The Covid -19 pandemic has brought a remarkable change in the market; online reviews have become more critical than ever, be it consumers or sellers; the effect is visible everywhere. People are partly managing the restrictions of the pandemic with online shopping. 

Now that they can’t physically visit an outlet for its product’s quality or service check, people rely more on other consumers’ experience with specific brands, products, or services to base their buying decision. This significant change has made consumer reviews a solitaire diamond for the companies looking for unique ways to grow this year.

According to Statista, a global survey website, shoppers based in the USA believe that online reviews are the second-best source of product information, after the search engine. 

Other statistics data highlights that a company with 4-star ratings gets business deal offers from 94% of customers while 1 or 2 stars rated businesses get a maximum of 14% offers.

Also Read: Ultimate Guide for Preparing Sales team with Online customer reviews

Leading financial analysts suggest companies add ways to get positive online reviews in their plan for company growth this year.

So let’s break down the reasons for its increased sense of urgency.

1. Online Reviews Are On Every Platform

Company reputation management experts emphasize using the powers of online reviews as an asset for public relations and marketing. 

The internet is outspread with cyber-shopping experience feedback and ratings from websites to consumer review platforms and online marketplaces. As a result, local consumers aged 18 – 34 years are high on trusting online reviews over personal recommendations. 

However, potential consumers are more into verified reviews that pop up on the social media pages, advertisements, or brick-and-mortar stores instead of the popular online reputation management channels like Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo! or Amazon.  

2. Online Reviews Boom Local SEO & Ranking

The position of the global economy is now quite volatile. Thus, instead of buying products from abroad, consumers are now more focused on location-based searches for their products and services. One of the first things that they notice even before reading the product details is the reviews. More than 81% of consumers read online reviews for the local businesses in 2019, which jumped to 87% in 2020. Now, the time has come for a company to pay close attention to the online review monitoring and acquisition of your product/ service. If you are still lagging behind, your competitor might have already strategized the outlets to increase Google and Yelp reviews. So, hurry and get your grove in the game. 

3. Lead Generation and Conversion Crank Up

Experts believe that having a few reviews for a product is better than no reviews. If you go by the online review displays by Spiegel Research Center study, you will notice that it suggests displaying online reviews enhances lead conversion by more than 270%. Online customer reviews soothe a person’s mind with the assurance that he is at least getting a good product even if he can’t see it. This psychological weakness works more while purchasing expensive and riskier items. Thus, if a company manages online reviews well, it might generate high quality leads and convert them into potential customers

Also Read: How to Take Control of Your Business Online Reviews

4. They Promote Customer Service

Online reputation management services emphasize enhancing user experience. When organizations strengthen customer and business reviews, they offer consumers the power to leave and check feedback. They blare out the message that they care about what the end-users think and feel at the moment, before and after a sale of a product or service occurs.

It becomes more impressive when companies respond to online reviews to win over the customer and gain a few more. Believing the reports of BrightLocal survey, out of those who read reviews before making a buy, 97% consult review responses from businesses. Another study from ReviewTrackers highlights that 45% of customers visit a business website more than negative reviews. Thus, comprehensively, replying to reviews is a method to increase customer satisfaction.

5. Help Establish Brand Equity

Online review management services also benefit small and medium-scale businesses. Online reviews portray that a business is lawful in the eyes of new customers. The credibility of the industry becomes more profound when verified customers or clients offer feedback. If the company can portray that it provides reliable service via online reviews, it positively impacts sales. 

Taking assistance of the online review monitoring strategy also gives an organization the power to improve the perceived value of their brand before the customer.

6. Handle Online Reviews to Create Trust and Community

The current change in the volume of online reviews gives consumers the strength to communicate with brands directly. Users indeed go out of their way to present feedback because of their happiness or distress. However, a few of them anticipates immediate and personalized feedback from the organizations. 

In fact, around sixty percent of the consumers prefer to see feedbacks to their negative reviews within seven days. But, the utter truth is that 63.3% of these consumers have never heard back from the businesses. So, suppose these companies are genuinely interested in nurturing trust and cultivating a community around their brand. In that case, they must begin to support an open line of communication through online review feedback.

7. Customer Reviews Adds Priceless Improvement Ideas

When you think about online reviews from the business perspective, some may still be used to thinking about pacifying infuriated customers. However, a few companies might think it is part and parcel of online review monitoring.

Another significant point to recognize is that online reviews include direct, priceless feedback on a company’s product, service, initiative, or brand. A responsible company will have a team to collect the comments and harvest practical insights from them.

Also Read: 6 Online Reputation Management Trends You Need To Watch

8. Even Negative Reviews Are Advantageous

Are you aware that even less-than-stellar reviews can be advantageous to a company? A PowerReviews study depicts that even negative reviews help establish credibility. If you believe their study, you will notice that approximately 82% of online shoppers look out for negative reviews. In the century where the internet is flooded with fake reviews, excessive positive reviews can raise consumers’ negative and concerning eyebrows. Additionally, reading negative reviews lets a reader know of the cons of the product/service, which helps balance an intended user’s views before purchasing an item.

Thus, the discussion above highlights the eight reasons why online reviews are now more helpful to a business than ever.

Also Read: The Reality About Reviews And Importance Of Them