The Importance of Online Evaluations and Online Reputation Management for Your Business
A positive online reputation is one of the most powerful marketing tools for a company. It creates trust with new potential customers and strengthens trust with existing customers. Other positive effects include strengthening the brand, better rankings as well as competitive advantages. Local companies can benefit massively from this. It therefore makes strategic sense to develop a long-term online reputation strategy and to implement corresponding evaluation processes in the company.
Why are online evaluations important?
Good and high rankings do not mean much if you have a bad online reputation. A positive online reputation is one of the most powerful marketing tools for a company to convince new customers to contact them. The evidence found in ratings and star ratings helps consumers complete their search process better and make decisions faster and with greater confidence than ever before. The growing number of online ratings and rating platforms brings enormous benefits to both consumers and companies actively engaged in reputation marketing. In addition to that, online ratings have a positive influence on click rates in search results in relation to online searches and can have a positive impact on local rankings.
In the meantime, more and more consumers read online reviews. This is also related to consumers’ increasing online searches for local businesses. Here, consumers often see reviews in search results or in the Google Knowledge Panel.
86% of consumers actively read online reviews. This shows that there is a growing habit among consumers to proactively search for reviews, which is encouraging for companies with a positive online reputation.
Google has been placing more and more emphasis on reviews in recent years. Reviews from third-party review sites are displayed in the Local Knowledge Panel (one-box). More than ever, people trust online ratings.
78% say they trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Nevertheless, some consumers are still skeptical. Some are concerned about fake reviews. 19% of people will only trust opinions if they consider them authentic. The authenticity of reviews is an important factor here. If consumers believe that a review is “fake” or “too good to be true”, they will take this into account and it may influence their decision.
How can you generate ratings and receive customer feedback?
As you can see, online reviews play an extremely important role in building a positive online reputation for a company, so you can attract new customers and retain existing customers. But how can local companies generate ratings?
There are countless ways to get real and honest reviews from customers. The simplest and most practical ones are as follows:
1. Just ask the customers!
This is the most trivial, but also the most important tip. In practice, it is often observed that companies do not actively ask customers for reviews and often do not have a review process implemented in general or on the website.
2. Implement a rating process on the website
In addition to reviews that customers can leave on their own page, so-called First Party Reviews, a review process for Third Party Reviews (e.g. for Google, Facebook, Yelp, Jameda etc.) can also be implemented on your own page.
The easiest way to do this is to create a subpage that lists the most important rating portals for the local company and links to them. This has several advantages. Via a link or the menu navigation the customer can go directly to a rating page. Here it is recommended to list the most important rating platforms for the respective company. In 95% of cases, Google and Facebook are among the most important rating platforms for local companies. In addition, industry-specific rating platforms can be listed.
For example, for doctors and therapists it would be Jameda, for restaurants it would be Yelp and TripAdvisor. The link to the respective platform can be designed in such a way that the customer can access the ratings directly and does not have to search for a long time to find the exact place where he can rate.
3. Send emails — the classic way
It can be that simple! Writing a nice email to a customer asking them how satisfied they are with the service is a great way to get feedback and ratings. Here you can send a review link to the review page described under point 2.
4. Reply to all reviews
In general there is one more important thing to say — you should respond to all reviews. To the good, bad and unhelpful ones. All are important and must be heard. No matter how long the answer text is, it indicates that the customer’s opinions are important to the company. An answer should ideally be given within 24 hours.