer.
Managing your online reputation is key to your company’s success. But, if you’re like most small business owners, your time and resources are already stretched thin. We get that, so we’ve made it simpler and easier.
Womply customers can use Womply’s reputation management software to read and respond to every online review, on multiple sites, from a single place. Read about how Womply saves LM Restaurants in North Carolina hours each day.
We also want to empower your best customers to share their thoughts on your business. With Womply, you can easily encourage happy customers to take the next step and post their positive feedback on popular sites like Yelp, Google, or TripAdvisor. Read about how Womply helps Mardo Cigars take control of online reviews.
What people say about you online can make or break your business. Womply can help you manage your company’s online reputation and save tons of time. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!