Everybody’s a critic, especially now that it is easier than ever for customers to voice opinions online. However, how many of those online reviews are genuine? There is no doubt that in this new age run by technology, online reviews can either help or harm businesses of all types and sizes. Although some business owners may not believe online reviews are important enough to acknowledge, according to writer Myles Anderson from Brightlocal.com, the number of customers who read online reviews before visiting a business has increased from 88% in 2014 to 92% in 2015. Additionally, 40% of potential customers form an opinion for a business after reading just 1-3 reviews (Anderson). Needless to say, it is in every business owner’s best interest to focus on earning positive remarks from the right people. Many popular review sites have incorporated both customer and critic reviews, and now Google is joining the party. Beginning August 2016, business owners can choose to embed critic reviews inside their business listing. Critic reviews are placed among other essential information such as the business name, directions, hours, and phone number. This allows potential customers to receive all the information they need in one quick Google search.
Why include critic reviews in your business listing? As mentioned earlier, online reviews have an increasingly strong influence on consumers. Although customer reviews are typically more appealing to the average reader, reviews published by critics continue to prove their significance and provide businesses with in-depth, reliable, and accurate critiques.
Typically, when a curious potential customer searches reviews for your business, customer reviews are the first to list in the results. Despite review sites containing questionable reviews that seem to attack a specific worker, contain an uncomfortable number of spelling and grammatical errors, or aim to tarnish a business’s reputation out of revenge or rivalry, readers have a difficult time differentiating the real from the fake. These types of reviews are effective in painting a negative image of your business, regardless of the source. This is one reason why you would want the critique of a professional to be among the first potential customers read. Critics are more experienced and knowledgeable of the subject they are reviewing. In the hospitality industry, travel critics focus on providing comprehensive feedback on numerous aspects of their travel experience, including lodging. Critics have a deeper understanding of what a positive travel experience comprises of and will cover essential aspects of hotel stay as opposed to writing a heated complaint or empty review.
In addition to writing thorough reviews, critic assessments are more trustworthy than input by anonymous internet users. There are countless suspicious and fake customer reviews throughout the web. Promoting critic reviews under your business listing provides readers with authentic reviews from reliable reviewers. Over years of travel and reviewing, critics may not only build a reputation in the travel community, but also a following. Featuring reviews from reputable critics brings that following to your business. Customers who follow critics will trust the critic recommendations and base their opinion off of that of the noteworthy critic.
Needless to say, online reviews are important. Good reviews will aid in increasing business, while the converse is equally true. As a business owner, it is essential to embrace online reviews, read critic suggestions, respond to customer praises and complaints, and most importantly, make necessary changes to better improve customer experience. Following these steps will not only raise the number of positive online reviews, but also increase business.