The Local Consumer Journey After Reviews: Rent vs. Own

Technology can serve as a conduit or a hindrance. Everything we do to promote local companies is intended to lead to a personal interaction. Technology connects us when we do our part well (and when external factors are on our side). Technology can have the annoying effect of severing local brands from their customers when we make mistakes (or when other forces hinder us), with everyone losing out on the deal.


Local search is a contemporary phenomena that perfectly illustrates the idea of a “mixed blessing”. For owners and marketers, losing control over important aspects of the client journey can be a valid source of worry. Naturally, stress is bad for us, so I’m hoping that this message will provide some much-needed relief: you still have a strong sense of control over the key elements of the consumer experiences, and you can succeed without the things you have to give up. Thanks to SimpSocial’s latest analysis, The Impact of Local Business Reviews on Consumer Behavior, we have evidence to support this, and I’m hopeful that today’s piece can ease some of your burdens.


The info


Let’s start by pausing to consider what it truly means when 96% of adults check evaluations of nearby businesses. Although this content is being accessed by essentially practically everyone in your neighborhood, creating the broadest path possible to your front door, the reality is that it lives in a location that you only partially control. Reviews are crucial since only 11% of review readers believe brand messaging to be more reliable than public opinion. It’s a harsh truth that most reviews take place in third-party digital places that you do not own.


You have limited direct recourse for resolution if something goes wrong with your reviews on third-party platforms like Google, Nextdoor, or Yelp, such as a spam attack, the haphazard disappearance of your reviews due to a bug or update, or a single irate customer shouting half-truths or outright falsehoods among a small number of reviews. The feeling of losing control is real because platforms may or may not reply to your requests for assistance and certain clients may reject even your finest offers to remedy their issues.


The good news is that 91% of your prospective clients will visit the venues you own as soon as they finish reading reviews. 51% of people will go to your website, which you completely control, 27% will go to your company location, likewise completely under your control, and 13% will contact you via phone, text, email, forms, or live chat, all of which are completely under your control. Management of customer experiences is virtually entirely on your side and within your control, with the exception of the 8% that will switch from reviews to the accounts you rent on social media platforms.


It turns out that you are still in control of important customer/brand experiences for the majority of the consumer journey following a review, barring accidents like your website becoming infected with malware, a temporary closing of your location due to illness, or a power outage knocking down your phone lines. Indeed, wonderful news! But it also brings a lot of weighty obligations.


deciding to move forward after reviewing


As customers move from reading reviews to taking further action, the broad funnel starts to get narrower. Having the appropriate welcome in place in each of these three areas is essential to maximizing conversions from their subsequent actions:


the website of a nearby business


Prepare the following greeting for clients that arrive from the review profile via your website’s home page or a landing page to which your listing is linked:


a user-friendly, technically sound, accessible website with all the multimedia elements and content they need to proceed with a transaction.


A clear statement of how to reach you and where to find you, including phone, text, chat, messaging, email, forms, business hours, maps, and printed instructions.


Additional first-party reviews can bolster your credibility further and keep you afloat when glitches cause your third-party reviews to vanish.


a special selling point to close the purchase.


Where you do business


You can excel on this primary stage with the following, regardless of whether your place of business is your own premises or the locations of your clients:


Excellent customer service is built on properly managing the complete customer service ecosystem and properly training your team. Building an employee-centric business that exudes happiness and helpfulness is your greatest bet for establishing a stellar reputation, as 65% of review writers claim that they have submitted unfavorable reviews as a result of receiving poor or harsh customer service.


monitoring your supply chain with care. According to 63% of reviewers, they have submitted poor reviews after buying subpar products. Both repeat business and high ratings are supported by the caliber of your inventory.


precise local business listings online. 52% of survey participants have posted unfavorable reviews after seeing inaccurate company information online. Using listings management software, such as SimpSocial Local, helps ensure that the information customers find online about your business (such as opening and closing times, addresses, and important services) corresponds to their actual experiences, minimizing trouble and dissatisfaction.


Options for contacting you


No matter how a review reader contacts you—via phone, text, live chat, internet form, or email—help them move toward a subsequent conversion by doing the following:


minimizing the amount of time your phone is on hold


ensuring that all employees who interact with the public are knowledgeable about your company’s products, services, and policies


giving customers who are compelled to submit their email addresses on chat in order to speak with live people a realistic estimate of when they will hear back.


minimizing the amount of information a consumer must enter on a form before contacting you


Providing a means of after-hours help


Make sure your complete contact information is listed on your accounts for the 8% of people who will visit your rental spaces on social media sites as their next move after reading reviews.


Although technical advancements are constantly occurring, it is clear that deeply ingrained consumer behaviors still adhere to a long-standing pattern. In conclusion, locals in your community are interested in hearing what others have to say about your company, then they want to connect with you for a potential transaction, and finally they want to share their experiences with others. The only major change in this cycle is that some of the communication channels have partially moved online. Everything else has always taken place offline.


Modern business owners can survive without having direct control over the online brand sentiment that exists in spaces they must rent rather than own, just as they have always had to make due without the ability to direct the word-of-mouth reputation their community created for them on front porches and over fences. The foundation of success is great customer experiences at and around the time of service, which is still true today even though traditional PR may have had more influence on public perception before online local business reviews made individual consumer voices so loud.


Every local firm now need a well-thought-out strategy for handling the digital assets that now support these satisfying customer experiences. The secret to success is setting high standards for the places you own (your website, physical location, and the majority of contact methods) and being as involved as you can in the spaces you rent (the online profiles that hold the details about your small business, customer evaluations, and social media material). The growth of your positive reputation in the community you serve will come after developing a solid strategy and high-quality tools for managing this ecosystem.

No leads were lost. reduced overhead.
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