The original social media was word of mouth. Nothing was as compelling as a personal recommendation from a friend and it’s even truer today as you likely have hundreds more friends online. According to Gartner Research, not answering customers on social channels can lead to a 15 percent increase in the churn rate for existing customers.
Being discovered online by consumers is important for any small business in today’s technology-fueled world. And since 97 percent of consumers find local business info on the web, business owners need a way to see what their customers are saying and simultaneously manage their reputation.
Small business owners need marketing tools to help with quality control, collaboration and visibility for their digital presence. The software should help you engage with your customers in a speedy and consistent manner, which are critical in social media.
Consider these customer review metrics:
- 100 percent of customers who make over $150,000 annually claim to leave reviews when it comes to a poor customer service experience
- 92 percent of consumers now read online reviews
- 80 percent trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Over half of young people aged 18-35 say they trust online reviews more than the opinions of friends and family
- Reviews produce an average of 18 percent uplift in sales
- Reliability (27 percent), expertise (21 percent) and professionalism are the most important store attributes to consumers
Online reviews are critical to the success of a local business. In fact, nearly 90 percent of consumers say they’ll only consider using a business if they have an average rating of 3-5 stars. Star rankings are the most effective tool for customer reviews so you want to be sure they’re part of any review software you decide to use.
Happily there are many tools available to make capturing and responding to customer reviews part of your daily business processes. Look for these essential features to get the most out of your software program:
- Generate more reviews for your store and build up credibility. Choose a program that captures and displays reviews on your site and also has an email ask component. You want automation and manual options. Response rate improves dramatically when customers don’t have to leave your site and sign in to a third-party account to leave a review. Keep it simple.
- A listening and response tool in one dashboard. Once you capture reviews, it’s important that you respond to reviews. The ability to listen and respond to customer reviews helps you improve sales and customer service. Plus, a listening tool provides an avenue for you to address a negative review before it goes live.
- Boost star ratings across multiple review sites. Choose which sites to ask for reviews on then target your most important customers, and look great on platforms essential to your business.
Remember, reputation is part of the modern customer journey. Be sure yours is impeccable. Think of reviews as an online conversation with your existing and potential customers, and you’ll improve customer service, SEO and increase sales.