Online review platforms have become a resource for millions of consumers over the last twenty years. Increasingly, people look at and rely on these platforms before making a purchase or financial decision. In fact, 95% of customers now read online reviews prior to buying a product or service.

These review platforms, which include sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Amazon, are not just supplementary resources. Customers have indicated that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Research shows that 84% of consumers said they take the review scores they find online as seriously as a suggestion from a friend or family member.

In response to the popularity of these platforms, businesses of all sizes are attempting to incorporate online reviews into their marketing strategies. This isn’t simply a popularity contest for businesses to see who can get the most likes or the highest star ranking. Online marketing is integral to the future of business marketing in many ways.

Increasing revenue is one way online marketing, specifically a presence on review platforms, is key for businesses, from local shops to multinational corporations. What’s not obvious, however, is how listening to customers online can increase income.

This blog post discusses how actively listening to customer reviews online can benefit your business’s revenue stream. It will also briefly explain how Weave enables your business to pay close attention to customer feedback and how this careful listening can simultaneously secure and expand profits.

Online Reviews Increase Visibility

Listening to customers on review platforms boosts the online presence of businesses. If businesses only try to accumulate as many reviews as possible without paying attention to the substance of comments, they could increase visibility, but it’s less likely that reviews will skew positive. Improving online visibility is a balancing act.

Review sites like Google make businesses with a high number of positive reviews more visible by featuring them more prominently in search engine results. So, when individual consumers look up local businesses on a search engine, they see those organizations near them that have done the work of gathering reviews, providing effective service, and responding to customer concerns.

Without asking for reviews and then following up by checking review sites for new posts from real customers, it’s difficult for businesses to establish this sort of presence. By paying attention to what customers are saying online, your business is engaging with a powerful marketing and advertising tool. Garnering higher online visibility helps get the attention of potential customers and creates opportunities for a bigger revenue stream.

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Reviews Build Trust

Reviews build trust in ways that other forms of advertising can’t. Testimonials on your website or in a print ad don’t have the same weight as those on review sites. People trust review sites, and these sites are generally vigilant about monitoring their forums for fake or libelous comments.

If customers are posting their honest opinions of your business on review sites, they deserve professional responses from your team. Listening to the opinions of customers online shows that your business cares about what its clients think. Customers trust businesses that care about them as people, not sources of profit.

You can thank customers for overwhelmingly positive reviews or inquire about what went wrong enough to inspire a negative review. These types of online conversations can improve loyalty by developing a relationship with customers beyond typical interactions in the office. Going the extra mile by talking to clients online, if done with taste and restraint, demonstrates the type of consideration that builds trust.

Platforms Provide Social Proof

Review sites are platforms for providing the social proof that we once got almost exclusively by word-of-mouth. Now that most people in the developed world live in major urban areas, a business’s reputation depends on cyber opinions almost as much as in-person talks with peers. As previously mentioned, over 80% of consumers trust the social proof on review sites as much as personal recommendations.

Businesses should listen to and read what’s being shared about them online. Paying attention to what consumers consistently value about your business is an opportunity to put more emphasis on strengths and eliminate or mitigate weaknesses. Working on these strengths and weaknesses then incites other customers to provide further social proof in new reviews.

Humans are social creatures. When they hear or read a positive opinion about your business, it affects them. Your goal as a business should be to reach a critical mass of social proof on review sites that secures a constant influx of new customers and coinciding profits.

The Regulatory Power of Review Sites

Listening to customers on review platforms lets you and your team stay aware of how your business is being discussed in public places. Inevitably, some of this discussion will be negative.

That’s fine. Those businesses with exclusively positive reviews can come across as potentially fraudulent. It’s important to acknowledge and engage with customers leaving negative feedback by apologizing for mistakes and asking for customer thoughts about how to improve.

Paying close attention to online reviews also gives your team the ability to recognize false or defamatory comments. As you well know, the internet is full of trolls and other shady characters. If your business is listening, it can catch these fake or slanderous reviews and report them to review site administration for investigation and, hopefully, removal.

Reviews Generate Creativity

We all have blindspots. Businesses are no different. There may be opportunities for improvement within your business that you and your staff are unable to see from your particular vantage points.

Listening to customers can open your eyes to needed changes in your policy and procedure. Running a business isn’t only about efficiency. It’s also vital for your business to continually develop creative approaches to the service it renders.

Online reviews can be a source of inspiration and new ideas to be implemented by you and your team. Whether these ideas are as simple as making a small change to office hours or as major as opening a new location in a specific part of town, they’re often hard to get by just chatting with customers in the office. Review platforms can spawn creativity that opens new avenues for profit-making.

More Conversion Opportunities

All these aspects of listening to customers on review sites give your business better opportunities to turn interested consumers into loyal customers.

A bigger online presence means your website gets more traffic and your office gets more phone calls and text inquiries about first appointments. Engaging with customers regarding their reviews builds trust by demonstrating responsiveness to client opinions. This engagement also provides the social proof that establishes credibility in cyberspace and at a local level.

When businesses listen to customers online, they also stay in touch with problematic aspects of the conversation that might be unfairly affecting their online reputation. If criticism or praise is authentic, it can show businesses the way forward into innovative policies, better products, and safer service.

The fruit of listening to and participating in online conversations is greater opportunity for conversions and perfection of existing processes.

How Weave Lets Your Business Listen to Customers

Your business is probably already engaged with online reviews, even if it’s only on a very basic level. Regardless of your degree of involvement with review platforms, Weave’s review software is capable of further optimizing how your business listens to customer reviews.

Weave optimizes your review gathering process by making it easy for your team to send out review requests directly following appointments. You can’t listen to reviews if your customers aren’t posting on review sites. Our request text templates provide customers with a link to established review sites like Google and Facebook.

Once your clients share their thoughts online, our software gives you the ability to monitor what conversations are being had on various sites through one convenient dashboard. Your business will be notified about all new posts, allowing you to keep tabs on the customer experience and engage in discussions about your practice. You can promote and share especially glowing reviews and report reviews that seem to come from questionable sources.

Ideally, this process leads to current customers gaining a renewed appreciation for what your business does well and to interested consumers contacting your team online, by text, or by phone. Weave’s other hardware and software components are designed to streamline your communication with customers at every point of their journey with your business.

By increasing your status, loyalty, and intrigue on review sites, your business secures its customer base and creates opportunities for growth. When growth is scaled properly, it means higher profits.

Schedule your free demo with Weave today to learn more about how our business toolbox gives you the opportunity to gain from listening to customers on review platforms.