Some business owners see online reviews as a necessary evil. While positive reviews help tell others about your business, the negative reviews can make business owners defensive and frustrated. After all, an online review only gives one side of the story. So what’s the best way to handle reviews?
The Importance of Online Reviews
You might think that reviews don’t matter, or are just people complaining about their experience. But they’re much more important than that. People trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends. Think of reviews as the online word of mouth about your business. 86% of all consumers read online reviews before making a purchase — and 9 out of 10 consumers read business responses to reviews.
If a consumer is on the fence about making a purchase or choosing a business, online reviews and business responses can be the make or break moment for them. Not only will you be able to build trust with customers and prospects, but it will help improve your presence online.
Online Reviews and Local SEO
When a person searches for a business using their mobile phone or a location-enabled device, Google knows that they’re looking for companies near them. That’s why you can search “ice cream shop” and you’ll see results for businesses in your immediate area. If you rely on walk-in traffic, building local SEO is vital to being seen.
In a search algorithm update, Google confirmed that reviews account for 15% of your local search ranking. That means that the number and quality of reviews you get directly impacts how highly you appear on search results page.
By publicly responding to reviews, you’re showing your customers that you’re listening — resulting in more reviews. This will help you to rank higher than the competition in search.
Online Reviews as Customer Service
It’s true that every business will get some negative reviews. Not every customer will have a perfect experience every time. Customers understand that, and they want to see that you’re doing what you can to make it right.
That’s why you should respond to every review. Solve issues where you can, be open to constructive feedback, and thank customers for sharing their thoughts. Never sound combative or overly defensive of a review, and never argue with a customer over review responses. Prospective customers reading your responses will not want to do business with an owner that’s argumentative or blames their customers.
In addition, look at criticism in reviews as an opportunity. If you’re hearing the same concerns over and over, it could be time to take action or reevaluate your process.
Online reviews provide customers with a way to offer feedback while helping other prospective customers make decisions. By replying to online reviews, you’ll gather helpful information about your business while helping your business rank higher online.
Sync Your Online Reviews in Omni
Our merchants want to access all their business tools in one place. That’s why we’ve added Online Reviews into our powerful Omni dashboard. Now, all Fattmerchant customers can read and respond to their online reviews right inside the same platform they use to take payments, track inventory, access analytics, and more. You can even edit past responses to reviews!
Customers can log into Omni and set up their Google reviews in just a matter of minutes. All you need is to be an admin of your Google My Business Account. Not a customer? Learn more about all that Omni can do for you.