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Online reviews: Why they matter to your reputation and your bottom line

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To generate reviews for your business, provide your customers with a direct link to your Facebook review area or Google Business page, whether as part of your monthly e-blast or by e-mailing a review request right after they make a purchase.
To generate reviews for your business, provide your customers with a direct link to your Facebook review area or Google Business page, whether as part of your monthly e-blast or by e-mailing a review request right after they make a purchase.

Have you ever acquired a new client via a referral? It can feel wonderfully effortless to have your best customers essentially drive business to your door by recommending you to family, friends, and colleagues. Instead of picking up a phone and calling half a dozen people for a recommendation, we survey our Twitter followers, monitor which brands our friends ‘like’ on Facebook, and look for reviews from trusted peers. And it’s becoming standard practice. In fact, Bazaarvoice—an online network allowing people to view and share authentic opinions, questions, and experiences about products—reports a whopping 84 per cent of Americans are more likely to check online reviews before buying something than they were just one year ago. (This number is likely similar in Canada.)

Remember, people shopping online are doing so in most cases because it’s quick and convenient. They also don’t want to be disappointed with their purchase or have to bother with a return if it can be avoided. They’re going to browse through the number of stars given to a place of business or product, as well as the comments people have posted. If they like what they see and as long as the overall review is good, they are going to be more receptive to engaging with your business. Time is a precious resource that people neither want to waste nor can afford to. Remember the last bad movie you suffered through and the two-plus hours of your life you’ll never get back? Bet you wish you had read the reviews first.

Reviews also build trust. Consumers are becoming more skeptical of what a brand says about their product. They need that information to be backed up by a third party. Great reviews can be the deciding factor when it comes to a customer picking you over your competitor. The two new Mexican restaurants you were torn between trying? I’m sure you picked the one with the best reviews.

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