Customer reviews are the most powerful tool customers have in their tool-belt before making a purchase. They are the best opportunity to get a real and authentic opinion from fellow customers.
Customer reviews have a ton of potential in swaying the opinion of new (and old) customers, and every single major ecommerce platform features reviews. Small businesses also need to see the power and importance of reviews to help them build, grow, and manage their customers.
At the end of the day, you cannot avoid the fact that online reviews will either make or break your business.
Why Customer Reviews Matter
Reviews Establish Trust and Validation
Reviews can help your brand become more trustworthy. Customers generally have no reason to give a business a good or bad review unless it reflects their experience. So, the more positive reviews you have the more trustworthy your business will be perceived.
There is however a small margin of error when it comes to reviews. Most shoppers actually distrust a business if they have a rating below four stars. So it’s important to maintain a highly positive footprint if you want to drive more sales.
Positive Reviews = Positive Sales… Negatives Do the Opposite
Positive reviews are demonstrated to drive customers to take action, from browsing your site to actually making a purchase. One study by BizRate reports that roughly 65% of consumers say that they look at online reviews either most of the time or even all the time before they decide to make a purchase.
With all those customers looking at reviews before purchasing, you need to be sure that those reviews paint a good picture for your business. Once again, if your average review is below that 4-star threshold you can expect to miss out on sales you could have otherwise made with a higher review score.
Brand Communication and Visibility Increases
Reviews increase your visibility in multiple ways. The more customer reviews your company receives the more likely it is to come up on Google searches. They are also a way for customers to engage and converse about your business with other customers. This last point is especially true if the reviews are living on social media.
It’s also important to remember that if your company is constantly getting reviews it becomes a consistent stream of new content and helps foster a community. Right now it is especially important because recent reviews will show customers that you are open and operating safely under COVID restrictions, which will have a lasting effect on how we work.
How to Leverage Reviews
Invite Your Customers to Review Your Business
Do you know anyone who doesn’t like free stuff or promotions? We can’t say we do. If you have repeat customers and notice that they have never left a review, invite them with a promotion. This can be something as simple as an add-on to their purchase or 15% off their next one. You can always prompt your customers with an SMS marketing text to leave a review as well.
The reason it is so important to target repeat customers is that you can be sure that they already have a positive opinion of your business. Otherwise they wouldn’t be coming back time and time again. Getting repeat customers to leave a review will be crucial in getting more customers to repeat shopping with you.
Respond to Negative Reviews the Right Way
Negative customer reviews don’t always have to have a negative impact on your business. Most of the time a negative review will be a learning opportunity, and if you respond to it properly you can improve your business and your customer’s perception of your business.
If you respond kindly, respectfully, and in a timely manner you will see that customers will respect you for caring about their concerns and even consider giving your business a second chance.
Highlight Your Positive Reviews
Positive reviews on Google are a good thing because customers can find them if they decide to go looking for reviews. However, you can turn these into a great thing by taking positive reviews and highlighting them so customers don’t have to search for them.
Take your best reviews and put them front and centre on your website as testimonials that help build trust. You should also be taking reviews and posting them on social media where they build more trust and often create further engagement.
If you have really loyal customers or work with influencers, you can also always get them to create brand-related content by highlighting positive reviews through their channels.
Feedback is Always Welcome
Don’t think the job is over if you’ve asked for reviews and received it. You actually have to take the time to read every single one of them and listen closely to your customers’ concerns. Don’t be defensive, because chances are they are filled with a bunch of perspectives you hadn’t considered before.
You can take these perspectives and turn them into ideas that will improve your business. This goes double for negative reviews.
Offline Word of Mouth
These reviews won’t be the most seen but they will definitely be the most trusted. Word of mouth always has been and always will continue to be the most influential and persuasive form of marketing. There’s nobody we trust more than our friends and family. So when we hear them recommend a brand, we’re more than likely to trust them about it. Offline word of mouth is where reviews turn into referrals.
So remember that reviews are important on many different levels. They increase visibility of your brand, help people establish trust in your company, and if taken seriously, will also help you improve the way your business operates.
As always feel free to reach out to us directly with any questions and stay tuned for our weekly blogs.
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