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ZMOT and Your Online Reputation: Why Reviews Matter

By Glenn Pasch

At PCG, something that we have discussed to great length is the Zero Moment of Truth and how it impacts your online reputation. A great book on the subject by Google, available online at http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com/, outlines how shopping has changed.

The Zero Moment of Truth is described as the time customers are doing research after seeing something about a product that stimulated them to learn more. In the past, this step may have been done through asking friends if they ever used a product or just going to the store. Now customers reach for their smartphones and laptops to research, compare and then narrow down their choices before going out to physically see the item in question.

The fact that ZMOT is being talked about is timely. Businesses have to change their marketing if they want to compete in the future. The two most pressing questions for businesses are:

  1. Will your company be found in that search when a client goes looking?
  2. What will customers see when they do find information about your business or your product?

It has been documented by Forrester Research that people now spend as much time online as they do watching TV. It has been shown that most people begin their shopping experience online yet in 2010 only 15% of media ad budgets were spent online. Does that seem out of balance? If more people are online searching yet businesses are not putting their marketing efforts in that arena.

Why Businesses Need Reviews

So let’s continue on the shopping path of customers. Once a customer has a product in mind, the next step is zmot reviewsnarrowing down their choices to a few locations where they can purchase the item. Once they have the locations, the next step in research will be reading reviews from your previous customers. In my opinion, this is one of the most influential factors in their research.

8 out of 10 customers trust feedback from their peers over what your advertising tells them. What they are looking for is how was the experience of doing business with your company. Notice that customers are looking for information not only about the product, but also how they will be treated.

Countless companies fall short in displaying positive reviews in any great number and what is worse many of them do not even know that negative reviews could be out there damaging their brand.

I have taught companies how to create a process to get their customers posting reviews online but one of the first objections to this is, “If I ask for reviews, I will get bad ones”. My answer to this is that getting a bad review is helpful feedback. This will provide your company on ways to improve?

If you think that by not asking for reviews there is not negative feedback going on, think again. People are always talking about their experiences. Don’t you think using these conversations to your advantage would affect your sales cycle?

Feedback also allows you to know what the customers may want from their shopping experience. Many reviews give suggestions on what could help you improve: a new service, an earlier opening on weekend, better ways to communicate. Think of the impact if you said, “You asked and we listened. We have added a new service based on our customers feedback”. By letting the customers know that you listened will ensure you get even more feedback.

People today want to share good news if asked. The appearance of new review sites and the mobile apps like Google Places, which allow people easily to post about their experience, prove this.

With people looking for what others are saying as a part of their shopping research, why not make it easy for your customers to leave a feedback trail that leads others to shop with you?

The great thing about the Zero Moment of Truth is that many of the factors are in your hands. Reviews are now an important part of the shopping experience and it’s time for you to do something about it to help your company.

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Reviews impact your business more than you might think. Don't get stuck in this situation: http://t.co/oyLVCfx5fE