Customer Reviews Really Do Affect Small Businesses

If you're a small local business, you need to pay attention to your online reviews and how you conduct your social media marketing.

Whether you want to serve your immediate block or the entire town, online reviews will affect your business both locally and globally. With word of mouth declining as mobile means of communication are on the rise, consumers are looking to online reviews to determine where and how they'll spend their money, even in the most rural of environments.

Here are three ways online reviews can impact your business – whether you want them to or not.

Online reviews are MORE POWERFUL than word-of-mouth

The mega-majority of consumers trust online reviews implicitly for all purchases. In a recent study, 88% of consumers stated that they trust the reviews of complete strangers over the opinions of friends and family. Beyond that, 68% of people in that same study state that they turn to online reviews first for any major purchases or exploring new businesses – local businesses included.

Customers are MORE LIKELY to share a bad experience

In business school, it was called the rule of 10: For every ten positive customer service experiences, you could expect one customer to share their positive experience. For every one negative customer service experience, you could expect that customer to tell ten others. Online reviews have taken that model and multiplied it by another ten. The ease and anonymity that comes with online reviews makes customers much more likely to share negative experiences than positive. You must be hyperaware of customer experiences and reviews. That being said...

Negative reviews CAN BE positive

Hear us out: A customer posts a scathing review online about your business. Left unattended, others who read that review will leave with an impression of your business that is less than positive. However, if your take the moment to address the review, offer a public solution, and display outstanding customer service, you not only can salvage the relationship with the reviewer, but also earn the trust and confidence in the reader that your company will go above and beyond to make things right. This can lead to better sales and a healthier relationship.

Small local businesses are not immune to the slings and arrows of online reviews. Taking care, cultivating, and responding to reviews is a critical part of your business, regardless of size. In our next article, we'll discuss the strategies you can employ to turn every single online review into revenue.

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