One of the most powerful forces to drive new customers to an existing business is word of mouth. Surveys indicate that 92% of us listen to and trust the recommendations of our friends and family when it comes to deciding whether or not we should do business with a company we haven’t dealt with before.
It makes sense. We expect that friends and family have our best interests at heart, so they wouldn’t send us to a business that they didn’t believe was good.
Here’s another interesting survey result. Over 70% of consumers trust the online reviews of local businesses that are left by complete strangers. This is somewhat surprising until you start thinking about the dynamics.
We’ve all suffered through poor service and bad products sold to us by shaddy or unscrupulous business people and sales staff. We seem to get satisfaction from telling everyone we know about bad businesses. On the other hand, we get a big kick out of letting people in our own private list of “Good Guys,” businesses and people that treat you well and provide full value. In fact, when we can tell others about a great business they never knew about, we feel a little bit like a hero. We have prevented them from getting taken in by a scam artist.
Online reviews are just this same process only written much larger. How about having the ability to warn hundreds of others away from the bad guys, and direct those same hundreds to the good guys. How great is that. And online reviews can really help local businesses. We know how many visitors and tourists come through Hastings and Trent Hills every year. Many of them have no idea where to go for meals, hardware, vehicle service or anything…but a lot of them use their smartphones and tablets to look online for recommendations. So let’s provide them with the info they need to trust our local establishments. If you can leave an honest positive review, go ahead and do it. But just be careful. Shading the truth or exaggerating how good a place is can have an opposite effect than the one you intended.
Imagine you’ve been driving in the car for 2 hours, the kids are cranky, the AC is busted, and all you want is to stop someplace in the Northumberland hills for a cool drink. You dig out your smartphone and look for lunch places. You read a glowing review about fresh, homemade iced tea and lemonade.
So you stop the car for a break. And find out the iced tea comes out of a can, the lemonade comes in a bottle, the service is poor, and the prices are high. Guess what kind of a scathing review you are going to leave. Angry, disappointed customers are more likely to leave a review than happy ones. And one bad review will take 4 or 5 good ones to erase.
So I encourage you to leave reviews for the good places you deal with. Good businesses deserve your business and support. Letting others in on how good they are is one of the best forms of support you can provide.
For a little more on reviews, you can go to my website Bootstrap Local Marketing