Why online reviews matter

August 18, 2023 By    
Successful companies continually customize products and services to meet customer needs. (Photo: Dilok Klaisataporn/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Photo: Dilok Klaisataporn/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Online reviews help build propane’s reputation and can attract new customers to your company.

Online reviews and ratings for businesses have a bigger impact now than any other form of consumer engagement or media, according to Susan Janett, the program director at Warm Thoughts Communications.

Before we were so connected by technology, people learned about your propane company from friends or family. Word of mouth was enough to get new customers.

Now, 97 percent of people go to reviews as a first source when making a purchase decision, according to ReviewTrackers.

Where can customers leave online reviews? Google, Facebook and Yelp are common websites to generate reviews from your customers. But don’t forget about people sharing their opinions on social media. Social media should be an extension of customer service at your company.

Reviews drive a business’s online rating on every major platform. Positive reviews are great – make sure to respond. But negative reviews will drive away customers. According to Janett, it can take 20 years to build a reputation but only one minute to ruin it.

How do reviews impact SEO? Potential customers will read local online reviews of your business before making a purchase decision.

Search engines, like Google, prioritize businesses with higher ratings and help people discover those first. If your propane company doesn’t have a lot of reviews or has low ratings, it is less likely to be suggested to online users.

Twenty percent of local search results are influenced by online reviews, according to ReviewTrackers.

Google determines local ranking based on relevance, distance and prominence: “More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’s local ranking,” Google states.

Ask your happy customers for reviews. Don’t expect happy customers to leave positive reviews without some prompting. Unhappy customers are more likely to share their frustration online.

Not only does your propane company want a positive five-star rating, but it also needs to have context and some information about why your customer is happy.

Encourage customers to add details to an online review by asking some open-ended questions about your company and services provided:

  • Would you recommend us to friends and family?
  • What made you happiest about working with our propane company?
  • Why did you decide to call our company?
  • How have we exceeded your expectations?
  • Were we able to help you in a timely fashion?

Janett says your propane company will need to have 12 good reviews to make up for one bad review.

Ask personally for reviews if you earned it and did a good job for a customer, Janett suggests. Customers can share positive feedback with you in multiple places, but be sure it’s documented. Ask in person, by phone, text message, website, email, social media or on invoices.

Bottom line: Everyone looks at online reviews before making a decision. Make sure you know what people are saying about your company.

Social media management tips

It’s important to maintain your social media pages on a regular basis. This keeps customers informed and allows you to post updates about your business.

By posting frequently, you can manipulate the social media platform’s algorithms. Use more casual and fun posts to catch people’s attention. Once they like and engage with your content, the social media platform is more likely to place your content on its feed regularly.

Humanize your team. Share employee photos, community involvement and company events. If you’re doing something good, let people know.

Don’t let comments go unnoticed. Respond to requests or messages immediately. Be sure to acknowledge all comments and thank anyone who is saying positive things about your company.

Mix up your content. Make it fun and enjoyable to interact with you and your business online. Share photos, videos, promotions and company updates.

Keep it real and relatable. Including a little bit of everything will help people feel connected to your company and team.

Source: Warm Thoughts Communications

About the Author:

Danielle Pesta is the senior digital media manager for North Coast Media, the parent company of LP Gas. She can be reached at dpesta@northcoastmedia.net.

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