There is no shortage of data floating out there that proves that reviews have a direct effect on the revenues of a business. Especially for SMB’s, these reviews have become the lifeblood of their new business efforts. Of course the restaurants, hotels, and other service industry businesses get the lion’s share of the action on these sites, but that does not mean it is not important to others business sectors.
Still though, I often times hear that reviews are not important to their business or they don’t want anything to do with them. The truth is that they are here and here to stay, and an opportunity exists in this realm to get ahead of the competition by having a solid plan in place. So why then are they important to ALL businesses?
- Fulfilling Customer Expectations – Regardless of what customer service system you have in place, consumers still go online to third party review sites to bring up issues or perceived issues. With a solid plan in place it can become public knowledge that your customer service is on point. Worst case scenario, someone writes terrible things about your business, it is still an opportunity to show that you are professional and make every effort to take care of your customers.
- Protecting Your Business – Not having a plan in place is like driving on an LA freeway with no auto insurance. Though you may never get in an accident, if you do, it could be a financial disaster. Same rule applies to online reviews, while you may never get a bad one, if you do and you’re not paying attention it could be costing you serious business and you don’t even know it!
- Reviews Drive Revenue – Study after study proves that reviews drive revenue for businesses. A Harvard Business School study in 2011 showed that a 1 star change on yelp can result in a 5-9% change in revenue. That is HUGE and it is only 1 website. The effects of Google + reviews and other industry specific sites is undeniable.
- Everybody’s Doing It – Though in high school this was probably not a good reason to do something, in this circumstance it is. Your competitors are likely already strategizing in this key area for future growth. If you are not, you may be missing out on revenue you didn’t even know about, or worse yet losing your business to a competitor. If they are not doing it, a solid plan will only put you that much further ahead.
- Time is Relentless – Time never stops and it takes a lot of time to repair a damaged online reputation. This damage could take 6 month to a year to repair and the lost profits during that time can be detrimental to an SMB. Though there is no fail safe to protect you 100% from bad reviews online, having a strategy in place to gain as much positive feedback as possible and then react swiftly to the one of negative review is certainly better than the alternative.
There are countless ways to grow and protect your business. The reality of online reviews is that the potential effect on a business’s bottom line is massive. Whatever the business, this should be a priority as the world continues to move online.