Online reviews, do they matter? Yes: online reviews could be someone’s first impression of your business. If you aren’t paying attention to the positive or negative buzz your customers are generating for you, you could be missing out or paying a big price.

Three Reasons Online Reviews Impact Your Business

1. Online Reviews Directly Impact Your Sales

Reviews left by others impact your customers’ buying decisions. In a recent marketing survey, a staggering 90% of customers stated that their decision to buy (or not) is, in part, influenced by online reviews (https://marketingland.com/survey-customers-more-frustrated-by-how-long-it-takes-to-resolve-a-customer-service-issue-than-the-resolution-38756). With data like this, it’s time to start paying attention to what folks are saying about your services online.

2. Online Reviews Directly Impact Your SEO

Ever heard of Google ‘Local’? You may not be aware, but Google uses exact location to deliver searchers with the most relevant results possible. Why? Google wants to do a good job, and often enough, quality search results are dependant upon a user’s location. If a user is based in Hamilton, Ontario and is searching for a house cleaning service; Google wouldn’t be doing a great job if they gave that user a list of house cleaning services in Ireland.

Google uses many factors to determine whether or not your business should be included in local search results and one key element is your online reviews (or lack thereof). A survey by search analytics engine Moz (https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors) shows that Google (and other search engines) weigh online reviews by as much as 10% (in SEO terms, that’s a significant percentage).

3. Online Reviews Directly Impact Your Customer Relationships

Stop thinking of online reviews as just reviews; they are a way for you to talk to your customers, share some positivity, and sometimes, to create a positive outcome when one is needed. Start by ensuring you know about new reviews when they hit: Google Alerts or your digital marketing firm can get you set up so that you get emailed whenever a review is left on Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, etc. Next, if you get a positive review: don’t ignore it! Respond to the customer who took the time out of their day to leave you a few nice lines. Thank the customer for their time, business, and thoughts, tell them you look forward to making their day again. That’s the easy part, right? What if you get a negative review (and, by the law of averages, you will)? Thank the customer for their time, business, and thoughts, tell them you want a chance to make their day and their experience with your business a success. You can then privately message them or ask them to call you. You don’t want to give too many details or offer too much in public (you don’t want a slew of copycat negative reviewers who want freebies, after all). Responding to negative reviews with class also gives folks who may be considering using your business an idea of how they’ll be treated if they happen to have a complaint so respond quickly, and do it well.

Bottom line? Online reviews matter for any service-based business. Take the time now to start monitoring your online reviews and actively responding to them. Don’t get heated when a negative review comes in, get creative. Remember: all eyes are on you, and your business, for better or worse.