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Reputation Marketing News

Are Customer Reviews Important, Especially For Restaurants ?

As a restaurant owner, you may be wondering just how much of an impact customer reviews can have on your ability to generate new customers. Or, maybe you’re not even aware that customer reviews exist online.

Here are a few common questions many restaurant owners ask about customer review marketing:

1. What is an Online Customer Review?

Customer reviews have existed for practically as long as print media has been around. Everything from Consumer Reports to the book reviews in the Sunday Newspapers; these are all forms of customer reviews.

However, customer reviews weren’t viewed as their own marketing force until the Internet came along. On the web, it’s easier than ever for a customer to write a review that will reach a wide audience.

This is basically the same power of having a mass-distributed newspaper at your fingertips (perhaps even more powerful). For many local businesses, such as restaurants, day spas, hair salons, and others, consumers use sites such as Yelp.com, Google+ Local, and Citysearch to leave feedback for businesses. For books, there is Amazon.com… and there are a slew of other forms of reviews that can be found online.

These days, if a customer wants his or her voice heard, all it takes is a few strokes of the keyboard and a couple of clicks of the mouse. This can be good or bad depending on their experience with the company.

2. Why are Online Customer Reviews to Important?

Customer reviews are important because people trust them to an insane degree…

Did you know:

76% of people read online reviews before choosing a restaurant to eat at, a dentist to go to etc. That means that they will be led by social proof in whichever decision they make regarding your business: to go or not to go.

72% of people trust customer reviews just as much as the recommendations of their friends. For a long time, marketing theorists considered word of mouth — when you hear something positive about a product from a friend – to be the holy grail of promotion. It was free to have someone else recommend a product, and unlike an advertisement, people were more likely to believe it if a friend said it. Customer reviews on the Internet have flipped the script a little. The Internet and customer reviews have become word of mouth.

All the evidence here makes it a no-brainer of a conclusion – for a business to compete in this marketplace, it needs to be in control of the way people are talking about it on the Internet. This control is the difference between profitability and failure.

3. Which Customer Review Sites Should We Be Most Concerned About?

The websites that host consumer reviews are almost too numerous to name.

Here are a few of the biggest ones with the most reach for local businesses:

Yelp – It’s the king of restaurant reviews. In recent years, Yelp has become a juggernaut force in the food industry. Most people, before going out to eat at a nice restaurant, will check Yelp first. And the reviews can easily sway these people’s opinions: to go or not to go. Remember what we mentioned about social proof at the party: A restaurant will need good buzz – good reviews on Yelp – to build its social proof.

Google+ Local – This is a relative newcomer on the customer review scene, yet in the few years it has been around, Google+ has grown into a powerful force for customer reviews. Any business wishing to build its social proof needs to have good reviews on Google+ in order to be successful. The site’s power comes from its connection with Google search, the most popular search engine in the world. Whenever someone does a Google search, or uses Google maps, they are automatically connected to a Google+ page for that business.

Local – This site is another one of the big customer review sites. It’s pretty standard in its layout – a description of the business, with hours of operation and prices and menus, along with space for reviews from users. Again, this is an invaluable tool for reminding your customers of your social proof in the marketplace.

There many others, such as Merchant Circle, Citysearch, Angie’s List, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and more…


   

Check tomorrow’s blog post for some more questions to be answered.

If you are still unsure about what to do about customer reviews – or want to learn more about how they can impact your company, I can help.
Contact me for a free no-obligation consultation so we can see where you stand and what needs to be done to build a strong, solid stream of customer reviews for your company.

Derek Gruenthaler
Phone : (604) 302-7211
Email : info@todaysmobilesolutions.com
Skype : tjenter
Website : http://todaysmobilesolutions.com