Should you be concerned about online reviews?

Personally, I always read reviews before purchasing clothes, items or reserving any lodging or vacation online. Reviews written by people I have never heard before are often the tipping point in my decision process. Insane, right? Well, I’m part of the majority that believes online reviews are more genuine than what companies allow us to see and read on their website. I’m such an advocate for online reviews that that once I have consumed a product or service, I then feel it’s my duty to share my opinion with the world – good or bad. Amazon, TripAdvisor, Booking, Yelp, Google My Business, Yahoo!, Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter to only name a few are all apps & websites that I have searched or given reviews on. Add directly reviewing a product or service directly on a company’s website to all of the above and you have a plethora of opportunities. The link between positive quality of reviews, review rankings and the consumer’s decision to do business with your company cannot be taken lightly. It’s commonly recognised that reviews are critical in the decision process for many purchases. You can have the best price, but if the reviews are bad, the client will go elsewhere I guarantee it! Social media enables companies to hone in on their best, most vocal advocates, and then leverage their opinion further by making the client’s comment available on their website, and several social media platforms. The influence of peer opinions on social media is very valuable and can help create a base of loyal clients. According to Neilsen, consumers trust brand advocates, (defined as satisfied customers) at a rate of 92%, which is at the same trust level as a friend or family member. There is a direct correlation between the service provided by your company and its online reviews. No matter what industry you are in, reviews are nowadays part of the customer’s shopping process. Simply put, if your team provides poor service, clients will post bad reviews and comments about your company and that will affect your company’s bottom line. Every manager I know would prefer getting only exceptional reviews, but no company can please every customer and some product or service fails happen. Signature Canada provides two solutions to this problem. The first one is to prevent service fails with Signature’s Service Edge Training Program and the second is training on how to handle bad reviews or complaints with our Building Loyalty Through Service Recovery module. Online reputation and brand advocacy is so important for some companies that they encourage customers to share their experience, at all the various stages of their purchase and have employees respond to every post and comment. To persuade guests to be vocal, provide an incentive. For example, you can reward friends on social media with a discount when they share, reward the client for its purchase on your website with a gift or give them an add on to their upcoming service. Reputation has always been a critical evaluator in all our lives – not just business! What is changing is how businesses empower their staff to be part of the experience, promote their online reputation and entitle their positive reviewers to become true brand advocates.

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