It's time for

By: Julie Wild, Graphic Designer / geek & creative @ wisnet

Yes. The answer is yes, they are very important.

Here are some quick statistics from Invesp (2017-2018).
– 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
– 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
– 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
– 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews.

Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools. And in this digital age, online reviews are the equivalent of stepping up to the podium and making an announcement for all to hear. And where there is someone speaking out you can bet there are people listening. That’s why it’s important for you to gain as many honest positive reviews as you can, as well as addressing any negative reviews that may come in.

Online reviews lead to increased sales.

The quality and quantity of reviews is one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO when searching on Google. When a person scans Google’s search results for a local product or service, the business listings that include customer reviews offer greater credibility and, naturally, receive more clicks.

Reviews create brand loyalty.

A person who takes the time to leave a positive review is more likely to come back for more business. They are also more likely to share their opinions on social media.

How do I get positive reviews?

One method for getting reviews would be to add the request to any correspondence that you have with your customers, especially right after they have made a purchase.

Another method is to ask your customer outright for a review. But the timing is important here. The best time to ask your customer for a review is after they have offered unsolicited praise. At that time, express your appreciation and ask if they would consider writing something online. Let them know how much that would mean to you and your business if they would share their positive feedback.

Where should my customers leave their reviews?

Google is a great place to leave reviews but it doesn’t matter which website is used by your customer. Reviews at Yelp, Trip Advisor, Amazon, Facebook, Yellowpages, Angie’s List, and others will be utilized by Google’s algorithms. Stars are displayed by search result listings to show review averages.

What can I do if I receive a negative review?

As mentioned in the stats at the beginning of this article, many people hesitate to purchase from a business that has a negative review. But there are ways to smooth over the jagged edges a negative review can leave behind.

1. Respond promptly. Be personable and genuine — write like a person, not a corporation.
2. Be honest and admit your mistakes, but at the same time correct any inaccuracies.
3. Offer restitution if it’s warranted, but take it offline when you delve into the details.
4. Highlight your strengths and offer your understanding.
5. Be consistent. Make sure you are checking your reviews often. A negative review without a proper response will leave readers wondering if you actually care about your customers.

What can you learn?

You can learn a lot from the reviews you receive. They can provide a clearer picture of what your customers expect from you and the products you provide. They can provide keys to creating better products and offering new services that your customers want to purchase.