The statistics don’t lie: the majority of people researching a business or a product start online. In 2022, 46% of all Google searches included local intent. People are choosing products and business because of their online presence, and eliminating options due to a lacking or negative online presence, making your online listings critical to your businesses success. A huge part of local listings is reviews, and neglecting to request reviews can have serious consequences for a business looking to succeed in local search. Here are 5 reasons why reviews are such a critical part of local search, and why you should work on getting more of them.
1. Reviews are a crucial part of your first impression.
People looking for a new product, service, or provider almost always begin their journey online, typically with a question like these:
- “Who is the best orthopedic surgeon near me?”
- “Who is a family lawyer near me rated four stars?”
- “What kind of doctor should I see for hip pain?”
- “What is the top-rated medical spa near me?”
Authority in local search is essential for businesses these days, because authority is what makes a listing rank higher, but getting there takes effort beyond SEO. Once your potential customers find you, they’re going to dig a little deeper to determine what others think about your service or expertise. The quality and frequency of your online reviews can affect your position in search engine results, but they can also be a potential client’s first impression of your business. With effective online reputation management, your improved authority and credibility leads to more happy customers.
2. Consumers care about your online reputation.
Your online reviews speak volumes about your business. And if you think you’re in the clear because you only have a few reviews and they’re all positive, think again. Online reviews can trigger all kinds of red flags in the minds of potential clients. Are there enough reviews across various review sites and social networks? Do they appear authentic? Did the business publicly address concerns in the negative reviews, or at least appear empathetic to the customer’s complaints?
MyAdvice research shows that online reviews are increasingly important in a post-COVID world. The numbers don’t lie:
- 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
- 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
Simply put, you need reviews — a lot of reviews, and especially a consistent stream of recent reviews. Your web presence depends on positive content if you’re going to grow a successful reputation and brand identity.
3. Reviews help you understand your customers’ experiences.
Managing online reviews isn’t just about positioning your business in the best light, it’s about truly understanding and responding to your clients’ experiences. By being an active listener, you can evolve and adapt your business to meet your customers’ needs and expectations, all while reaping the benefits of their glowing feedback in the public digital space.
You should also respond to both positive and negative online reviews to show customers that you care about their experiences, good or bad, but make sure to track any complaints that keep coming up. If there’s something you can learn from them – do!
4. More reviews mean more clients.
Businesses that proactively request reviews enjoy higher ratings than those that wait for unprompted reviews. That’s what Saltz Plastic Surgery learned after starting with Local Power. Starting out with just 10 online reviews, we helped the practice grow its online reviews nearly twentyfold to 177 thanks to Review Power.
While automating your review management is a critical component of your practice’s success, it’s important to remember that this type of management still requires consistent effort.
Saltz Plastic Surgery sought the highest possible response rate to their review requests. They tested sending requests immediately after the appointment, at the end of each day to each patient that day, and every Friday to each patient that week. This analytical strategy and involvement helped them grow not only their reviews but views on search (+22%), views on map (+81%) unique users (+40%), web sessions (+40%), and website clicks (+12.4%). Their consistency, combined with the automation tools provided by Review Power, is what delivered such impressive results.
5. Responding to negative reviews showcases your customer service skills.
Actively requesting customer reviews helps your business avoid a disproportionate number of complaints relative to positive comments. Reviews are a numbers game, as many reviewers are more motivated to write a review after a bad experience as a way to warn others. It’s estimated that unhappy customers will likely tell 9 to 15 people about their experience. Meanwhile, happy customers only tell about 4 to 6 people, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. While this can seem overwhelming, remember that negative reviews aren’t a bad thing. They’re simply a chance to showcase your customer service skills and give prospective clients a glimpse into how they can expect to be treated if they choose to work with you.
There are two sides to every story. With online customer reviews, your customers are sharing their perspectives about how you performed. By monitoring and responding to your reviews, you can ensure you’re effectively boosting your online reputation by showcasing how you resolve conflicts with disgruntled customers.
We Can Help
We created Review Power to make the process of requesting and responding to reviews easier and less time-consuming. Contact one of our experts today for a free consultation to see how it can help you grow your online reviews and your business.