Customer reviews are playing an increasingly important role on the success of a business. These days everyone has an opinion – whether it’s on the plumber that fixed their leaky boiler or the sandwich shop they get their lunch from – and they want to share with people in a similar situation, to help them make a well-informed purchase decision.
It’s no surprise then that online reviews are one of the most effective word-of-mouth marketing and reputation-building tools for small businesses. Reviews have the potential to boost sales and also help you identify the areas for improvement. If you’re wondering if you’re making the most of online reviews, take a look at these top tips.
Claim your page
People are talking about your business online, whether or not you choose to acknowledge it.
The only way to ensure potential customers have the correct information and know all the best things your business offers is to create a profile.
You’d be surprised how many businesses have entries on review websites, but haven’t taken the time to do simple things like add their address or put up a picture. At Yelp we did some research and found that people searching on Yelp spent two and a half times longer on a business page that had photos compared to those without.
When you consider that the people searching online for a restaurant are likely to be people looking to book a table or walk through the door, it’s important to give them all the information they need to choose you over a competitor. Put your phone number on your profile, add descriptions and tell the story of how the business was set up. Think of it as an extension of your website; it’s a great way to shout about what you’re good at and encourage people to pay you a visit.
It’s not very often that someone will take the time to write about your business. When they do, you need to thank them at the very least. Everyone likes to know that there’s a real person behind a business, not some faceless company. Taking the time to show your appreciation is a great way to do this and also helps to build a rapport.
When responding to customers, try to resist the urge to use the opportunity to upsell or plug other products, as it may annoy customers. With some review websites, such as Yelp, you can respond to customers privately – a great tool for answering specific questions or queries.
Every business owner knows that listening to customers is important, but customers expect you to take action in response to their comments. If they’re telling you something is good, do more of it. If something is upsetting customers, address it.
There may be times when you don’t agree with a customer’s review, but giving the impression that their comments have fallen on deaf ears will only lose you favour.
Take advantage of positive reviews
Positive reviews are marketing gold dust. If someone, without being prompted, has decided to sing the praises of your business, you need to share it. Include links to reviews on your website, add quotes to your sales materials, write it up on boards in your premises. Customers are always looking for proof points to reassure them about a business they’ve never tried before. Endorsement from like-minded customers will help build trust in your business.