By: Osimen Amos O. Dominion
HOW ONLINE REVIEWS CAN GROW OR DESTROY ANY SMALL BUSINESS
Starting a business is tough. But what’s even more challenging, is growing and sustaining a successful new business. This sometimes frustrating process largely involves long hours of work, prospect chases, team brainstorming sessions, and a lot of trials and errors.
While many small business owners go through the entrepreneurial process, only a few turn out successful, and as such, must put in their best to ensure they only achieve more growth and nothing less.
Growing a successful business is an applaudable feat, but can be short-lived if the startup makes some dire mistakes. These mistakes can determine the short-term or long-term future of any business, and any entrepreneur who takes them for granted unconsciously drives his or her startup to the gutter.
Of all these mistakes (to be discussed in a later article) that can end a business’s journey, a dangerous one every entrepreneur needs to beware of, is “taking online reviews for granted”!
These are consumer reviews that are expressed in comments or ratings made by any individual that is not directly involved with your business. These reviews are written by people that have either previously purchased an item from your business or have experienced your company’s service one way or the other.
The comments left by these individuals appear on highly popular and reputable review sites and have a lot to say about the way every business treats their customers.
Why You Should Take Online Reviews Seriously?
When customers need a product or service, they either buy from a business they’re already used to or try out a new competitor around the block. Before they patronise this new business, a lot of people spend a considerable amount of time trying to read up about them on the internet; especially when they’d have to pay for their products or services online.
The negative effect of this consumer behaviour on businesses is that any coy with a bad online reputation on a popular review site would get a lot of turn offs, and subsequently far lesser sales.
The power consumers have been given through the internet has created a dangerous vetting process for small businesses who have poor online reputations. This means that if the online reviews about your business are sad, terrible, or non existent, whatever growth your small business may have experienced, would eventually come crumbling, since it would get increasingly harder for new customers to trust you over the internet.
With a highly driven data centric world, having a compelling online reputation is key to your business growth and success.
You can start by listing your business on popular online review sites monitoring them to understand your target market’s reactions to the services your close competitors are offering, and also responding & trying to make it up to angry customers who leave bad comments and ratings about your business online.
By paying close attention to your online reputation and trying to make the best of the reviews you get, you make prospects researching your business on the internet trust you more and feel better connected to the way you handle customer complaints and compliments in the public view.