Why Online Reviews Are The New “Word Of Mouth” For Your Business

The Dangers of “Word of Mouth”

As a local plumbing business owner, you might be tempted to think that you really don’t need to put a lot of effort into managing your online reputation, but that could be a very dangerous assumption.

You might think, "What's the point" as many of your customers come through “word of mouth.”

But recent research shows, reputation management and marketing has become super important for sustainability and growth over the past few years.  Why? Because your customers now search online for ratings and reviews when choosing any local business or tradie.

Whether or not you like or use online reviews personally, they must become a major part of your marketing strategy.

Customers love online reviews, and they use them daily to gain insight on everything from Amazon products, to accountants, hairdressers, restaurants, and tradies!

Online reviews are the new word of mouth.

According to research:

- 92% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews

- 74% of Consumers say they will not select a company with poor reviews

Here’s a few tips to help manage what’s being said about you:

  • You need to position yourself as the first and best choice when customers are researching online BEFORE making a decision on where to spend their money.
  • The best way to do this is to create raving fans for your business by using your most recent satisfied customers. It can be as simple as asking for them to leave you a review where they share positive feedback or following up after a job is done.
  • Address Negative Feedback Promptly - "If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000." --Jeff Bezos
  • Your customers have more reach today than ever before when it comes to sharing their experiences. That reach gives them the power to affect your earnings by simply sharing their experience on social media.
  • In a digital world your customers are open and eager to share their experiences; when you take control of what’s being said about your business, you control your reputation.
  • To stay ahead of the game you need to claim your business on top sites like True Local, Google, Facebook and WOMO.  This gives you control over the business information found there by reviewers.  TIP: Don't just leave it up to the review sites to enter in your information.
  • Comment directly on the poor reviews and reach out to the unhappy customers - when you do they're notified of your response.
  • Being proactive and dealing with negative reviews quickly shows potential customers that you're willing to resolve an issue if one may arise. This helps establish your credibility as a reliable business, giving you the competitive edge.

Actively Monitor Your Online Reputation  -- Monitoring your online reputation is not optional. It is a necessity!

- A 1-Star difference in your online rating can result in a 5-9% change in revenue (Harvard Magazine Study)

LINK to Study - http://harvardmagazine.com/2011/10/hbs-study-finds-positive-yelpreviews-lead-to-increased-business

HEADS UP:  knowing when and where your name is being mentioned is extremely important to your bottom line. Conversations about your business are rarely taking place on your website so you need to discover what is being said about you and where.

Try searching for your business online, the way your customers might....  To do this simply Google your name… Make note of where your business is showing up most and note any repetitive comments and reviews (both good and bad).

Include information on which sites provide reviews of your service, and where any negative information is so you can take action. 

Get Social

And no, I don't mean sitting on your computer staring at Facebook and Twitter all day.  You need to make sure you have a profile across the social networks that are most effective for your business .

Not only does social media have the potential to expose your business to thousands of customers, it puts your business name and brand under your control and helps boost search engine (google) rankings.

When interacting with your customers on social media, keep it friendly, short, and direct. If someone says they had a great experience with your business, thank them. Conversely, if someone has a problem, address it – but don’t fight back. Being understanding and willing to make things right is the key to turning bad transactions into good interactions.

This is Non-Negotiable For Your Business

Reviews about your business directly impact your earnings and can no longer be ignored. The new word of mouth is your recent customers sharing their experiences about your business online through ratings and reviews.

Now’s the time to take control of your reputation and aim for that 5 Star rating you deserve.

NEXT STEPS: Decide if you're going to handle this yourself OR find an online solution to help automate the whole process of asking for feedback, generating reviews, and monitoring your brand online for you.

Using a service like YAP ABOUT makes this process easy as it pretty much runs on autopilot.   It's what we use for our business and we find because it's so easy for our customers to use, they're much more likely to leave us a review. 

Check it out HERE and let us know what you think....

PS. If you think you'd like the try the Yap About service let us know as Yap About has a special trial offer on at the moment, but it's only for the first 10 businesses who respond.