Why Should You Pay Attention to Online Reviews?

Dear M & M:

I keep hearing about online reviews. Why should I pay attention to them?

– Gene

Dear Gene:

Toss out the window the misconceptions people have about online reviews. Some of the common myths holding back businesses from engaging and taking advantage of online reviews include; only people with an axe to grind write reviews, nobody reads them anyway, nobody believes them, people shop and make purchasing decision solely based on price comparisons and I don’t have time to ask for, organize or manage what other people think or say online about my company.

When it comes to building consumer trust and growing your brand online reviews are extremely valuable.  According to a recent Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report of more than 28,000 customers across 56 countries 70% trusted online reviews above all other forms of advertising and 72% of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. Busting the myth nobody believes in online reviews.

According to the survey online reviews are second to only recommendations from family and friends. In comparison, only 50% trusted emails, 47% trusted ads on TV. Online review communities like Trip Adviser, Yelp and Angie’s List are becoming more powerful. As these communities grow trust in them has increased by 15% since 2009. Businesses can no longer ignore this.

According to the survey 82% of consumers consider user-generated reviews extremely valuable. 90% of consumers say their buying decisions were influenced by positive reviews once again this busts the myth no one reads them. Buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.

If 72% of all online reviews are positive this totally busts the myth that only people with an axe to grind write reviews.  All it takes is a little nudge to get your customers that have a positive experience to go online and write a good review.  Make is easy for them. In some store you are starting to see iPads at the register or on the tables.

Simply by asking your happy customers to post a review and making it easy for them to do so is the first step in generating positive feedback. On the other side of the fence, 95% of unsatisfied customers will return if their issue was resolved quickly.  So asking at the time of the sale if everything was OK and would they like to post an online review you will be able to confront any problem and be able to resolve the problem immediately.

None of us are perfect everyone knows that things can go wrong sometime. The key is to be able to correct mistakes so people know you care. It is important to improve and how would you know what to improve if you don’t ask or know what the customer thinks? Remember just as 90% of the consumers asked in this report by Neilson said their buying decisions were made because of a positive review, 86% said they were influenced by a negative review and chose not to buy.

-M&M

To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation (EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email  hollism@svedf.org.

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