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The power of the consumer review in building trust

The nature of consumer reviews is fast dictating whether or not customers will be driven in or out of your business. Simon Carson has some tips for using these trusted resources to your advantage.

How much do you value consumer reviews of your business?

Despite reviews traditionally being limited to restaurants and film and music critics, the arrival of the internet and review sites has empowered the general public to have their say across a plethora of sectors including local businesses, services and consumer products – power has indeed opened up to the people. Consumer ratings and reviews are now the second most trusted information sources for purchases, just behind word of mouth communication.

So how important is a consumer review to your business?

Consumer reviews are invaluable when it comes to driving customer traffic and sales. Figures from TrueLocal show that by encouraging people to review your business on your TrueLocal listing, your listing will receive four times the number of visits than a listing without reviews. TrueLocal listings consisting of more than ten reviews receive up to an impressive 20 times more traffic than a listing with no reviews.

Recent reviews are also more likely to produce more page views, with businesses that are reviewed within the last month receiving twice the amount of traffic compared to those with reviews older than three months.
It’s a really simple concept – The more reviews you have the more traffic you will attract.

So how can a small business use consumer reviews to their advantage? Or rather, how do you ensure that the types of reviews that you are receiving are positive?

The bottom line is consumers trust each other more than they trust a business. Thus, building trust with a consumer will be reliant upon your ability to build credibility with their peers. This can only be accomplished through responding to feedback – be it positive or negative -and engaging with your customers online.

The best way to ensure that your customers write about having a quality experience is to provide one through quality customer service; engaging with your consumer is imperative. In the unlikely event you receive a customer complaint or negative review, it also becomes crucial that you always respond quickly to this feedback in a constructive, objective manner and take their criticisms on board so they know they are being heard.

Encouraging customers to provide feedback can be tricky, but there are subtle ways that can be effective. For instance, a single line on the back of a business card or the bill, or a note at the door on the way out is nice ways to prompt customers to share their experience.

Modern consumers are becoming more empowered when it comes to deciding amongst themselves how to rate a business. We are living in an age where everyone and anyone can voice their opinions via global outlets such as social networking sites, review websites, including TrueLocal and blogs.

Because of this, businesses must face the reality that in order to maintain credibility and brand loyalty, they must actively engage with the online reviewer.