Do Customers Really Look at Online Reviews?

Do Customers Really Look at Online Reviews?

Your website might be a shrine to the great work that you have done for past and current customers. There may be a host of glowing testimonials from clients saying how great your product is, how fantastic the service is and how they would recommend your business to anyone. But what about when people are searching for unbiased reviews of your business on websites that don’t belong to you?

reputation management

According to a survey by Lightspeed Research, 61% of consumers have read a review online for a product or service. Reviews are the second most popular online research by clients behind price comparison. This could suggest that if price is similar between you and competitors, then the one thing that will sway a buying decision in your business’s favour are glowing testimonials on third party sites.

Of the vast number of consumers that search for reviews, 70% use search engines to find them. Think about the search terms that potential customers might be using to find reviews about your business:

  • Review of “business name”
  • Review of “product name”
  • “business name” review
  • “product name” review”

There are hundreds of sites online that provide a facility where past users can leave a review about your business, from well known directory sites such as YELL right the way through to niche specific websites that give consumers the power to air their feelings about your business. With the increasing number of these sites it can be increasingly difficult to monitor what is actually being said about your business.

Many businesses either don’t know that these review sites exist, or they know about them but do nothing to manage their online reputation, allowing negative reviews to damage their online presence. Between one and three bad reviews about your business will deter the majority (67%) of consumers from purchasing a particular product or service.

online reputation management

Two out of every three people who see a negative review about your business may in fact choose to find someone else to work with. That is a huge number. If you are concerned about conversion rates and cost per customer acquisition, and let’s be honest as a business owner who isn’t, then this could have a dramatic effect on both the number of leads your business gets and more importantly the number of conversions or new clients.

Not everybody is perfect.

At this point you may be thinking that you should hunt down all the negative reviews and look to get them removed from the internet. That in fact is the wrong thing to do, unless of course the review is simply defamatory. Take the opportunity to enhance your online reputation by responding to the reviews and offering to understand the customers concern in greater detail. This shows future prospective client that you care about the services you deliver and you want everyone to have a 5 star service. Getting all the negative reviews removed simply looks unnatural. Nobody is perfect and if prospective clients see twenty five star reviews and no negatives then they may start to think that some form of censorship is occurring.

What people say about your business is vitally important. Managing and monitoring what is being said about your business is one thing. Taking the time to dissect the reviews, both positive and negative, and making changes to the day to day operations and culture of the business can have a far greater effect on business growth.

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About James

James Debono is the co-founder of internet company Big Thinking Online that provide SEO consulting, web optimisation strategies and reputation marketing services that help business leverage the internet to find and retain key clients.
James is Welsh, but can't speak it. He like, licorice, rugby, technology and football!

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