The internet has taken over every part of our lives. It helps us connect with friends and family while providing information, access and entertainment. But one surprising thing that has happened in the past several years is the aggregated knowledge and wisdom that are review sites.

Yes, a lot of us ask a friend here and there what kind of vacuum to buy or who is the best dentist, but now it’s just as easy to Google the BEST vacuum, dentist, restaurant, or car dealership local to you. It’s true: we trust the internet like an old and dear friend, so it’s no wonder that we as consumers are putting our lives in the hand of ratings and reviews online.

Look Who’s Talking Now

If we as consumers are influenced by reviews online, we as business owners are directly affected. Review sites have gained importance over the past several years by a factor of over 19%. Everyone from Baby Boomers with discretionary income to Millennials are contributing to the popularity of review sites. In fact, when people were asked what is most important when choosing a service or professional, a recent study conducted by ReviewInc showed that 40% of those surveyed said they relied on review sites including Google, Facebook and Yelp to help determine which product or service they choose.

How Does This Affect Your Business?

If your business has ten locations or even one, chances are your business can be found online. Whether you like it or not, people are judging your business, often by a count of stars. This is your business reputation and it’s in the hands of the public where potential customers read these reviews, and choose your business over a competitor.

Even if your star rating is high, it does not mean that you are getting customers in the door. You are still competing with other like businesses in the virtual world and some of these businesses may have a higher star rating than your business, a larger review count, and a more established online presence.

Alternatively, let’s say that you are the business with the established online presence, however just one poor rating posted recently can directly affect your business in a negative way. Since most review sites have the option of showing the most recent reviews, customers may see the recent negative review as a change in the quality of your product or service and steer away from your business.

Time Is Money

Now that you know that your business has an online reputation to manage, there are a few other things to keep in mind. After you’ve established your online business presence and claimed all of your business pages, there’s a matter of management.

More and more, you’re engaging with customers on and offline. Following up with every single customer can be time-consuming, especially when you don’t always see all of the reviews posted all the time. This is an added (and necessary task) on your plate to deal with, and time is money.

The Solution: Review Management Software

Recent studies have illustrated just how critical the right reviews are when it comes to the revenue and growth of a company. As we say at ReviewInc, “Negative reviews hurt emotionally and financially and they are not going away on their own!” The solution to this problem is none other than review management software.

There are plenty of sufficient review management systems out there, however your question should be, how can the software accommodate your need?

Age Is But a Number

In our last post, we discussed how age and gender affected consumerism. Women over the age of 55, the largest consumer group worldwide, are a part of the group that read the most reviews. Millennials, often described as born between 1980 and 1996, makes their choices through conversations. That’s why it is so important to not just be visible online, but to have a conversation and connect with those customers leaving and looking for reviews.

Review management software should meet this need. This software should let you see all of the reviews from review sites pulled in under one main dashboard, and should also allow you to respond easily with just one click.

Engage!

These days, people don’t want to be told what they want. They want to choose for themselves. This is the case with older generations but is especially the case for the Millennial Generation as they reach their peak consumer spending.

But before they even leave a review, why not connect with your customer before they even leave a review? Great software should also be able to allow you to upload contacts or automatically pull in contacts from CRMs so you can easily message customers and see what they have to say. Once you’ve seen this feedback, you can engage with them in a way that will positively impact your business.

The Cherry on Top

It’s not just seeing everything and engaging. Review management software should also have additional components to make managing your reputation easier. For example, being able to create testimonial pages for your business website and Facebook page highlight all of that positive private feedback you’ve been getting in the platform.

But there should be so much more reputation software should do. If you are on the go or tend to use a tablet, you should be able to see and do everything in the platform. It is important to find something that doesn’t just provide a “light” app but allows you 24/7 secure and stable access whether you’re in your office or on the go.

Where Can You Find This Software?

Luckily, there is a review management software available that does all of these things and so much more. It also comes with professional reputation management experts available during regular business hours. Want more information? Interested in a free consultation with an expert? Click below!