Sometimes they can feel like a pain—and sometimes they can make you cry tears of joy; it’s always a roller coaster when it comes to reading online reviews of your business. Written by people who have experienced the very thing you have worked long and hard to bring into the world, it can feel like a very personal thing to listen to the testimonies of people who you have tried to benefit.
When they’re positive reviews, you can feel like you’re walking on sunshine; when they’re negative reviews, you might be tempted to jump into the comments section. However, you should consider taking a step back. Online reviews — if you can see them in this light — can be one of the most important tools you have to grow your business.
Reviews: Do They Matter For a Business?
Think of it this way: An online review is kind of like the modern, anonymous word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth is the original marketing strategy, and still one of the ways that people most trust to find information about businesses—which is why working hard to get good reviews is one of the most reliable ways that you can ensure your business will be supporting you for a very long time.
However, how can you get good reviews? How, specifically, do they help you and your business?
Here’s a quick handful of reasons why reviews are a good thing—and why they’re important to work towards:
When people are thinking about making a purchase or signing up for a service, the very first thing they usually do is search for reviews from previous clients or customers. Because the marketplace is so huge, not many people can rely on having someone in their immediate circle of friends who will know what they’re talking about—so they go online. You’ve likely done this as well! If you can find someone else who has had a good experience with the product or service you’re about to sample, your confidence in your imminent purchase likely goes through the roof. Customer reviews provide this same trust to people over the entire internet—making a great customer review one of the best ways to market your business imaginable. And, if that weren’t enough—a great customer review is free, often requiring nothing more than your standard fantastic service.
If you have good online reviews, more people will flock to your business. Those stars and those verified purchases mean a lot! Wouldn’t you rather buy from a business which has a documented history of customer satisfaction? Having a storied list of customers raving about your services will show people that you have that—and it can drive your business sky-high. When you’re working with a client and they’re gushing about your work, definitely ask them if they’d feel comfortable leaving an online review. It can feel weird to be so forward about this, but it’s definitely standard practice and will really help with your search engine optimization and rankings. Think of it this way: If one person likes your service, they’d definitely tell their friends about it in person. This is just a way to make sure that that review reaches hundreds of people, instead of three!
Online reviews can help crystallize exactly what it is that you offer. This is beneficial in two ways: firstly, it can help you optimize the copy on your site and in your business profiles to make it very clear what you do, just in case there’s any confusion. Secondly, it can help other users who are reading those reviews get a good idea of what they’re in for when they visit your establishment—which can really help with frustration or confusion once they’re on site! Since your ultimate goal should be to avoid disappointing or frustrating customers. online reviews are a fantastic way to ensure that that doesn’t happen. It’s your past customers providing customer service for your current customers—for free!
Having a large amount of customer reviews out there will do incredible things for your search engine optimization, or SEO. The more that people are talking on the web about you, the more instances that the search engine website crawlers will come across keywords related to you and your site—which will algorithmically help you go higher in search engine result pages, which will only increase your chances of becoming the go-to when people search for what you do. It’s a self-fulfilling, self-perpetuating cycle—and it all starts with a large amount of great customer service reviews. Whether you’re just starting out a business or whether you’ve been established for a while, working to get great reviews will always help your brand succeed.
Lastly, customer reviews do one thing for your brand that you could never do yourself: they encourage and create a strong sense of brand loyalty. When you have customers singing your praises online, it does something on a neurological for themselves and for anyone reading their reviews. The more something is praised, the more people are going to want to follow it—so, if your brand is frequently complimented and praised online, more people are going to want to choose your brand and stick to it. Getting and working towards great online reviews, and a lot of them, is one of the easiest ways to encourage an online presence that manifests itself in fantastic brand loyalty in today’s day and age.
Because reviews are so important, you should definitely encourage those customers who enjoy your services to complete them! Offering discounts, rebates, and prizes at links accessible on your home page can help incentivize this—or, sometimes the simplest way is the best: when someone tells you that they like what you do, just ask them to log in to their favorite social media website and leave you a good review. This simple act on their part can go further than the most generous bonus or tip—and now, you know exactly why.