Some 90 percent of consumers say they are influenced by positive online reviews, according to Dimensional Research. Despite this figure, a new survey finds that many small business owners aren’t taking the power of online reviews seriously—and are missing out on online reviews’ ability to drive business. Here’s what you need to know.
Only half of small business owners say it’s important or very important for their business to get positive online reviews. In fact, almost one-fourth think getting good online reviews doesn’t matter.
Perhaps as a result, just 13 percent of small business owners encourage customers to give them online reviews. Thanks to this lack of proactivity, most small business owners aren’t getting many (or any) online reviews. More than half (55 percent) of small business owners in the survey say they don’t get any online reviews, and one in five get an average of just one to five reviews a month.
Even worse, 24 percent of small business owners “don’t know” if they are getting online reviews. Maybe that’s because 68 percent don’t bother to monitor their reviews.
Even when small business owners do get online reviews, just 43 percent respond to them—although studies have shown that consumers have more positive opinions of a business when it responds to online reviews.
Not surprisingly, just 14 percent of respondents say they post customer reviews on their own websites.
Finally, despite the widespread fear that small business owners have of receiving negative online reviews, just one in 25 entrepreneurs in the survey say they have ever been impacted by a negative review.
How does your business’s approach to online reviews measure up? Here are some steps you should be taking to get the most from online reviews:
- Monitor your online presence. Make sure your business is listed on ratings and review sites, and set up alerts so you know when you get a new review.
- Respond to negative reviews promptly in a polite and non-confrontational fashion. Try to take the discussion offline, if possible, but when the issue is resolved, post a resolution on the review site so other customers can see how you handled the situation.
- Encourage customers to review your business by letting them know which review sites you’re on. Don’t, however, reward customers who review you; this will get you in trouble with review sites.
- Use positive reviews in your marketing materials—but ask customers if it’s OK first.
Web.com’s ReputationAlert can help you monitor your business’s reviews. Learn more about ReputationAlert.