Recently, I was looking for a kennel to use for my dog, Hazel. As a first-time, anxiety-ridden dog owner, I wanted to do ample research to find the best kennel in the area.
I hit the internet looking for kennels that met my high standards and realized most of my research centered around the online reviews customers left for local kennels.
There were four main questions I was aiming to answer with my research:
Which kennel provides the best experience?
Hazel deserves the best. Yes, she eats every TV remote I own and digs holes in my brand-new yard. But, I need to know the staff is outstanding, there will be quality one-on-one time, and that she will be happy while I am away. I was looking for kennels with the highest number of positive reviews and also what those customers were saying.
How do they handle negative feedback?
If I am placing my dog in the care of a stranger, I want to know what other client’s experiences were like, even if they were not positive. What was the situation? Did the business owner respond quickly and appropriately? Could I be putting Hazel in a negative situation or was Fluffy’s dog owner just unreasonable? Let’s be honest, sometimes that’s the case.
How many reviews does the business have?
You can tell when a business has family and friends write in courtesy reviews. I looked for variety in the comments as well as consistencies with the customer service experience. A larger pool of reviews makes positive reviews even stronger.
How recent are the reviews?
A lot can change in 4 years, so I was looking for businesses who had recent reviews. If the last review was from 2013, it could mean a dip in customer satisfaction, or perhaps the business is no longer operating.
Although it may seem like I am an overprotective dog mom (which I am), I am not alone.
92% of consumers read online reviews and 85% trust an online review compared to a personal recommendation.
So what does this mean for your business?
Reviews are important for a variety of reasons, but at the top of the list is consumer trust and local search results.
During my own search, if the first site that came up didn’t show reviews, I was more inclined to click further down the page to a kennel that had multiple 5-star reviews. The higher the rating, the more credible and trustworthy the business appeared.
Keeping this behavior in mind, businesses should be encouraging their customers to leave reviews on a variety of platforms: Google, Yelp, Facebook, and any industry-specific review sites.
Alternatively, they should be responding to reviews and actively engaging with customer on review sites both for positive or negative comments. This shows a potential customer you care about the total customer experience - including their feedback and opinions.
Another perk to keeping on top of reviews? SEO ranking.
Reviews account for about 9% of the total ranking factors for SEO. Google favors sites that have higher ratings because Google loves unique and relevant content.
The bottom line is, it’s important to value your business’ reviews.
With the majority of online users starting the sales funnel process through online research, it’s important that you have a strong, positive review presence.
The process can be time consuming, so keep watch for our blog on 4 tools that help you manage the review process.
Want more information on how reviews can help your company? We have a strategy to help you with that. Contact us today to learn more.