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Did you know that 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they would a recommendation from a personal friend? Today’s buyers crave third-party validation from others that a product or service is credible, which is why online feedback sites play such a critical role in the purchase decision.

As a business owner, online reviews can help you manage your online reputation, address problems, and continuously improve your brand. The information found in customer reviews will make you aware of the perception of your business, which will help to ensure that you’re putting forth the right image. If you’re experiencing a decline in website traffic or lower demand for a particular product or service, it may be indicative of a negative customer review.

Here are three reasons why this feedback should be a priority for your business:

1. Consumer trust in online reviews is increasing. More consumers are turning to online reviews before making a purchase decision, and the number of online review sites are increasing as a result. It’s human nature that consumers want to know what their peers think about products or services before they commit to making a purchase. Your sales team can also benefit from using these to validate your claims and understand weaknesses in your competitor’s offering.

2. They benefit organic SEO. The more online reviews that your business earns, the higher search engines will rank your website in local search. Of course, positive reviews will be most beneficial to your search ranking. A higher search ranking will lead more prospective buyers to learn about your products and services bringing them closer to the point of purchase.

3. Customer reviews allow you to build a credible brand. Customers want to know that you are a business that they can trust. This is supported by reviews that validate your product quality or service capabilities. The more review posts your business earns, the more credible your business will be in the eyes of the consumers you want to sell to. Linking online reviews to your social media profiles will also increase transparency and encourage more customers to leave their reviews. When you do receive negative reviews, obviously, you need to deal with them promptly and professionally to demonstrate that you value your customer’s opinion and want to work hard to earn their trust.

As the old adage says, people buy from people they like and people they trust. This is why any business stands to gain by implementing a review strategy to earn the right to show people how likeable you and your offerings are!

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