Growing your business

The Importance of Online Reviews

01 October 2019
3 minute read

Simon Jenner

Consumer choice has increased at a staggering amount over the past decade or so. With numerous establishments popping up in every sector of every industry each year, and online providers providing accessible options to compare businesses, the competition is fierce and it remains a challenge for SMEs to stay afloat in such a bustling environment. 2018 stats show that the number of UK businesses sits at around 5.7 million! This is a huge statistic and an expansion of 2 million since the previous year, not to mention that 99.9% of these are classed as SMEs. Since this figure shows no sign of decreasing anytime soon, it can be concluded that SMEs must learn to adapt amidst the crowded infrastructure of UK businesses. And a sure-fire way to do this, is by being vigilant and attentive to online reviews.
 
Constructive Criticism
While positive reviews are a lovely pick-me-up for any and all SMEs, negative reviews can be as abundant and effective as a sweet 4- or 5-star affirmation. Data gathered by SmallBusiness.co.uk shows that 84 per cent of shoppers said they would use a retailer again if they responded to a negative review by addressing their concerns. While a further 70 per cent also said retailers could win them back with the offer of a refund, discount or freebie. Customer retention by giving some attention. 
So, don’t rely on positive affirmation to prove that your business is bomb, work on what isn’t and respond to negative feedback. After all, that’s what feedback’s for.
 
Marketing Methods
This may come across a tad obvious, but displaying your business along with a fancy 4 to 5-star rating is a proven way of getting new customers to your door. TheUKDomain.uk reported, in 2018, that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations! That’s not only a reason to up your volume of positive reviews but also some incentive to get your business on as many review sites as possible. So, get up on Google Reviews, Trip Advisor, Trustpilot, Feefo etc. Whatever the site, it’s worth it to stay insight and visible to the masses!
 
Being Human
Finally, if none of this has spurred the notion of the importance of online reviews, then maybe this point will. Reacting and monitoring online reviews can help your business seem more human! Seems a moot point, right? But in this day and age where everything is digitally skewed and transactions can seem more a point of sale between you and a machine than person to person, it’s easy to lose sight of what makes us human: Communication, interaction, empathy.

So, take this as motive to inform your future online endeavours, as well as your customer service values in general. Respond, interact and make your customers feel like they’re talking to real people. This is what SMEs do best, especially when facing the corporate mega-companies of today. Being transparent and earnest is a way to combat such an overflowing market. No one wants to feel like they’re talking to a robot...

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