Online Reviews — Does Your Reputation Matter?

Everyone likes to know what’s being said about them.

If you saw two people outside your store, glancing in at you, and clearly speaking about you, you’d want to know what was being said, right?

So would we!

Word of mouth is powerful, regardless of what name it goes under.

And in today’s world, word of mouth is exactly what getting online reviews means.

Some are good, some are bad. Some are balanced, some are fantasy. Some are designed to promote, others to criticize. Some to praise, others to vent.

They are as varied as people are varied, so call them what you will.

We call them an unmissable opportunity.

It is odd to digest this kind of information. Sure, we all know that a person’s reputation matters; that a business’s reputation matters.

We all understand the term word of mouth. People talk, people listen, people make decisions.

They make judgements.

But what does that really have to do with online reviews?

We can guess what you’re thinking.

People buy a product and review it later. The purchase is first. So why worry about it?

Well, we don’t want you to worry about it. We want you to relax and read, then hopefully do something about it, because reviews are absolutely critical to your business.

Let’s Review the Evidence

In a recent survey, covering thousands of ecommerce stores, a massive 94 percent of purchases were for products showing 4-5 star reviews.

Wow!

This amazing number has something to do with the fact that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

It seems that one amazing number leads to another!

73% of consumers trust a local business more if they read positive reviews about them.

There’s another one. See where this is going?

And to a degree that is pretty much stunning, consumers are now relying on online reviews to help them make decisions about which business they want to shop with.

Reviews don’t just matter, they have become a major brand asset.

In a survey covering one million reviews for 8.6 million purchases made on 6623 products, across multiple verticals and stores, some robust figures emerged for publication:

  • Products with an average rating of 5 stars made up 54% of the orders
  • Products with an average rating of 4 stars made up 40% of the orders
  • Products with an average rating of 4 stars get 11.6 times more orders than products with an average rating of 3 stars

Reaching for the Stars?

Still, there’s no need to stress yourself about all those 4 star reviews either. In fact, less than 4 star reviews, when mixed in with 4 and 5 star reviews, can actually boost your business as a whole.

How?

Consumers today are cynical. If they see a business with nothing but 5 star reviews, too good to be true thoughts start filling their heads. When 4 star reviews and 3 star reviews — or even lower scores —appear, they see the business as authentic and transparent.

Trust is everything and, hey, nobody’s perfect.

Consumers today not only understand this, they make trust decisions based on it.

The fact that people are talking about you online means a buzz is happening around your business. When people are talking about you, others pay attention. Brand awareness starts to happen.

So when you get reviews, you are news.

And being news is free publicity for your business.

If a Hollywood star has recently moved in next door to you, ask him the lengths to which he’ll go to ensure he gets plenty of news coverage whenever he honors the world by stepping into the street with mere mortals.

Actually, don’t. You probably wouldn’t get a honest answer.

People generally don’t like to talk about how much other people’s opinions mean to them or influence them. But most people act on other people’s opinions all the time.

Because they absorb them and make them their own.

That’s why extensive surveys by professionals, like those quoted above, can really surprise.

Success Breeds Success… and Sales

And guess what? The more great reviews you get, the more you’ll see turning up.

Huh?!

Ok — the consensus isn’t in on this one yet. There is a lot of research to suggest that people like writing positive reviews — and they feel good about joining in with a celebration for a product they also love.

Or it could just be that great products produce that anyway.

At the moment, though, things seem to be veering towards the first idea. Somebody loves a product or experience. They see rave reviews. They want to join the party. So they do.

The result? A snowballing effect of positive reviews for you.

Negative reviews are something else.

In most cases, negative reviews come from people who simply want to vent. Many people who write bad reviews have had not only a bad experience initially, they have also had a bad experience attempting to complain about it.

So they let off steam online.

If you are on the receiving end of a negative review, the way you deal with all that anger is up to you. If you feel the review is unjust, you could reply publically and vent right back at that person. Or get defensive and feel better, even though it will make you look very bad.

Or win more business.

How? Reply in a short, concise, and positive way, regardless of how angry/rambling the review is. Why? People will see your diplomatic/friendly response and feel safe about doing business with somebody like you.

You will appear professional and kind. The reviewer will look unreasonable in contrast.

Now consider this.

Most readers will think: “If I did business with that business owner, and there was some kind of problem, I know she/he would be really sweet and want to help sort it out. Cool.

So the cool head wins.

If you respond privately to a bad review, use the same approach. The chances are the reviewer will quickly lose the need to vent about your business — and possibly walk away feeling that maybe they overreacted a little.

Although they’ll probably never admit it!

Another way to make online reviews work for you is to take note of both the positive and the negative and look for patterns.

Yes, that works!

Companies in the past have responded to highly negative responses from the public and actually used all that consumer frustration to learn and make changes. Some have then gone on to create big campaigns round it.

You Talked, We Listened!

All that toxic negativity turned into a positive and a win, just like that.

Even if you don’t ever want to be in a position where such a campaign would be the best way to turn things back in your favor, you can still use any patterns to quietly make changes and solve the issues being brought up. Or to continue with something that proves popular.

Consumer response is a powerful tool.

So let’s take a look at some more amazing figures:

  • 68% of millennials trust online reviews
  • Reviews produce an average 18% sales increase
  • Reviews are nearly 12 times more trusted than manufacturer claims
  • Negative reviews can create a buzz that increases awareness and sales
  • Reviews contribute to 10% of the Google SERP rankings
  • 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion

You Think Time Is a Friend of Mine?

So maybe now you’re thinking:

How am I supposed to start finding these reviews, sifting through them, responding to some, and using positive reviews to promote my business? In WHAT WORLD am I not too busy to be doing all this stuff?!

First of all, we’d like to apologise for going to all this effort only to annoy you.

And we’d like to offer a solution.

Easily Respond to New Reviews and Control the Conversation

(Also, please note that our response to that angry, invented question above was a light-hearted example of how to respond to an angry review!)

Are you convinced? Do you want to give this article a good or a bad review? Then head straight onto one of our social media platforms and share your feelings!

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