Raayi: Online customer reviews can make or break a business

Online customer reviews can usher in major opportunities for revenue growth, making it imperative for companies to pay them the necessary attention they deserve, said Stefan Toubia, Founder and CEO of Raayi.

Raayi, the Arabic word for ‘my opinion, is the UAE’s first comprehensive business reviews application. The company aims to transform the way consumers make purchasing decisions whilst supporting businesses in better engaging with their customer base and managing their reputations.

Toubia stressed that brands should leverage the influence of high customer ratings as part of their revenue-generation strategies. However, the Raayi executive also cautioned that just as an excellent rating could help increase the bottom line, a low customer score could have a negative impact on the business.

“Studies show that about 95% of customers turn to reviews before making a purchase. The number is simply too high to be ignored or dismissed. If anything, it tells us that customers today have become more empowered, demanding greater value for money. They take their time to scour all available information before making a final purchasing decision, regardless of how large or small a purchase. The internet has made this information readily accessible and hence highly influential. It is also worth noting that online reviews can impact online reputation as well, which is a crucial aspect to any business,” Toubia said.

Available figures revealed that a single negative review could cost a company as many as 30 customers.  Studies also revealed that each additional star rating correlates to about a 5-9% increase in revenue. Furthermore, numbers showed that online shoppers specifically would likely spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews, and 92% of them would choose a local business as long as it has a 4-star rating.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, more and more customers have been consulting previous customer experiences of products or services through online reviews. According to the results of the Local Consumer Review Survey by Bright Local, about 31% of customers said that they had read more reviews in the past year due to the pandemic.

Toubia pointed out that these findings prove more than ever how customers nowadays are relying heavily on reviews to guide their purchasing decisions. “This in and of itself signifies the power of customer opinions, which can highly affect a company’s profitability prospects,” he added.

Raayi, being the first comprehensive cross-industry platform in the UAE, was established to connect businesses from all industries to communities and consumers via its three key components. The app’s core element is the business directory, which offers insights into varied sectors operating in the UAE. The second component is allowing consumers to rate and review how good a business is. Through this feature, it enables individuals to give their feedback on local businesses from over 17 different industries, helping save everyday consumers time and effort by giving them an easy way of finding the business that’s right for them. Last is the app’s special Curations feature that allows users to share information through lists of their go-to outlets.

Additionally, the app benefits businesses by offering owners an opportunity to interact with customers about their experiences and address their concerns. This is particularly impactful for small businesses that have little or no digital presence. Moreover, it produces a defined set of analytics to provide companies with relevant insights on consumer behaviour. Raayi founders are aiming to build a vast amount of rich content and data by an engaged community of users and business owners.

Toubia emphasised that customer reviews are only going to gain strength during this pandemic and its aftermath. It is for this reason that businesses should pay more attention to integrating customer feedback into their processes to score and sustain an “excellent” customer rating.

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