When someone searches for a new restaurant, they often use reviews to determine if the restaurant is what they are looking for. Reviews can be word of mouth or simply names on the internet, but both play an important part in how your business is perceived.
93% of consumers read online reviews before buying a product. These reviews influence a potential customer’s decision to choose you over your competition. Inversely, negative reviews can turn potential customers away. Learning how to address the good and bad reviews is essential in creating a healthy online storefront.
How Reviews Help or Hurt Your Business
Reviews are an integral part of digital marketing and sales. To maintain a healthy sales pipeline, you need to understand how reviews help and hurt your business. From there, you can create a marketing game plan to attract new customers and convert existing ones to loyal followers.
There are three main ways reviews can help your business:
- Reviews help increase your SEO: Reviews make up roughly 10% of the criteria for how Google displays search results and gain more weight in local searches. They help increase SEO because reviews provide your business with fresh user-generated content, which helps indicate to Google (and other search engines) that your site is active.
- Reviews increase customer trust: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as highly as recommendations from people they know. Consumers are also willing to spend up to 31% more on a business with excellent reviews. Even negative reviews can help boost trust by showing a variety of feedback and that you have nothing to hide.
- Reviews provide instant feedback: A variety of reviews help provide insight on where your customer experience can be improved. It’s good practice to assess your reviews and determine if any patterns can indicate points of growth for your business.
While fresh content and business transparency are often positive aspects of your online presence, you should also be aware of the ways negative reviews can potentially hurt your business. Three ways negative reviews can hurt your business include:
- Bad Reviews hurt your SEO: The comments customers leave in their reviews can negatively impact your SEO rankings. Search engines will take note if customers comment that your website is misleading or doesn’t match the criteria they were looking for.
- No reviews decreases store awareness: 92% of consumers hesitate to purchase if a product has few or no reviews. If it doesn’t look like people are dining at your restaurant or purchasing your products, others may assume it is not a quality establishment.
- Bad reviews impact business: 94% of consumers say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business. 30% of consumers will leave a negative review following a subpar experience.
Reviews are often the first indicator to potential new customers on what experience they can expect from your business. With this level of impact, you must be monitoring and managing your reviews to harness this stream of content to help your business.
How to Manage Your Reviews
Most online customers read reviews and their responses when looking at a new business. This process is so common that Google confirmed that responding to reviews plays a role in a business’s SEO. Making it essential that you know how to manage your reviews.
The first thing to remember when responding to any review is to read and revisit. If you get negative feedback, it’s natural to want to defend your business. While you may have valid points to share, it’s best not to let your immediate reaction drive your response. The way you respond to reviews often says way more about your business than the review itself.
If you find one you disagree with, circle back to it in a few hours and see how you feel. If you need a day to respond that’s ok but prompt responses often help resolve conflict faster. Responding to negative reviews also provides an opportunity to show off your customer service skills. In your response, make sure to include the following:
- Address the reviewer by name
- Thank them for taking the time to leave a review
- Try to personalize your response with context from their individual experience.
- Apologize and empathize.
- Accept responsibility where it is due
- Take the conversation offline
- Offer actionable solutions
Once an issue is resolved, ask the customer if they would be willing to change their review. This process not only shows your customers you are paying attention to their needs but that you can provide a better experience.
Maintain Healthy Reviews
Not all reviews will need resolution. A lot of your reviews will be happy customers sharing their positive experiences. You should also be responding and engaging with these reviews. In your response to positive reviews, make sure to include the following:
- Thank the customer for their review
- Be personal with the response
- Encourage them to come back
If you feel like your website isn’t getting enough reviews, reach out to your customers. 70% of consumers will leave a review if asked, so make sure to engage with your customers and ask them to leave a review.
Managing reviews is critical for your online storefront, but it often takes time and attention to engage with and highlight reviews. To help keep your reviews afloat, Fisherman sources and displays positive reviews on your website automatically. We also provide the ability for customers to add reviews directly! Learn more about our services today.Get Started