It should be common sense to business owners to care about the reputation of their business. In the end, whenever a consumer has a choice between two businesses, it is the reputation that will be deciding factor. A company can have a reputation for low prices, good customer service, high-quality products, etc. However, a business’s reputation isn’t just about what they tell their customers; it’s also about what the customers are telling each other in face-to-face conversations and in online discussions. The growing importance of what is being said online to a business’s reputation can’t be stressed enough. Here are eight relationship management statistics that no business owner should ignore.
According to a 2013 BrightLocal study, 85% of consumers say that they read online reviews for local businesses prior to doing business with them. This percentage has been growing steadily for the past few years, so online reviews have only increased in importance.
The same study stated that 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more. This percentage grew by nearly 50% in just one year, so businesses that invest in reputation management are seeing a good return in terms of improved consumer feelings about the company.
According to a BrightLocal study on local search habits, 37% of consumers used internet to find local businesses at least one time per month, and just 5% of consumers had not used the internet to find a local business in the past year. Ensuring that positive information is readily available is key to the online strategy of any small business.
Though most consumers don’t do it for everything they buy, at least 50% of consumers provide product feedback on social networks according to Monetate.
Maintaining an accurate and engaging ecommerce site is important, but a survey of US internet users found that consumer reviews are trusted 12 times more than descriptions from manufacturers as reported by econsultancy.
According to 2013 research from Reputation X, 66 percent of internet users believe that search engines are fair. This means that the majority of web surfers won’t question the validity or trustworthiness of negative information that ranked high on search engines results.
The same report also noted that about 75 percent of surfers don’t go past the first page and that with paid listings, only the top two spots of organic search results are viewed by more than 10 percent of all searchers.
In a final telling statistic, one report stated that 92% of people do some form of online research before making a purchase and that 70% of people trust the opinions of stranger who leave reviews. This makes it costly for a business to ignore their online reputation and reviews.
As the above statistics should prove, monitoring and maintaining a company’s online reputation can make a huge difference to their bottom line. Online reputation management should be a key part of any internet marketing strategy. Consider this: when people are searching for a specific local company, they often have already decided what their needs are and only looking for information to help them make a final decision on where to buy. For example, someone who searches for a local plumber already knows they need a plumber, they are looking for information on a local plumber with a good reputation (e.g. price, skill level, etc.). A good reputation management strategy will ensure that consumers can easily find favorable information about a company and convert website visits into sales.