Before purchasing an item of importance, most people take the time to obtain information about purchase experiences from the experiences of other people through online reviews. That used to look like chatting with your neighbor over the fence. In this global economy, however, our neighbor probably has the same or less influence than an anonymous consumer located somewhere across the country. Online reviews have replaced the neighbor’s fence.
As a business owner, reviews are pure gold. Your customer can decide to share their experience with others anonymously or through direct communication through friends via social media. Soliciting positive online reviews can be time consuming and not always fruitful. SEOptiks has software in development called LocalOptiks that will assist business owners in gathering reviews from customers immediately after a positive experience while it is still fresh in their minds.
Not all reviews are created equal. There is something to be said for reading reviews from people we do not know. Why would I look online and not just ask a friend?
Value of online reviews from an anonymous source
Nothing to gain
Would you accept the validity of a review on a new restaurant if you knew the review came from the owner? Of course not. But you would believe what I have to say about the restaurant if I had been a patron on opening night. You and I would be on even ground because I would not be motivated to be dishonest with you.
Typically, online reviews are posted because of a poor experience, an excellent experience, or by someone who appreciates the value, or intended true value of the item purchased and has a genuine inclination to assist others with the same appreciation. There is a desire by most reviewers to contribute to the overall consumer experience and be thought of an an expert in the process.
Disadvantages of online reviews from an anonymous source
Nothing to lose
Disappointment breeds contempt. We usually give a business more than one chance. There is very a low expectation of quality service and product in the marketplace. It seems rare to have an excellent first experience. When things go awry it can prove very bad for a business if they failed to handle a customer complaint properly or made too many mistakes in the order process. A poor review can just be the result of a bad day.
Not always an honest review.
You really never can tell if a reviewer is a former disgruntled employee or the owner’s mother. Most review sites offer some kind of filter to allow you to sort through by relevance to what you want to see. The idea is to look for an overall consistency in ratings and comments.
Where to find reviews for a business
If you do not spend a lot of time on review sites but want a quick way of finding out what others are saying about a business, try typing the business name into Google. You will probably find information on the business through Google reviews, Social Media reviews, and in some directory listings.
I work in Nashua but I live elsewhere. I need to get a new pair of dress shoes and I have time at the end of the day, so I go to Google and type in “shoe store nashua nh”. There is only an hour so I do not want to waste my time. Checking the reviews I see some for Alec’s Shoes, a business right down the street from where I work.
Alec’s overall rating is 4.7 out of 5 stars. They are also closest to the office. Notice that Alec’s has 192 reviews versus Bob’s 37 and Payless’ 6 with an overall rating of 3.2. Google loves Google so their reviews will be an important factor in ranking. It will also give you some insight into their customer service through ratings, listed right in their maps listing.
Social Media Reviews and Directory Listings
Just a little further down the listings you will see a link to Alec’s Facebook page and their MapQuest directory listing. There are references to their ratings on those sites. Google includes the ratings on social media in its ranking algorithm. Alec’s Facebook has another 274 reviews, and 62 more on MapQuest. With a large number of reviews, it is easier to find some consistent patterns of quality product and service.
Get the Business Tools to Help Obtain More Positive Reviews
As a business owner, you want as many positive reviews as possible on credible sites. Take advantage of a business tool in development right now. LocalOptiks is currently being tested in Beta by SEOptiks. Your company can use this app to obtain valuable online reviews. Let us know if you would like to participate.
The Team at SEOptiks