Online customer reviews and their increasing importance for businesses today
With the rise of Social media, online customer reviews have started playing a major role. Today, if I need to watch a film, eat out at a new restaurant, stay at a hotel, visit a hair salon, I first check out what is being said about them online. For me, reviews are the quickest and the easiest way to get information that I can act upon.
There are several sites that are dedicated to online customer reviews: One of my favourites is:
“www.consumerreports.org” where potential customers get unbiased and authentic information, and review of any products they plan to buy. Customers do not go there and put in their reviews. It works a little differently since Consumer Reports actually tests each and every product they review.
This is my go to site to get as much information I can before proceeding to buy the product. Since there is not much that a business can do, the main thing would be to focus on providing a better user experience and of course manufacturing better products!
Some of the popular sites where you can check out reviews online are, Google My Business, Yahoo Local Listings, Yelp, Amazon, Facebook, and various other specific sites devoted to niche products and services. Amongst all of these, Facebook seems all geared to drive customer reviews and ratings in future.
Facebook Review and Ratings
Facebook has proactively started asking for reviews. If you are someone who uses the “check in” feature regularly in Facebook, for example, if you stayed at a place, or dined out at a restaurant, and “checked into Facebook”, Facebook will send you a message asking you to review it. The Facebook Reviews and Ratings link can be found on the left side of the Facebook page and it is so very easy to post a review. One click on the star and you are done.To make it simpler Facebook does not make it mandatory that you write something.
When something is so easy, why would anyone not wish to submit a review?
What does this mean for businesses?
It means, not only do businesses need to continue to provide products and services that are good quality, they need to be vigilant about what is being said about them.
If businesses are not reviewing and responding to reviews about their business, they are creating a big gap between themselves and their existing and potential customers.
Reviews, both positive and negative, need to be responded to timely and appropriately.
The Facebook reviews can have a very powerful impact because they are from your network of friends and people you can trust.
What steps can businesses take?
Businesses will need to have a very strong after-sales service, and customer support focus so that they are able to address issues and concerns in a timely manner.
It is not just about selling products and services but about constantly finding ways of reaching out to customers, and keeping them happy so that they review you in a positive light!