Gone are the days when online reviews were meant for restaurants and products. Today, online reviews have a major impact on all kinds of services and businesses. This includes boutiques, real estate, loan lenders, automotive shops, physicians and most importantly PLUMBERS. Almost every niche is influenced by online reviews. So, why are online reviews hyped? Should your business be concerned? The answer to this questions is an absolute “Yes”. Businesses must never underestimate the importance of online reviews. Both positive and negative reviews can affect your business.

I got my start in digital marketing while I was working my way through college at The Home Depot during a time when the market was slow. My job was to help our contractors every morning and as time passed I developed strong relationships with a few of them, a few are still clients today. As I was loading up one of my regulars one day we got to discussing his marketing and what he said changed my career path forever “You know, twenty years ago you had a business card, did decent work, and you spent money in the yellow pages. Now you young kids with your damn websites are making it hard for us old guys to keep up”.

For centuries, “Word of Mouth” was considered as a powerful form of advertising. Even today, the internet has built several layers upon “Word of Mouth” advertising. Let’s start with an example:

Let’s take a look at you, your plumbing company, and your customer Mr. Joe. His water heater went out and now his wife and four daughters can’t take a hot shower and his household is in disarray. Mr. Joe calls you at 9:30 PM on a Friday, you go out and replace his water heater bringing it up to code in the process, but more importantly you’ve brought peace to his household by solving his plumbing problem. Congratulations! You’ve saved the day and likely turned Mr. Joe into a customer for life. Now that you’ve become Mr. Joe’s plumber he wishes to refer a friend to your company – this is definitely great. (This is when online reviews come into the picture.) Joe’s friend may look for online reviews before contacting you. He will scan through your website, social media sites, and reviews. Your profile will be compared to other plumbers in the area. Mr. Joe’s recommendation and promising online reviews will greatly increase your chances of being hired by his friend too!

#1 Reviews Build Trust

Online reviews can affect your business in many ways. They really matter. To begin with, 70% of online users trust on opinions and reviews. They believe that testimonies and reviews on the internet are always accurate and honest. You may laugh at this statement. But, this is how reality works. The virtual world is filled with opinions. Take “Yelp” for example, every potential client I come across knows about “Yelp” and typically they haven’t had a great experience, yet “Yelp” is one of the world’s most renowned and popular sites for online reviews. People keep sharing and reading opinions from this site. If your business has good reviews on Yelp, you have high chances of attracting new customers.

Let’s take a look at another example:

You’re shopping on Amazon for a new pair of sunglasses, you search through different brands and styles within your budget and narrow your choices down to 3. Instinctively, what do you look at next? THE REVIEWS! Is this pair durable? What about the clarity of the lenses? Now, let’s say you’ve narrowed it down to two options. Option A has 3 total reviews and a 5 star rating. Option B has 110 reviews and a 4.9 star rating. Which one are you more likely to buy? If you’re like 91% of Amazon’s customers it’s Option B.

#2 Personal Recommendations

More than 90% of customers depend on online reviews like personal recommendations. Yes, you read it right! A vast population blindly trusts reviews from strangers. Even if the online review is posted by an anonymous user, they trust the information disclosed. They don’t think twice or even wonder if the details are genuine. Online reviews are essential. But, you should inquire if the reviews are thoughtful.

#3 The Negative Stories

More customers share their negative experiences than the good ones. If you have had a bad experience with a brand, the best way to release frustration is by posting an online review. It is always good to tell and guide others. Businesses must keep an eye on such reviews. Business owners would never want customers to share negative experiences. This is why every firm needs an online review strategy. A bunch of bad reviews is likely to happen at some time. But, the bad reviews should be surrounded by the positive ones.

#4 The Smart Conversion

When there are bad reviews, you can always convert them into good ones. Potential buyers are bound to trust online reviews. If there are negative reviews, it can bring down your business. Reviews work by influencing the mindset of customers. Luckily, customers will not keep a black mark on your business forever. You can always change the impression by offering better services or making an effort to reverse the situation. You can do this by offering an apology or a goodwill gesture. By letting customers know that you care, the negative reviews will turn into positive ones. The moment a business starts responding, reviewers are likely to change the negative reviews. The magic in prompt customer service is truly amazing. It can turn all negative experiences into a positive one.

#5 New Customers

According to a recent study, 75% of customers depend on businesses with positive reviews. Doesn’t this sound like common sense? When negative reviews turn customers away; positive reviews can attract new clients. By reading thousands of positive reviews on your services and products, customers will be inclined to work with you! This means you will always get new customers by working on strategies that can increase the count of your positive reviews.

The Ultimate Bottom Line

It is quite evident that online reviews are essential. Customers say good and bad things about the products and services offered by companies. Or, are customers keeping quiet? Anyways, the world cares about online advertisements, reviews, and comments. With positive reviews, your business will be a step closer to its prospective customers.

Getting Online Reviews

I fully expect that you’ve read through this post and agree with 100% of what I’ve just said, but you’re in a position in which you do great work and your customers are happy, yet the reviews just aren’t coming. Customers say they’re going to leave you a review, it just never happens… Here’s why, the only people who leave reviews without being prompted are the ones you’ve gone above and beyond for and the ones who had a negative experience. For the vast majority even though they’re pleased with the service received they never go online and share their experience. Life happens, like in the case Mr. Joe, your services are built around solving problems and inconveniences. After you leave the property life goes back to normal; toting kids to soccer practice, cooking dinner, work, etc. and customers simply forget to go online. Luckily, we have a solution.

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