Reviews are everywhere these days, whether they appear on social media, on a company’s own site, or through third party reviewing platforms. But why are online reviews so important for your business? How much difference do reviews make to a brand?
Customer Review Trends from 2020
According to experts in local marketing BrightLocal, 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
Six out of ten people say they look at Google Reviews before contacting a business. Local businesses that understand the importance of online reviews can use this knowledge to increase their visibility and attract more customers.
The word-of-mouth culture is becoming ever more important for consumers looking to find products and services that fit their needs and expectations. As a business in a global market, competition is all around, but so is the opportunity to appeal to a broader audience.
If your brand does not yet have an online review facility, you could be missing out on a valuable opportunity to share the quality of your business with potential customers.
How to Publish Online Reviews for your Business
There are many different ways to use customer reviews to show your credentials to a wide audience. But how to choose the best?
Displaying testimonials is an important way to give consumers more confidence in your brand and increases conversion rates, with some brands seeing an 18% uplift in sales as a result of online reviews. Any business that doesn’t embrace reviews could be losing out on sales.
To have a positive effect, reviews must be high quality and authentic. Reviews from a 3rd party platform, such as Feefo, Trust Pilot or IO instil more confidence with customers, as there is no way they can be fudged. Platforms such as these can integrate seamlessly with your website so that visitors can read endorsements without having to leave your site.
How to Deal with Negative Reviews Online
Nobody is perfect, so when you choose to add reviews to your site, make sure you have plans in place to deal with any negative reviews that you may receive. Surveys have shown that 86% or customers hesitate if they see negative reviews that indicate poor quality products or unsatisfactory customer service.
However, if your brand can respond publicly you can turn this into a positive by showing that your brand cares about its customers in trying to resolve the issue. Keep in mind that it is important to take any discussion on a bad review out of the public domain: the most effective strategy is to respond quickly, replying publicly in a polite and professional way and showing sympathy for the customer’s issue. Offer to take action to resolve the problem immediately. If the complaint is on social media, reply that you’ve sent them a private message to discuss in more detail. If the negative comment appears on a review platform, ask them to contact your customer services department, giving the number or email address.
Fortunately, a quick, positive and problem-solving response to a one-off negative online review shows your business to be caring, and therefore has an important positive effect on your reputation for anyone reading. This is an ideal opportunity to turn opinion around, changing a negative perception into a positive.
Interestingly, a brand shouldn’t be needlessly worried about a small number of negative reviews online; a complete lack of negative feedback can make consumers question the authenticity of the reviews they read.
It is also important to analyse the reviews you receive online with your customer service team. Feedback is a valuable asset that enables your brand to improve; if a consumer has taken the time to write comments or criticism for you, your business can give time to do something about it.
Don’t Forget to Ask for Reviews Online
Customers are busy people, and they are usually unlikely to think of leaving a review online unless specifically asked for one. Asking for a review can be a nice personal touch, or it can be a good idea to set up an automated system with a link to a review site whenever a customer has made a purchase. The more customers review your business online, the more your potential customers will be converted.
Be Proud of your Reviews
One of the most important ways your business can make use of an online review is to communicate it. When you receive positive feedback for your brand, don’t forget to repurpose it. Share it with your audience in social media posts and even newsletters to make sure that your reviews get seen. Some 3rd party reviewing platforms, such as reviews.io can automatically generate social media posts from your reviews, and these reviews, or screenshots directly from the reviews look more authentic and hold more sway with an audience reading them.
Don’t forget, if you receive lovely feedback in an email, ask permission from the author before using it.
Show your Business at its Best
At Coleman Hammond, we’re experts in managing the impression you make on your digital audience. If you need help to work out how online reviews can benefit your business strategy, our consultancy service can help your brand to show your best side. Get in touch to find out how.