Your online reputation and online reviews

Previous surveys have revealed the very clear role that online reviews play during the decision making process. Customers tend to trust the reviews that they find online and especially those found on sites like Yelp!, Angie’s List and RipOff Report as if they were the opinions of their personal friends. New research has revealed that buyers are reading fewer reviews than before in order to make their decision.

In the past, potential customers may have researched your company, service or product more extensively by reading a number of reviews and related discussions online. Today, they tend to read significantly less reviews before deciding whether or not to make a certain purchase. What this means to the business owner is that they need to focus even more on their online reputation in the form of online reviews. One bad review on the right website can result in significant losses in terms of revenue and new customers.

It is also important to understand the mindset of the customer when they are exposed to both positive and negative opinions on the web. Basically, if they are researching a particular product or service, they most likely have already determined their needs. The potential customer is then at the stage of narrowing down their choices and making an actual purchase. This is make or break time and hence the crucial nature of online reviews.

In addition, as time goes by, our lives are becoming that much more demanding and time is a precious commodity. We don’t generally have too much time at our disposal in order to make a decision. Many products, offers, deals and general needs force customers to put a rush on their decisions. As a result, few customers actually go to the trouble of reading more than seven reviews on one particular product.

Another interesting trend in terms of online reviews is the word of mouth style of recommendations. More and more people are choosing to use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to let others know what they think. With this in mind, it’s also important to know that people are generally more inclined to complain than praise. Customers expect high levels of service but, if a business lets them down in the slightest, they have no problem ranting online as a form of revenge.

With all of these important factors in mind, it is vital for businesses to stay in the loop as far as online reviews are concerned. Set up as many alerts as possible and keep an eye on all the major review websites. Some bad reviews are easier to handle than others and the review website’s policies have a large role to play here. Many complain that reviews are tough to remove from sites like RipOff Report and Yelp! Others admit that truly seeking to resolve an issue reported on a site like Angie’s List was the key to getting that review removed in the end.

Do you know what your reputation is? Find out by clicking here.

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