One of the numerous fantastic things regarding the internet is the chance for individuals to express and share their opinions and feedbacks on almost anything. If you own and manage a particular business, it is a way for your clients and customers to comment on the services and products you offer. Customer feedbacks are usually posted on the web as online customer reviews either directly to the site or social pages of your business or to other websites aggregating online reviews.

How Significant are Online Customer Reviews?

In this modern digital age, online customer reviews have mainly taken the place of referrals through word of mouth. With the aid of internet, potential customers and buyers can now seek for online reviews shared by customers reviewing services and products offered by several companies worldwide. It is therefore fair to say that positive online customer reviews are of extreme importance. Positive customer reviews are like gold while the negative ones can be dangerous and toxic for your business.

Based on a new survey facilitated by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90% of selected respondents who remembered reading customer reviews online claim that positive online customer reviews have certain influence on buying decisions while 86% stated that purchasing decisions were also influenced by undesirable online reviews. Despite the fact that reflects the genuine importance of online customer reviews, there are still other businesses that underestimate the significance of these reviews.

Studies on small businesses and their corresponding approach to online customer reviews revealed that some business owners think that the web-based reviews systems are stacked next to them. A survey was conducted last year and the results of the “Small Business and Online Reviews Survey” were revealed and the perspectives of small business owners regarding online reviews were noted.

The survey includes topic on the perceptions and beliefs of business owners as to the importance of online reviews, the extent on where business owners ask and get reviews, if they are able to monitor and give response to these reviews and their stand whether these online reviews are fair or not.It was found out that increased number of business owners still do not see the importance of online customer reviews and are not receiving them. Some owners are also inactive in paying attention to reviews made by customers online.

The significant findings of the survey include the following:

  • Only half of owners of small business think that positive online customer reviews are important. Many owners are still not recognizing the significance of online reviews despite the purchasing decision of 90% customers being influenced by positive reviews and testimonial. (Source: 2013 Dimensional Research Survey)
  • Most of business owners are not asking or receiving online customer reviews. About 55% of business owners are not getting online reviews while one business out of five receives an average of one to five online reviews each month. Despite lower number of reviews small businesses receive, only about 13% of business owners approach their customers and clients about posting online reviews. The main reason cited is that business owners have not thought about this.
  • A considerable number of business owners are not monitoring or responding for customer online reviews. Though seven out of ten customers got more positive views on businesses and companies who are responding to online reviews, less than half of survey respondents which are about 43% who get reviews actually do this. About 68% of business owners also do not spend time in monitoring online reviews. Most just spend about one to five hours every month on this particular activity.
  • Owners of small businesses do not really effectively leverage online customer reviews. About 14% of respondents posted reviews to their site. The remaining business owners who receive reviews and who have a site do not really post this content.
  • Many owners of small business believe that the system for online reviews is unfair. More than 6 in 10 small business owners which is about 61% believe that review sites usually favor businesses that pay to promote or advertise with these businesses. About 50% of small business owners also said that they are impacted unfairly by negative comments and reviews as compared to bigger businesses.

About 20% of respondents contradicted this opinion. Moreover, 4 out of 10 respondents stated that online customer reviews are unfair because they cannot verify if customers leaving reviews are really actual customers.

Online Customer Reviews are Significant: Read How and Why

Enabling reviews to your site can actually be an imperative and beneficial tool towards helping clients and customers to shop and purchase more confidently. Online platforms now allow consumers to write reviews, rate products and services, include star ratings, pros and cons, comment, uses and even videos and images on a site. Online customer reviews are significant and these are as important as good product images and descriptions. As customers, the way towards making and sharing positive reviews is by determining what they are buying and next is to determine if it is ideal purchase or it will fulfill their needs. Both are essential in the shopping process.

Regardless of what industry you are in or size of your business you have, positive online customer reviews can dramatically improve brand and online visibility. Individuals have to face it, more and more people are searching over the internet and it pays if your business is backed up with good feedbacks and positive reviews. Spending more time online has become a norm so you need to take advantage of this in letting people know your stand.

If your business or company is able to generate positive reviews that other customers are raving about, then it is more likely to gain more new clients. Moreover, positive customer reviews also play essential role in improving search ranking. Online customer reviews play essential role in growing your business. If you are not generating positive reviews, then you might be missing out excellent marketing opportunities. Upon learning this, it can be said that online customer reviews have stake in your business success.