Online reviews are pervasive and stretch everywhere. If you look up a local store through a search engine, a list of businesses with their reviews and ratings will likely show up.

Even drivers and passengers are rated through rideshare apps. Given the importance of this comprehensive and ever-changing digital rating system, you should consider the impact of online customer reviews on your brand.

Helps You Think Locally

This is especially crucial if you operate a franchise business or just opened a store in a new town since you may not be familiar with the intricacies of local tastes or perspectives just yet. Good, bad, or even neutral online reviews can tell you valuable information about running your business for a specific market.

Positive Online Reviews Boost Sales and Drive Customer Demand Up

Nothing beats word-of-mouth marketing. A SEMRUSH study shows that 88% of people trust brand word-of-mouth recommendations the most.

Local businesses should take advantage of positive customer reviews to display confidence and obtain new customers. After all, sales are driven best by past or existing customers, who have positive experiences with your products or services and are advocates of your brand.

Tells You What You are Doing Right

A brand is built over time with positive customer feedback. It can only develop by satisfying existing customers and keeping up with market trends to fit new demands. Consumer feedback is the only way of knowing how to maintain appropriate business habits and gauge how your business is doing. In that case, good online customer reviews let you know what you are doing right.

The Majority of People Who Would Follow Your Brand are Online

Let’s face it. The first place most people look for something is online. Regardless of how people stumble upon your business online, they will be looking at prior customer experiences.

Various studies show that at least 90% of Americans use online customer reviews to judge whether they will buy a product or not. A 2022 Bright Local customer review survey found that 84% of consumers pay attention to reviews for tradespeople or service businesses, 83% for care services, and 82% for healthcare.

The study also found that around 77% of consumers either always or almost always go online to research local businesses. If Louisiana has a population of over 4.62 million, that means around 3.55 million Louisianans actively look up businesses online and rely on reviews when deciding where to shop.

If that many people could be looking at your business and potentially other franchise locations online, you better make sure that most, if not all, of your online reviews are positive.

Whether someone is looking up local mechanics in Lafayette, a specific mechanic shop, or how to fix their carburetor, a list of local stores will pop up on search engines along with the ratings and reviews.

Even if you didn’t want to pay attention to online customer reviews, they would inevitably impact your brand. So, it would be best to take steps to address these reviews, especially if they came from unhappy customers.

How to respond to negative reviews

Negative reviews are not the end of the world, especially if you have many positive reviews. Just like dealing with complaints in person, try to be personable and take everything a reviewer says at face level. If the complaint is serious and involves an employee, discuss the situation with those working when the altercation arose.

Maintaining cordiality and being direct yet open is the best way to respond to negative reviews. Address the consumer directly, tell them what steps you are taking to improve the situation, and if necessary, provide an alternative communication channel to more appropriately address their concern.

Keep in mind that if a review is inaccurate or inappropriate, you most likely have the option to get it taken down. For example, Google Business Profile lets business owners report reviews for misinformation, misrepresentation, and offensive content. They also use an automated spam detector to automatically remove spam reviews on the platform.

Read also: How Does Google Business Profile Help My Local Business?

Being receptive to online reviews and having the newfound ability to create marketing objectives from reviews is only the first step in building your brand and your online presence.

If you need assistance in managing and growing your brand’s online presence and reputation, consider Klout 9. We are a full-service digital marketing agency in Lafayette, LA, that has helped countless businesses take their marketing strategy to the next level. Contact us today!