Let’s be blunt: your business needs customer reviews and an online presence. Think about it – before you open your wallet to buy a product or service, what do you do first?
. . . Read about it online.
Love it or hate it, online reviews reassure your potential customers that you’re trustworthy. That you’re going to get the job done, and it’s going to be quality. If prospects don’t see your presence online and can’t read what others think – they’ll likely reach out to someone else.
Look at these eye-opening stats. 89% of consumers check out local businesses’ online reviews to determine their quality. 85% trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. Even negative reviews can help your business grow.
Our mission at Invoice2go, a Bill.com company, is to amplify the voices of small businesses worldwide. We’re excited to roll out our new reviews feature to help you more easily collect customer reviews on your terms. We want the world to know the value you deliver.
Still, we don’t want reviews just to be a vague concept or hollow aspiration. There are concrete reasons why reviews can have an enormous impact on your revenue and overall success.
Here are 6 interconnected ways customer reviews will take your business to the next level:
1. You’ll generate more leads
Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. While plenty of people get annoyed from time-to-time with sites like Yelp, positive online reviews will bring in more customers.
Online discussion about your business improves your chances of appearing in search engine results in your community and industry. In other words, when people enter keywords related to your business into Google, they’re more likely to see your business. Then, a prospective customer could read about your business and see what others think about it. If they like what they see – you’ll likely hear from them.
This means that, in effect, great reviews serve as free advertising. In many ways, they’re better than a traditional ad because they give you instant social proof. You’re already over the first hurdle of winning a prospect’s trust.
Does this resonate with you? Chances are you’ve already done this many times in your own search for products and services.
2. You’ll start building before you even talk to prospective customers
Just like when a friend vouches for you, a solid customer review can eliminate anxiety and frame you in a positive light. You may not be a household name – yet – so you need a community of people sharing publicly that they were glad they gave you their money.
Here are other parallels to drive this point home: Referrals almost double your chance of getting a job interview. Even with all the online dating apps out there, most people still meet their significant others through their in-real-life social circles. The desire for social proof is intrinsic to human nature. Use it to your advantage.
3. You’ll know more clearly what your strengths are
Over time you’ll likely see trends in your reviews. Especially if you’re able to ask for specific feedback on topics like quality, communication, timeliness, and value, you’ll get a clearer picture of what makes your company stand out.
When you’re clear about what makes your business great, you can make tweaks to do more of that. On top of that, you can use this information to market your business. For example, if your customers rave about your customer service – use that as a selling point.
4. You’ll quickly find out what you need to improve
Critical or negative feedback can hurt. Your business is close to heart, so reading something critical can open a range of emotions from annoyance to anger to sadness. Keep this in mind: it’s just feedback. And it’s valuable information you can use to grow.
That’s not just empty talk. For example, you notice you have several reviews customers say they have trouble communicating with you. This is a key opportunity to look more deeply into your communication patterns and take steps to smooth out points where customers might feel frustrated.
Over time, listening to criticism and taking action when warranted will make your business more valuable. You will grow as a professional and secure your place in the market over the long term. Your customers will feel heard, and you’ll build greater loyalty.
Additionally, use online reviews to win back lost clients. Knowing why they left allows you to fix the problem, make amends, and potentially convince them to come back.
While, sure, from time to time you may get a review that’s just ridiculous, reviews and feedback – even negative ones – are essential to your growth as a business and as a professional.
5. You’ll gain eye-catching content for your social media, website, or newsletter
No, we’re not suggesting you start flexin’ on The Gram. However, sharing how you aided in someone else’s success is an excellent, non-boastful way to market your business.
Did you help someone build a website that boosted their business? Did you remodel someone’s home and it looks absolutely stunning? Share it!
The key to successfully using reviews as marketing content is to always keep the focus on the customer and their success. If you post, “Look! I got another 5-star review. I’m so awesome!” it will not be nearly as effective as sharing how you solved someone else’s problem and made them happy.
Continually adding great content to your website and social media also can improve your ranking on Google. This further increases the chances of prospects finding you in search results related to your company.
6. You’ll build strong, long-lasting customer relationships
When you build a professional online presence, you make it easy for customers to find you and you instantly build trust. When you listen to your customers and continually improve your service, you will become the go-to person for your particular type of work.
Many companies do not take action on critical feedback – but you will. You will create a virtuous feedback cycle and your customers will be thankful that they can rely on you. You’ll establish greater security and will deal less with the ups and downs of running a business over time.
It’s not easy and this doesn’t happen overnight. However, with patience and consistency you can get there.
We’re so excited at Invoice2go that we’ve now made it even easier for small businesses and independent professionals to collect reviews. However, whether you use Invoice2go or collect reviews through other platforms, go out and get them!
Here’s to building your business and living life on your terms. Keep it up! Follow our blog for more useful tips aimed at helping your business grow.