If you want your business to succeed, then you have to let it build up a reputation online. This means getting reviews, both good and not so good.

More people today are reading online reviews, 98% in 2016 rather than 88% in 2014. Sometimes, businesses are hesitant to respond to online reviews because they don’t think they matter. Here are four reasons why your business absolutely needs online reviews.

Online reviews paint a picture

Online reviews help create a picture of what a business looks like. Whether good or bad, recent online reviews show that a business is active and interacting with customers. Reviews can show what’s good about a company and what can be improved upon. Recent reviews are just as important to customers as good reviews, and 44% of people consider a recent review to have been written within one month. Inaction in response to reviews hurts business; keeping the conversation going shows that the business is willing to correct its behavior if the review warrants it.

Customers care about online reviews

Some businesses don’t respond to online reviews because they question their credibility. Customers, however, think otherwise. More customers are forming opinions through online reviews now than they were three years ago. In 2014, 29% of people formed an opinion of a company through only three reviews and in 2016 that jumped to 40%. Considering reviews to be important by responding to them is a great way for businesses to develop relationships with its customers.

Online reviews help to humanize

More than developing relationships, businesses that respond to negative reviews can help to diffuse problems that will detract from a business’s reputation. More customers are trusting reviews today as social media marketing is taking off; 26% of people are saying that businesses should respond to its reviews. Responding to reviews in a personal way with a sincere tone, creates a dialogue with customers about good and bad reviews.

Online reviews build trust

Having recent reviews not only helps to paint a picture of a business and build its reputation, but it also helps to establish trust with customers. There’s a certain amount of transparency that comes with valuing and responding to both positive and negative reviews; 68% of customers said that they trust businesses that have a mix of both positive and negative reviews. Negative reviews are not the end of the world; with the right approach, businesses should be able to turn anything into a positive experience.

To learn more about why online reviews are important and how your business can benefit from in-depth digital marketing, contact us today.