The holidays are just around the corner and to make the most out of the most wonderful (and lucrative) time of the year, it’s crucial that marketers understand the impact of local search. More than three-quarters of location searches on a smartphone result in visit to a physical store within a day, according to Google data.

To determine what gets to the top of those smartphone search engine results pages (SERP), Google takes about 200 ranking factors into account, such as the quality of content, page speed and customer reviews. But reviews provide more than an SEO boost. They also give you data about how to improve your business from the most valuable source: the customers themselves.

Content produced in association with Brandify.

Reviewing your areas for improvement

A review platform can automate the customer feedback process; monitor third-party sites such as Google and Yelp; and aggregate everything in one centralized place. That’s important because reviews are even more beneficial for you than they are consumers, 92% of whom will at least hesitate to buy a product if it doesn’t have any reviews.

Think of reviews as an advanced form of social listening, a way for you to pull back the curtain and find out exactly what your customers think, in their own words. That feedback is invaluable in identifying and addressing any operational inefficiencies.

One restaurant analyzed reviews across 200 locations, sending those related to food directly to the quality assurance department to make operational enhancements. This helped the brand implement better inventory planning to ensure items did not run out mid-service.

What are the common themes you’re seeing when analyzing your reviews? Where can you improve?

Reviews affect brand perception

One challenge customer reviews pose is just how many of them there are; a year and (Read more...) half ago, Yelp celebrated its hundred millionth review. Simply reading the vast number of reviews across multiple platforms can be overwhelming, without factoring in how time-consuming it is to manage and respond to them.

And responding is a must. Convince and Convert research found that more than half of consumers expect businesses to respond to their negative reviews; 21% expect a response within 24 hours.

With reviews being so important to people, negative ones obviously hurt your brand perception. This is multiplied if they are left without responses. Consumers are reading about other people’s bad experiences and on top of that, they’re getting the impression that you don’t care enough to address those concerns.

Making the most of your reviews

Working with a local review platform gives you the opportunity to take your reputation management to the next level, monitoring and addressing your reviews in a more seamless, speedy manner. 

More importantly, the right technology allows you to turn negatives into positives. Addressing consumers’ concerns quickly (and publicly) further builds the trust that makes reviews so important in the first place as people see your commitment to providing good, timely customer service.

And most importantly, you gain valuable insights into the issues that were causing the negative perception. Fixing the operational inefficiencies hurting your brand gives you the opportunity to improve your reputation among the customers who left reviews in the past and those who will leave them in the future.

Key takeaway

Hosting customers reviews on your website conveys a sense of trust from Google and other consumers alike. Inevitably, some of those reviews will be negative, which is a stumbling block considering 89% of consumers will stop doing business with a brand altogether after a bad experience.

But monitoring your reviews gives you an opportunity to turn negatives into positives, seeing what people are saying about your business and shooing its shortcomings.

To learn more about the relationship between reviews and relationship management, check out Brandify’s Reputation Management Case Study.

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