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How online reviews affect your current customers

April 9, 2012 1 comment

Sure, small businesses must be aware about all online customer reviews, because they are the first impression that a potential new customer gets of your business. But existing customers? They already know you. Surely your online reviews don’t matter to them. Yeah, well, that is what I once thought too, until a friend of mine related a story that taught me otherwise.
I was talking with a friend of mine who owns a local business and he wanted to know how important online reviews are for existing customers, but the reason he was asking was prompted by something that he did when he was acting as a customer to another business.
As he told his story to me, he wanted to buy some stones to be delivered to his home, something he has done a few times. He always uses the same business because he thinks they have a low price, but because he uses them only once a year, he never remembers their phone number. He used to look them up in the Yellow Pages, but this year he searched for their name online to get the phone number.
He isn’t sure what site he landed on. It might have been Yellowpages online or a Google Place Page or something else, but he remembers what he saw: a long list of naegative reviews along with the phone number. He started reading them, and as he did, he said to himself, “Oh yeah, that has happened to me.” And, “Yeah, he has a low price but he always delivers a few days late.” And, “Yeah, I have sometimes had to call him to remind him about my order.”
He then asked himself, “Is the lower price really worth it?” It was one thing when he thought that he had perhaps just caught them on a bad day a few times, but when he gets confirmation that what he has experienced is the norm, and that he very well ought to expect to happen again this time, he asked himself if it was worth it.
And then he decided, “No, it’s not worth it.” And he called someone else.
I had frankly never thought through this kind of scenario, but I have to admit it sounds very common to me. As more and more people use Google as a phone book, and as the ratings and review sites land at the top of the search results, it is easy to see how even existing customers will be swayed by ratings and reviews.
So, add this story to your list of reasons why ratings and reviews are important. Remember that the way you treat your customers matters every single day, and that you must pay attention to what is said online and make improvements to retain your customers as well as to attract new ones

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