If you need a particular type of business or professional and don’t have any existing contacts, how would you find a provider? The chances are you might ask your family and friends if they know anyone, or have any contacts they can recommend.
You might be surprised to hear that for nearly nine out of every 10 people, there’s another source that they value just as much: online reviews. This doesn’t mean the testimonials that a business will post on its own page as these will always be positive. Rather, customers are turning to independent sites to find online reviews which are authentic and can be trusted.
If you’re a business you shouldn’t ignore the potential that online reviews offer. Positive reviews can be a huge asset but negative reviews, or even just a lack of reviews, could mean a customer walks away.
Here’s a closer look at why reviews are critical for your coach hire business and what customers are looking for.
The importance of positive coach hire reviews
Lots of research has gone into the impact that reviews have on business and the results make stark reading. Put simply, if you don’t have a strong online presence backed up by positive reviews you could struggle to attract new customers.
One survey revealed that nine out of ten customers will search for online reviews before making any kind of purchase. This means if you don’t have any reviews, you’re already at a disadvantage compared to your competitors. Three quarters of people only went on to take action if they found a positive review, with the majority looking at 4-6 reviews first.
Almost three quarters of those asked said they would trust a local business more if it had positive reviews. In contrast, 86% of survey respondents said that negative reviews would make them think twice about purchasing. Just a single bad review can be enough to drive away business; more than one in five customers said they would not buy even if there was just one negative review.
Boosting your profits
Good reviews aren’t just about getting more customers, it’s also about making sure you sell for the maximum value too.
The more stars you get, the higher the price your customers will be willing to pay. For businesses with excellent reviews, this could mean a hike of up to 32%.
You won’t have much time to make a good impression however as the average customer reads fewer than 10 reviews. However, if you have lots of online reviews, that counts for a lot too; more than 50 reviews can increase conversion rates by approximately 5%.
Reviews for the digital generation
You may have invested in marketing campaigns but research shows that the digital generation are interested in seeing results online, and that they trust the judgement of their fellow customers.
Advertising on TV is a huge investment but for millennials, it’s not the best way to find a trustworthy business. Just over one in three trust TV advertising, 34%, while a whopping 68% trusted online reviews.
Not even descriptions from manufacturers scored higher than reviews; the latter was trusted more than 12 times as much.
However, the furore around fake news has meant that customers are extremely switched on to the possibility of reviews not being authentic. In a market where it’s possible to buy fake reviews, tech-savvy customers are on the alert for signs that a review might not be genuine. If there’s any suspicion that the review isn’t real, the outcome can be worse than not having any reviews at all.
This means that it’s essential the services an independent review site provide can be invaluable, ensuring that customers know the information provided is legitimate and can be trusted.
Understand your industry
Although the principles around online reviews are the same right across every industry, the way potential customers use the information can vary between industries. It’s essential to understand your own market to know how your customers behave and what they’re looking for.
For example, in the travel industry 78% of customers felt that reviews were one of the most important deciding factors, with 64% reading reviews to help them plan their trip. In fact, 59% said that review sites were the most influential factor when they were booking. Travel customers are very willing to reciprocate too with approximately a third posting a review online.
By understanding the habits of the customers in your specific industry you’ll be able to ensure you get the very most out of online reviews.
Avoiding bad reviews
You won’t always be able to avoid making mistakes but how you handle complaints can play a large part in how the customer views your business. If you are professional, courteous and genuine, a complaint can be easily transformed into a satisfied customer.
When a customer expresses dissatisfaction, it’s easy to feel defensive and act accordingly. Try to consider things from your customer’s perspective and you might get a whole new view of things. Do your best to put things right and don’t ever get drawn into an argument; if you can offer a compromise to keep a customer happy, that’s often a good idea even if you’re not to blame.
It’s very easy to have your pride dented when a customer is unhappy but it’s often not really about who’s right or wrong. The key thing is trying to make sure your customer walks away happy with an appreciation that you’ve gone above and beyond their expectations to resolve any problems.
The power of positivity
Research shows that expertise, professionalism and reliability are three of the key areas that customers look for in a business and this is where reviews can really help. Having a digital presence yourself is vital, but strong reviews on a trusted review site will build your reputation even further.
Online reviews are already an essential part of any business and are continuing to grow in importance for coach hire companies. As the digital generations get older and increase their spending power, having online reviews will become an even more critical part of your coach hire business. Don’t wait to be part of the future, get your business set up with online reviews now.