You’re planning a trip to visit somewhere that you have never been. Like most people, you go online and start searching for hotels in the area. You see one that looks good, right where you want to be, and the rate is exactly what you have budgeted. You get excited, because who wants to sit online and look for hotels all day?
You look a little further at your hotel, the pictures sure do look nice, but there’s a problem. You just noticed that the hotel has a 3.4 star review average. You start reading through the reviews. Some are good, but not recent. The recent ones – well, not so good. Dirty rooms, loud guests, rude clerks and so on. You now go ahead and book the room anyway, right?
Did the Reviews Matter?
I would say in this case, I personally would not book the room. The reviews DID matter and I would keep looking. As a small business owner, I never understand when another business owner does not care about their online reputation. It seems to be more common with the ‘older’ business owners I meet with. You know, the ones that still use dialup internet… kidding. But you know what I mean. There’s a whole generation that did not grow up with today’s technology.
There’s also a generation that lives on today’s technology, and to them, reviews matter! But aren’t most reviews fake? Some are for sure, and there’s not much we can do about it. It’s true that a business could pump up their reviews with fake profiles, making them look better than they are. It’s also true that a competitor (a dirty competitor) could leave bad reviews that are fake, to make their competition look bad. It’s a balance.
When I shop online and have 2-3 choices narrowed down, the reviews often make the final decision for me. A recent study from BrightLocal determined the following:
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
- Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business
- 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year
- 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars
- 80% of 18-34 year olds have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55
- 91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews
My Customers Are Too Busy to Leave Reviews
We live in a busy world and people just don’t have time to leave a review. People often do not go out of their way to help others either, they are tuned in to radio WIIFM (what’s in it for me). But here’s a funny thing – if you ask someone for help they are much more likely to help you! In fact, people often WILL go out of their way to help someone if they are asked. So are you asking your customers/clients/patients for reviews?
It’s Awkward to Ask
Yes, I will admit that it can be awkward to ask for a review. Like most people, I love going to the dentist. I would love it even more if when I stood up from the chair, dizzy with a numb mouth if my dentist said: Hey Scott, be sure to go on Google and give me a review, mmkay?
But what if the next day I received an email from my dentist’s office thanking me for coming in. What if there was a link that invited me to rate my experience. You know, the receptionist was so friendly. The dentist had a nice chairside manner and did not drill through my face, so I think I will go out of my way to let them know I felt good about the visit. Boom! Mission accomplished.
A smart business asks for feedback and places great value on what their customer/clients/patients have to say. A business needs to constantly be improving and looking for potential problems to fix. If you are a small business owner, I would strongly suggest that you go online and look at how your business appears.
What will people see when they Google you to get your address or phone number? If a potential client is choosing between you and two competitors, what will make their final decision?
If you’re not sure where to even start, we can help! Just ask.