The latest research has revealed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations so, encouraging your customers to share their experience is a simple (and free) way to grow your business.

But why is it only now that they now proving to be the holy grail for many businesses and why should they be top of your wanted list? 

Stand out from the crowd

Competition in the hair and beauty industry is rife, so it’s essential you do everything you can to stand out ahead of your competition when it comes to attracting new clients.

Advertising, whether in magazines/newspapers or online including on social media can be expensive when you work out the potential return on investment – but getting your clients to do the talking for you is free.

Their words also carry so much more weight than your own words. In fact according to research consumer reviews are trusted nearly 12 times more than what you say.

Attracting the all-important millennials is now top of everyone’s agenda, not only because they have the disposable income and can be long term clients but also because they have grown up with social media and are more committed than most on spending time and money on their appearance.

To attract more of that generation reviews are vital, with 68% trusting online reviews compared to just 34% who trust tv reviews!

A review is a modern day referral and third party proof that your business is as good as you think it is.

Manage your reputation

Reviews give you the chance to really grow your brand and create a loyal online following, but it’s essential to remember that putting one foot wrong can ruin all your good work.

Giving clients the chance to review their experience and encouraging it gives them a voice and shows that you value their opinion, which will help grow consumer loyalty.

Understandably if people take the time to review their experience they are more likely to come back especially if you thank them for their review and respond to their comments, so they feel valued.

Review sites can become like mini-social communities as people go on to review, check comments on their review and respond further – this helps increase brand awareness and further reaffirm opinions on your salon.

While it’s essential to engage/respond to all reviews, whether good or bad, it’s also important not to panic over negative reviews. They will always happen because “you can never please all of the people all of the time” but the most important thing is how you respond to negative feedback.

Firstly, make sure you respond in a timely and professional manner because getting a bad review can be an excellent way for you to show your brand’s true colours and turn that negative into a positive.

Recent research showed that when retailers responded to negative reviews on social media and online rating sites, a third of customers either deleted their original negative review or replaced it with a positive review. While nearly a fifth went on to become loyal customers.

Every star a business gets results in a 5-9% increase in revenue, while consumers are likely to spend three times more with businesses with excellent reviews

Be Seen

Reviews will not only help improve your credibility, but they can also have a significant impact on your search rankings.

The more that is written about you, the more important a search engine deems your website to be, which means you rank higher in the authority stakes and take priority over your competitors.

All search engines use slightly different methods to determine how they index content but they all value original content. So, unless you are blogging regularly, reviews might be the only new content appearing which can positively impact your SEO ranking.

The whole issue of reviews can see your success snowball because the more reviews you have, the more you will get which means your ranking improves and more people find you. Which in turn leads to more reviews and yet more reviews and better rankings and so on and so on.

Reviews can also help improve your keyword content by giving your website a regular influx of SEO keywords – resulting in a more prominent online presence, making it easier for new customers to find you.

Many of the keywords used in your reviews will be the same as those your potential customers are searching for.

Understand your customers better

Online reviews not only give you validation of what you are doing well but also a reminder of how you can improve and give your customers what they want, need and expect from you.

Sometimes the bigger and more successful you get, the more detached you become from your customers, and you may move away (inadvertently) from the things that helped you achieve the success in the first place.

Less than glowing reviews help you improve your service and better service customers – producing a positive experience for not only the customer concerned but also future ones.

Improve your business

Having read all of the above it’s probably no surprise that reviews can have a direct impact on your sales. In fact, positive reviews can lead to an average of 18% rise in sales, but that’s not all.

Every star a business gets results in a 5-9% increase in revenue, while consumers are likely to spend three times more with businesses with excellent reviews.

90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, so make sure your salon is top of the results.

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