What’s the first thing you do before you buy something or go to a store?

According to the experts at AdWeek, 81% of shoppers do online research on the company or product they are considering BEFORE they make a purchase. A major part of thisresearch process consists of reading online reviews. Whether we like it or not, reviews are one of the most important and trusted resources that people take into account when choosing where to shop, eat, or do business.

thumb icons for Customer review concept.

As a business owner, reviews are extremely important to your reputation, and they simply can’t be ignored. Your goal should be to generate positive reviews from your customers. But how? How do you get someone to go home and write a review after a good experience? What do you do when someone gives you a bad review?

Don’t worry, keep reading and we’ll answer all these questions for you.

But first, the key to your reputation starts with YOU. […]

Your website is an opportunity for you to make a good impression and help existing and potential customers decide whether or not they should do business with you.  Even if your business is mostly offline (i.e. you don’t have an ecommerce site), you should still be very worried about the impression you are making online.  The majority of consumers now use the web to research everything from the new restaurant that opened downtown to the accounting firm they are considering bringing business to next year.  Even if their purchase or business transaction will happen in the “real” world, their decision is often made before you even get to meet your potential customer.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so avoid these common pitfalls at all costs! […]

Business cards are an extension of your branding, lending potential clients your information in a memorable package.  While business cards are usually an afterthought for conventions, business cards should be seen as small, personal advertisements for your company.  I believe that an effective business card clearly answers the following three questions in order:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How do I contact you?
  3. Who are you? […]

Empty plastic bags roll through a cracked and patched pavement parking lot. Shopping carts are scattered about… some maneuvering themselves unmanned through the rows of unpopulated parking spaces of the Electronics-O-Rama. The store signage is in disarray, and the glass of the storefront is fogged and dirty. The color scheme of the decrepit building is like that of a circus tent, plastered with fliers and promotional signs made with poster-board and Sharpies. However, on the inside of this dilapidated place of business is the brightest team of individuals ever to be in customer service, and their product is one in a million. No one comes close in either quality or customer satisfaction, but few customers have even thought twice about giving them the chance to prove themselves.

Electronics-O-Rama suffers from poor perceived credibility. The surface of their business, the “visual handshake,” is lacking a quality that the competition offers, though the competition can’t offer the same quality product or service.

Just how important is perceived credibility? Many small retail establishments have faded over the years to flashier, bigger, chain retailers providing the same products with worse customer service, or in some cases worse products (and customer service). What makes Best Buy more credible than Joe’s TV’s? The answer…

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This has been a busy year so far for companies trying to get noticed. Now I can understand with the recession that there is cause for concern and more reason to bring attention to your business. But attention alone doesn’t make a customer suddenly what to do more business with you. There is something to be said about familiarity too as well as what kind of attention you bring to yourself.

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