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Today’s World Is An Online-First Marketplace tuya / September 10, 2018

Americans spend 9+ hours per day on electronic devices. To capture potential facility managers’ attention, it is important to meet them where they are — online. One of the tools available in your digital marketing tool box is online reviews and testimonials.

Online reviews and testimonials impact everything from consumer buying habits to your brand perception. Since potential customers progress more than 70% of the way through the decision-making process before engaging a sales representative, your potential vending customers may not be finding information about your vending services. The key to engaging them is to deliver easy-to-find, high-value, relevant, and timely content especially reviews and testimonials.

Online Reputations Seal the Deal

In 2018, performing in-depth research such as reading reviews and testimonials via social media and other platforms is easy to do. Potential customers look to reviews and testimonials to understand what kind of vending experience they might have. Positive reviews can entice facility managers to visit your website for the first time. The overall picture created by reading your reviews helps facility managers come to a conclusion when they don’t know much about your company.

  • 67% of facility managers believe online reviews are important when choosing a break room provider
  • 57% of customers will eventually buy from a vending service provider they researched online
  • 85% of facility managers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • 97% of customers read online reviews for local vending services
  • 74% of facility managers say positive reviews make them trust a local vending provider more

The more reviews that exist about your business, the more credible those reviews are perceived to be, and the more likely a potential customer is to visit your website. In addition to the number of reviews and their content, potential vending service customers want to see how many stars your business has. Stars play an important role as they encourage other potential customers to visit your website.  For example, if your website is the second one in the results of a micro-market provider search AND it has a star rating, that potential customer is 154% more likely to visit your website.

Why Google and Facebook

Google and Facebook are number one and number two, respectively, for online reviews. While Facebook is the leading source for customer reviews, Google is the most used search engine, and 63.6% of consumers check reviews on Google before visiting a business’s website. Mobile searches almost always contain one of the following four words or phrases: “best,” “to avoid,” “worst,” and “is ___ worth it.”

Google reviews and ratings also impact local search results, which are based on relevance, distance, and prominence. As Google explains it, “Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.”

All Reviews and Testimonials Matter

Your customer reviews are integral to building trust. Bad reviews mixed with good reviews create an authentic online presence. For reviews to be perceived as authentic, they should vary by tone, and language, and grammatical and spelling errors. Reviews perform a specific function by answering questions for facility managers and creating personal connections to local vending services.

treat reviews and testimonials like precious assets

Star ratings and total number of reviews are important for attracting online searchers, BUT the content of your reviews has the power to influence purchase decisions. 82% of customers look for negative reviews to see if the flaws in your services are a one-time issue. Taking the time to respond to bad reviews is an opportunity to show responsiveness and empathy to current and future facility managers and their coworkers. When the reviews and comments are shorter, a higher quantity of reviews are necessary, while longer reviews mean fewer reviews are needed to build trust.

Plan of Action

Step 1:  Build your Google and Facebook profiles (ex. pictures, contact information, and company overview).

Step 2: ASK — 68% of consumers left a local business review when they were asked. Let the facility managers and employees of your existing customers know why and how their reviews will help.

  • integrate asking for reviews into the sales/customer retention process or marketing strategy
  • ask for feedback about specific aspects of your business
  • keep review and testimonial requests short and sweet
  • make sure review and testimonial requests come from the same place you want your reviewer to leave a review
  • include icons on your website to direct visitors to your Google business listing and Facebook page where they can leave reviews and testimonials

Example:  Send the following message on a postcard with your business logo to a facilities manager. “Thanks for your business. If you have a few minutes, please visit any of the sites below and leave a comment or review about us”.  Include a list of shortened URLs that led directly to your business’s profile on Google and Facebook.

Step 3: What to do with Reviews and Testimonials

  • respond regularly and publicly using polite and helpful responses to all reviews
  • develop a management response strategy to respond to negative reviews
    • respond quickly with empathy and compassion
    • set up Google Alerts to notify you when your company is mentioned
    • track reviews especially poor ones; it allows you to see a pattern (if there is one)
    • work with customers to find a reasonable resolution to a bad experience
  • Share positive reviews and testimonials on your website and social media channels, and include them in email communications, etc.
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