Recently, many companies have been losing the trust of consumers. In today’s day and age, one distasteful incident can quickly go viral and cause enormous repercussions for the company (think United Airlines). One way that companies can try to maintain customer trust is by being transparent and encouraging open, honest feedback. Michelle Manafy of Inc. claims that customer reviews are so important to building customer trust that they should be widely encouraged despite the obvious risk of negative reviews. Manafy cites these four reasons:
Most consumers read reviews and use them to guide purchasing decisions: Recent research has determined that 82% of Americans consult online ratings and reviews when buying something for the first time, 40% almost always consult online reviews when buying something new, 46% believe that customer reviews help “a lot” in making them feel confident about their purchases, and 45% use their cell phone in stores to look up online reviews of products they are considering.
Online reviews and comments boost search engine optimization (SEO): Search engines tend to favor websites that have frequently-changing content, which means that frequent customer reviews posted on your site will help move your site up in the search rankings and be seen by more people.
Reviews can identify mistakes so that you can fix them: Negative reviews can be extremely beneficial to your business when they point out specific problems in your product or service. Once problems are identified, you can make sure that they are fixed and you can then communicate the improvements you made in the reviews section to show customers that you are responsive to their feedback.
Reviews provide you with a public opportunity to get things right the second time: If your company made a huge mistake and the customer leaves a terrible review, you have the chance to quickly respond to that customer and go above and beyond to make things up to them. If that customer or others are impressed by your response to the bad situation, they will be likely to do business with you in the future.
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