Why are Online Ratings and Reviews Important for Your Reputation?
A positive online reputation is one of the most powerful marketing instruments 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 and competitive advantages — especially local companies can benefit massively from this. Therefore, it makes strategic sense to develop a long-term online reputation strategy and to implement corresponding evaluation processes in the company.
Why are online rating and reviews important?
Good online 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.
More and more consumers read online reviews. This is also related to consumers’ increasing online searches for local businesses. 86% of consumers actively read online reviews — this means that more and more people search and read regularly. This shows that there is a growing habit amongst consumers to proactively search for reviews, which is encouraging for companies with a positive online reputation. In recent years, Google has put more and more emphasis on reviews as a factor for good ranking.
The growing number of online reviews and rating platforms brings enormous benefits to both consumers and companies actively engaged in reputation marketing. Online ratings have a positive impact on click rates in search results in relation to online searches and can have a positive effect on local rankings.
How can you generate ratings and get 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 ratings that customers can leave on their own site, so-called First Party Reviews, a rating process for Third Party Reviews (e.g. for Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.) can also be implemented on their own site.
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 amongst the most important rating platforms for local companies. In addition, industry-specific rating platforms can be listed.
3. Send emails — the classic way
It can be that simple! Writing a nice email to a customer asking 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.
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. Regardless of 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.