Your ability as a business owner to get steady stream of online reviews is the # 1 competitive advantage that you can have. If you are in a market or niche where you’re trying to convert clients reviews are the single biggest and most important thing that you should be doing to get more clients. As a seasoned internet marketer for over 12 years and small business strategist I can't overemphasize how important this is to understand and execute correctly now, and not later.
Everyone is a Critic- The Internet has made it easy for everyone to speak up and give their opinions quickly and have it read by the masses.
People Trust Other People- Think of the old way before cell phone or the internet or even review sites people would ask humans, maybe a neighbor or family member what they have heard about this company or this service or this local business then move forward. Well that has moved online.
We are Research Obsessed- The beautiful thing about the internet and now review sites is that it put everything at our fingertips especially online reviews. Think about your own buying process whether it's a TV, car, house or even that special night out for dinner we will spend time researching to convince ourselves and ultimately make the safe choice based on what other consumers have experienced . (Full disclosure I am research obsessed just ask my wife).
Google Says So- in 2013 Google implemented the carousel where a black bar with reviews and ratings of businesses were placed at the top of the page for a Google search (See Google Poste Here). The plan was to launch with certain highly reviewed services like hotels, restaurants then eventually other businesses in other industries in 2014 or early 2015.
At the end of the day you can take the "blind approach" that nobody is talking about or reviewing your business and continue on spending a ton on marketing band-aids with the hopes that customer reviews won't happen and people will change old habits or you can embrace consumers and be controlled and proactive when generating online reviews today. My advice is the latter.