Where and how people talk about you and your business online matters — it makes a significant impact on your current customers and clients as well as those who are on the fence about whether to go with your product or service or a competitor. But here’s the deal, you can’t just close your eyes and pretend that those less-than-stellar Google reviews, comments on your Facebook page, or opinions on Glassdoor don’t matter. They do — a lot in fact. But what you can do is understand how your customer thinks when they’re searching for a solution and develop a system that results in consistent 5-star reviews and positive comments.
Now, according to a study by Bright Local, 95% of people search for local businesses just like yours online and 91% of people read online reviews to help in the decision-making process. Truth talk: don’t you want them to call your business first?
Let’s break it down…
Say you’re searching for a landscaping company near you (in this example, Dallas) and the below screenshot were your Google results, who would you call first to do your landscaping?
Scapes Inc., right?
Here’s why you made that decision in less than 2 seconds…
Average Star Rating
You decided this was the landscaping company for you because it had the highest star-rating (4.7) despite showing up second in the list overall. Pretty simple.
Total Number of Reviews (or total lack)
You also saw that they had 26 reviews total — is this a ton? Well…no. But it is significantly more than the two competitors. So your analytical brain throws up red flags for the other two companies making Scapes your number one choice to contact.
But… you’re not one to make a snap decision on who to give your hard earned money to (hint: your customers are not quick decision makers either)… so let’s do some more detective work.
Average Ratings Across Multiple Sites
You want to dig deeper and go beyond the initial Google reviews. Typically customers will visit two or more directories/review sites within the industry before making a final decision. And it’s because of these Sherlock Holmes types of customers that your one-and-done method of solely focusing on Google reviews should be reconsidered. What other industry-specific directories or review sites should your business be considering? If your Scapes, you should be looking in to Angie’s List.
How a Business Responds to Negative Reviews
Haters gon’ hate. There will always be a disgruntled customers. But how you handle these customers is what other prospects see as valuable in making an educated decision. Do respond timely to these negative or less than 5-star reviews. With a kind yet direct response, there’s a potential to earn back their business, grow trust with future customers and gives you as the business owner the opportunity to set the record straight. Now notice I’m not saying banter back and forth with them…this doesn’t solve anything and plus it heightens your blood pressure. The rule of thumb here is to not ignore them, but to respond to them.
Review Frequency + Age
If you were to look further into Scapes Google reviews and found the majority of them were older than 3 months would your opinion of their shiny gold stars change? I bet it would.
How often your customers leave reviews matters because 73% of prospects think that reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant. Yes, you read that right.
A lesson to be learned here, is start developing a system today to keep reviews of the 5-star variety coming tomorrow and thereafter.
Want to see where your business stands on the Review Richter Scale? Comment below or message me directly to get your customized Review Report Card.