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By Dawn Varga
Besides offering great products and services, a company’s reputation is one of the most important aspects of business that owners and managers need to monitor and maintain.
In today’s digitally-focused market, online reputation management is something that businesses cannot neglect.
It has been reported that 92% of consumers read online reviews about a business before making a purchase decision. These reviews are on key sites such as Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages and many others that are highly visible in online search results.
Eight out of 10 people state that negative information found online made them change their mind about a purchasing decision, and 49% of consumers said they need to see at least a four-star rating before they choose to do business with a company.
Consumers tend to only give feedback online when they are displeased with the product or service they received and generally won’t provide positive feedback unless they are asked. In fact, 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked.
Of course, the first step in getting positive customer reviews is to provide great customer service; the second step is asking for the customer’s feedback.
Online customer reviews are important for many reasons. They can build a positive online identity for the business. When consumers are searching online, a company with good ratings will appear to be the best choice for consumers.
Positive reviews act as personal referrals which are one of the most valuable sources of lead generation. Negative reviews are just as important, as they provide first-hand feedback from your customers about areas where your business may need to improve.
If a company can resolve an issue with a customer, they may be able to get them to update their online review. This can show the company in a very positive light to potential future clients.
It’s difficult for businesses to keep up with the multitude of online social media and review sites in use today. It takes a lot of time and effort to manage a company’s online reputation.
That’s where digital marketing companies come in to help, by monitoring review and social sites, providing tools to gather feedback from customers and engaging and responding to their feedback on behalf of the company. These services are available at a fraction of the cost to hire a dedicated employee to do the same work.
Your company’s online reputation is not something you want to ignore. Take the time today to find out how your company is doing and what it would take to do it better. Build your brand, build your reputation and increase sales!
Statistical sources: Bright Local Consumer Review Survey, 2017; Vendasta Infographic, 2016; Harvard Business Review, 2016.