The Ever-Increasing Importance Of ReviewsFriday night restaurant searches, along with nearly every search experience, are more focused on reviews than ever before. As a business, your brand’s reputation must understand the key values of reviews.
Once upon a time, you chose where you wanted to go to dinner next from a friend’s referral or popular word-of-mouth. Your choice was not made by a process of research, but by talking to other people. Since the rise of social media, talking to others has been transformed into communicating via social networks. More specifically, rating or review platforms. The typical customer’s process of choosing dinner Friday night has become one along the lines of this:
- Use Google to search the best restaurants (in your area, type of cuisine, open when)
- View featured results with the highest ratings
- Read reviews and rating from previous customers
- Select where you’d like to eat at based on the reviews you’ve read
Friday night restaurant searches, along with nearly every search experience, are more focused on reviews than ever before. As a business, your brand’s reputation must understand the key values of reviews.
Reviews now dictate our selection process with convenient access to ratings right from our mobile devices. Ratings and reviews from external websites such as Yelp or Trip Advisor now build into search engine ranking; this creates significant importance for businesses to gain higher quantity and quality reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely your business is to rank highly on Google’s local 3-pack.
As your business receives more reviews, you’ll have a higher conversion rate in response to the referrals or reviews from real-life customers. The goal of reviews for your business is to encourage first-time viewers to take the next step and visit your business. If your business only holds positive reviews that sound a little recited, this could negatively impact viewer’s thoughts, as well. The more “real” your reviews sound, the more likely customers are to click on your business creating a higher conversion rate. Additionally, lower scoring or negative reviews are important in showing your audience how your business responds to both positive and negative experiences. This leads us to another key significance of reviews: the response.
Often business owners view a negative review and immediately want it taken down or removed before ever acknowledging it. Unfortunately, this cannot be a more incorrect reaction. There is an opportunity within each negative response for you to address, resolve, and encourage continued reviews. While there are some cases where a customer does not respond, it is still extremely important to respond to understand the situation and acknowledge your customer’s concerns. As a business owner, your first thought may be that this is solely for the reviewer’s benefit; however, this process is for both your current customer and future customers.
As viewers research your business, they’re likely to look at a combination of reviews both good and bad. From this, they’ll note key positive reviews in addition to reviewing negative review responses. Did your business acknowledge their concerns? Did you make the situation right if there was a negative experience? These are all important questions as your business is being considered.
The Next Step
The first step is encouraging current and past customers to review their experience. Good or bad, make a point to respond to each review. As your business receives more reviews, ensure you give the same attention to review #1 as you do to review #100 to keep your brand’s reputation consistent. Remember, it’s okay to be viewed as a “real” business!
Written by: Katlynn Ketchum