If you’re not incorporating online reviews into your daily business practices then you are going to fall behind your competition very rapidly.
Online reviews are extremely important, but if you’re not already convinced of their power to drive customers to your business, then here are the 3 most important stats that will prove you need online reviews.
95% of people read online reviews before making a purchase
If you’re like most people then you’ve probably read an online review before hiring a tradesman that you’ve never used before.
Or maybe you read some reviews before visiting a new restaurant, or buying a t-shirt from an online store you’ve never used before.
The fact is that 95% (basically everyone) uses online reviews to guide their purchasing decisions
It’s such an important influencing factor that there are businesses who’s sole purpose is to allow people to leave reviews on businesses they use.
Most interesting though, is the the majority of people trust online reviews just as much as they would trust a recommendation from a friend or family member.
Increased star ratings = increased revenue
A study by Harvard Business School found that increasing your average star rating by 1 star would cause an increase in revenue of up to 9%.
So if you don’t have any star ratings and then you put in a bunch of work and bring your average up to 4 stars, then you could be looking at a potential increase in revenue of up to 36%.
When you think about it, it’s not that hard to understand why this would happen.
When you have no reviews, or a poor average review rating, customers are going to feel less confident in using your services.
When they see a high star rating they’ll feel more confident in handing over their hard earned cash for whatever product or service you’re offering, and you’ll tend to capture more customers.
Consumers require an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business star rating is accurate
Ok so if you’ve currently got zero reviews, you might be thinking “great I can just go and leave myself a 5 star rating and shortcut my way to a 45% revenue increase”.
Sorry to burst your bubble but that won’t work.
Customers are way to savvy these days and even getting your friends and family to all leave reviews still probably won’t be enough to cut it.
You need quality reviews, but you also need quantity of reviews.
When a business has a 5 star average rating, but less than 10 total reviews, everyone knows that it’s most likely the staff, and their family and friends who’ve been asked to leave reviews for the business.
And unfortunately it just doesn’t cut it.
In fact these days people are so aware of the potential for fake reviews that they often don’t believe the review scores at all until there are at least 40 reviews which have been posted for that business.
People know that faking 40 or more reviews online would be pretty difficult to pull off, and so they’re likely to disregard all of the reviews until it reaches a more significant number.
How to get started with online reviews
Some people find it hard to believe they could ever collect that many reviews.
But to be honest the fastest way to get online reviews rolling in for your business is to simply ask every single one of your customers to leave a review for you.
The sooner you start asking everyone for reviews, the quicker you’ll start to build those numbers up and then you can start enjoying the revenue increases that come along with it.
That might seem daunting, or maybe even a bit awkward but here are some simple ways you can tackle it without too much effort or anxiety.
1. Automate the process
Some people feel a bit awkward asking customers for reviews, and that’s ok.
It can feel a bit weird to put someone on the spot and ask them directly to leave a review for your business.
So why not setup an automatic process so you don’t have to do it at all!
If you’re using some kind of a CRM to manage customer details, then it’s highly likely it will also have the ability to send out automated emails or SMS to customers without you having to life a finger!
When that’s setup, you can have your system fire off an email every time a customer completes a transaction with your business.
2. Ask all your customers for reviews
Statistically you’ll find that about 10% of people you ask will actually go to the effort of leaving a review.
So it’s a simple numbers game and the sooner you start asking absolutely everyone for a review, the sooner they’ll start rolling in.
3. Don’t panic if you get a bad review
It’s going to happen. Don’t worry about it.
In fact, a small number of bad reviews can actually add value to your business!
But ultimately the best defense is a good offence when it comes to reviews for your business.
What I mean is that the best way to combat getting the occasional bad review is to make sure you’re piling on lots of good reviews on a regular basis.
If you’re running a good quality business (which I’m sure you are) then the majority of your customers will be happy, which means the majority of your reviews will be positive ones.
The key is to be proactive so that when the occasional negative review comes along, it won’t damage your overall average because you’ve been actively seeking positive reviews for a while already.
It can seem like a daunting tasks to get started with online reviews, especially if you’ve got some competitors who have been at it for a while.
But the quickest way to deal with that is to get started collecting your own reviews right away!