Business owners often wonder if online reviews about their business or product really matter. Well, the short answer is they do, and for a good number of reasons. But this isn’t something new. For centuries, people have used word-of-mouth to recommend good suppliers or complain about poor products and services. But where this used to be confined to friends and family, nowadays, the power of the Internet spreads this word-of-mouth far and wide and keeps it on the record forever.

Consumers are relying more and more on online reviews when buying products and services. And since so many people are reading online reviews before selecting a business, product, or service, it comes as no surprise that big corporations are paying much more attention to the subject. Like Kia, the Korean motor manufacturer, who published its intention to focus on customer reviews back in 2013; or Amazon, who has caused controversy by tightening its book review policy, deleting thousands of suspicious reviews in pursuit of accurate customer feedback?

Still not convinced? If you think you don’t need to worry about online reviews, or if you think they’re not worth the time and trouble it takes to manage them, well, you better think again. These are 3 reasons why every business owner—big or small—should welcome and encourage online reviews.

  1. Online reviews are like personal recommendations. According to Forbes, 88% of consumers consider online reviews to be trustworthy. Online reviews are trusted by the consumer just as much as if a relative, friend or colleague had recommended a service themselves. Therefore, the chances of a potential customer buying from you are higher if your online reviews are favorable.
  2. Reviews are indicators to your business. They highlight the benefits or problems of your business. So, for instance, instead of having steam come out from your ears because of a negative review, look at it from an objective point of view. Now that the problem was pointed out, you can work to improve it and give a better offering. And if we are talking about a positive review, now you know how to keep up the good work!
  3. Online reviews improve the traffic of your website. When people read positive reviews online about a product or service, they will probably want to visit the website to see what all the fuzz is about. That website could be your website! If you incite reviews online for your business—and of course work hard to get some positive feedback—this may encourage natural traffic to your website, leading to maybe having customers make use of other products or services you can provide.

Can you see it now? Online reviews do matter! Maybe you should browse a little on the internet to check out was is being said about your company. Because, whether you like it or not, people is talking about you as you’re reading these final lines. Join the conversation!