How Reviews Effect Your Brand & Business
If you work for a restaurant, car dealership, medical clinic, coffee shop, or any other brick & mortar business, I have a question for you: how do customers find your business?
For an overwhelming number of businesses, the answer nowadays is simple: Google! So my second question to you is: what’s the best way to boost your business to the top of Google search? A simple question… with a not-so-simple answer. Google says there’s a variety of factors, including having a steady stream of healthy, 5-star reviews.
What’s interesting with reviews is that they’re always displayed in search results, no matter what. For example, a restaurant could check every box to appear as the top local result for “Australia fine dining”, and be ranking very highly, but a 1.5-star average review rating might make hungry customers lose their appetite.
Back in 2011, Google performed a study titled “The Zero Moment of Truth”. Essentially, they wanted to understand how your customer’s buying behavior was changing thanks to things like online reviews. They mapped it out into four stages:
- Stimulus: Your customer becomes aware of your business. Maybe they see a billboard, print ad, television spot… Or maybe they search for terms related to your business (i.e., “new cars in my area”, “best restaurants near me”).
- Zero Moment of Truth: After becoming aware of your business, your customer does something we all do: research! With the power of technology, anyone can get an idea of whether or not they should do business with you; the easiest way to understand is through reviews. Does your business have a 4+ star rating on Google? What about other important sites review sites, like Facebook? Know that negative reviews are only half the battle. The other half is having no recent reviews. 44% of consumers say a review must be written within the past month to be relevant, and about three quarters (73%) of consumers form an opinion about a business by reading up to 6 reviews.
- First Moment of Truth: Now that your customer has done their research, they’ll make a decision! Are they visiting your business today? Oh, and hopefully they have a good experience, because…
- Second Moment of Truth: … expectations should match reality! If your customer leaves your business frustrated, they are likely to leave a negative review. But guess what? That review is influencing your next customer’s buying decision at the Zero Moment of Truth!
Without a doubt, customer reviews have a tremendous impact on your business’s reputation, and consequently, your revenue. That’s why it’s important to continuously generate more positive reviews while limiting and managing the negative ones.
Speaking of managing reviews, according to a recent study by Sensis, 64% of Australian consumers are more likely trust a brand if they interact with consumers online. What’s even more shocking is that almost 80% of Aussies are online, compared to less than half of Australian small and medium sized businesses! In other words, if you’re a business owner, you should be actively responding to your customers that take the time out of their day to leave you feedback.