Better Business Briefing: The power of customer reviews on small businesses
Milwaukee, Wis. – Reputation can mean everything, especially for a small business owner trying to attract and retain customers. You want to be able to tell customers that your business is trustworthy and transparent – and what better way to illustrate that story than through online customer reviews.
But it’s harder than it sounds, because many small businesses have a difficult time receiving positive reviews, responding to negative ones, and marketing reviews to help their business grow. In this article, we break down the power of customer reviews for your business, why reviews are essential to consumers, and how to leverage reviews to help your business be better.
According to Moz, Local Search Ranking Factors survey, reviews have a 15% chance of influencing your position in local search results.
So what does this all mean? Customer reviews can improve your online reputation which helps businesses build trust with customers, converts searchers into leads, and boosts local search rankings, according to Bright Local.
Who can you trust?
One of the biggest challenges for businesses and online shoppers is determining which reviews are real and which ones are fake. Many online review sites struggle in trying to weed out bogus reviews or reviews created by bots. In one study by Spiegel Research Center, the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than a product with zero reviews, so unfortunately, businesses may fraudulently try to generate reviews, especially positive ones.
But in that same study, consumers also indicate that fake reviews can damage trust, believing that five-star reviews may be too good to be true. That study is just one of many that validate the importance of responding to negative reviews and avoiding using fake positive ones in an attempt to manipulate a rating.
Still, many businesses turn a blind eye to online reviews because they rely on local customers, referrals, and foot traffic. But with more online review sites available to consumers, the need for trustworthy reviews has never been greater. Consumers are savvier and can comparison shop quickly by searching for a business on their phone.
BBB Customer Reviews – A Trusted Review Source
At Better Business Bureau, we and our Accredited Businesses are committed to our Standards for Trust, especially when it comes to being transparent, honoring promises, and truth in advertising. With BBB Customer Reviews, we try and vet each reviewer when a comment is submitted to check for authenticity. And while it’s next to impossible to guarantee that every comment is legitimate, here is how BBB tries to ensure accuracy and transparency.
- BBB validates the email address or phone number of reviewers.
- Allowing the business to respond to a customer review and share their side of the story before it is published.
- Allowing the reviewer also to submit comments on the customer review. Comments from third parties are not allowed.
- Not allowing anonymous reviews or reviews where the consumer got compensated.
- Customer reviews are posted to the company’s BBB Business Profile.
To date, BBB received more than 4 million customer reviews but has published only 62% of them – and for a good reason. In our battle against fake reviews, BBB is determined to take extra steps to ensure the reviewer is authentic. According to the BBB Trust Sentiment Index, consumers rank a business’s reputation first when determining trust. An honest and legitimate review can go a long way in helping consumers make better purchasing decisions and for companies to put their best foot forward.
How to Promote Customer Reviews
There are several creative ways to showcase your customer reviews and polished online reputation. Much like marketing your BBB Accreditation, we recommend these five actions to use online reviews to improve your business reputation.
- Respond to customer reviews – One of the best ways to improve your online reputation is to respond to reviews. If a customer leaves a negative comment, use it as an opportunity to work with the customer to find a solution to the problem.
- Follow-up with customers – After a purchase, reach out to the customer a week or two later to ensure the product or service provided is exceeding expectations. Ask the person to leave an honest review and share feedback that will help your business be better.
- Monitor review sites – Carefully check online review sites to ensure your reputation is solid and customer demands get answered in a timely fashion.
- Provide easy options – Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by including a link to your business profile or the BBB Leave a Review page on your website, posing questions on social media, or reminding customers to provide feedback at the point of purchase.
- Share positive reviews – Don’t be shy! Encourage customers to read your online reviews by visiting your BBB profile page. Advertise your BBB Accreditation, rating and customer reviews by adding a link to your BBB profile on your website and on social media. You can even share customer reviews with your own staff, to help boost employee morale and encourage better customer service.
The world of online reviews can seem overwhelming, but if managed correctly, it could provide your business with a valuable reputation boost. While there are several online review sites available, consider leveraging trusted BBB Customer Reviews. After all, it boils down to trust, and what better way to tell a customer you’re a trustworthy business than aligning yourself with BBB.
For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.