Remember when you used to ask people you know for references when you were looking for a new plumber, hairdresser, or dog groomer? Some of us still do that, but if you’re like most people, you also look online.
Customer reviews on search engines help us make all kinds of decisions these days – from which book to read next to which car we should buy. It’s also the new word of mouth for local service businesses.
If you’re not already harnessing the power of reviews for your local business, it’s time you started. Here’s what you need to know.
Actually, everyone’s customers read them. According to studies, 87% of consumers read local business reviews when they are deciding who to contact. That doesn’t mean they won’t contact you if you don’t have online reviews or have a few bad ones, but it does put you at a disadvantage against companies that have great reviews.
Research also shows that 72% of consumers in the US have written at least one online review for a company – and those figures are similar in many developed countries. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve left a review yourself!
According to a study by Harvard Business, a one-star increase on Yelp can increase a business’s sales by 5 to 9%. Moreover, if a business has more than nine current reviews, they earn 52% more revenue than the average. If a business has more than 25 current reviews, that increases to 108%.
Those are some very big percentages, particularly when you’re a small, local business – and it doesn’t even take that much to make those changes.
Many local businesses are scared to open themselves up to online reviews because they are afraid that one bad review will be detrimental. However, most people expect a business to have at least 40 online reviews before they will believe the average review. So, if you have one bad review, it won’t necessarily affect your business badly.
In fact, 73% of customers discount star ratings and focus on the written review. So, a blank one-star review might not affect their buying decisions at all.
Everyone has a bad day, and sometimes, customers who leave bad reviews have a genuine reason to be upset. However, it’s important to remember that the review process is not one-sided. You can respond to customer reviews and might be able to get another chance to make things right. Or, if you know their version of the story is not accurate, you can share the other side in a polite and professional way.
Research shows that companies who respond to reviews also earn 4% more revenue than companies that don’t.
The truth is, if you run an outstanding local business, offer quality service, and put your customers first, you should get positive reviews, and those reviews can help your business.
So, start asking your customers to share their experience in an online review and boost your online profile and your bottom line.
If you're looking for an easy and effective way to request more customer reviews, check out our website or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or filling the form below.
To learn more about how Fuzey has helped local businesses thrive through reviews, check out this customer story.