For many people, reviews are the beginning of their customer journey, as they head to platforms such as Google and TripAdvisor to scope out the product or service before they’re willing to hand out their hard-earned cash. But how just how important are such reviews? In this article, we take a look at how reviews impact businesses and why you should start taking them seriously.
Why Reviews Are Important For Your Business
Understand your customers
There are many reasons why reviews should be a prominent feature of your marketing strategy, but the most important role that they provide is giving you the opportunity to understand customer satisfaction and assess what your customers really want from your product or service. Analysing reviews allows you to be proactive as a business, and adds fluidity to how you advertise, engage, and increase your customer base by creating a positive customer experience.
Create deeper connections with your customers
Customers that leave positive reviews for your site are often doing so to create a deeper connection with your brand, and are far more likely to feel a certain loyalty to you.
Word of mouth has often been considered the critical consideration when it comes to a business’s trustworthiness, and for good reason. People are more likely to trust the word of someone who has first-hand experience of a situation, product or service. Recent studies have shown that as much as 79% of customers give as much thought and respect to online reviews as they do personal recommendations, so long as it seems authentic.
In a recent Trust pilot study, they found that positive trust signals, such as social proof (having ‘everyday people’ validate a company or product) exerts a strong and compelling influence on consumer behaviour. So much so that over 75% of customers find reviews, both good and bad, effective and will base their buying habits on them.
How reviews ran affect your SEO
According to a study from 2017, online reviews are the fifth most important factor in determining the Google rank of a business and because more and more customers are leaving online reviews, we could see this percentage rise even more.
Google filters out businesses that do not have a 4+ average rating when the term “best” is added to a query
Google reviews and Google Maps go hand-in-hand. An optimised Google listing can help businesses increase their visibility, gain a competitive edge, and boost their rankings on SERPs. Google looks at the quantity, quality, frequency, and recency of online reviews so is a key factor to consider.
Best practice for collecting reviews
Just ask for them
The easiest and quickest way to get reviews is to ask them. It has been found that nearly 80% of reviews are generated from email requests. Considering that most purchases come with email confirmation, adding a review request to this content is a simple and sure-fire way of generating reviews.
You can also generate reviews over text, which is especially helpful if you are a service-based company which deals with a lot of phone calls or have a dedicated helpline that customers can get in touch with.
QR codes are a review collector’s best friend. Linking one to your review page makes it incredibly simple for a customer to leave a review, and you don’t even have to ask them.
Offering incentives for a review may seem like cheating, but it shouldn’t. As we have already explained, reviews are a way of retaining customer loyalty, so going a step further and offering points or discounts for reviews is merely an extension of that.
How to deal with negative reviews
Whilst it may feel easier to ignore bad reviews, responding to reviews can have a significantly positive impact on your business. But how to respond? It may feel like the best way is to dig in and call the reviewer out, and sometimes that does work. In reality, though, this should only be used as a last resort where the review is clearly and purposefully malicious. 99% of the time it’s much better to stay calm and follow these simple steps:
- Respond in a timely manner
- Acknowledge the customer’s grievance
- Apologise and understand
- Take responsibility (This one is key)
- Explain the circumstances surrounding the issue
- Take the discussion offline if at all possible
- Take steps to make it right
Customers are your clients’ most important source of feedback. Their ratings and reviews impact how search engines and other customers make decisions about their brands every day. If you don’t pay attention to this critical source of customer feedback, you could be leaving your clients’ star ratings up to a few detractors. If you follow the advice above, then you could see your reviews increase, your brand grow, and SEO rankings rise.
If you’d like to discuss how you can improve your approach to customer reviews, feel free to get in contact with our SEO team. We have a brilliant partnership with reviews.io that allows our customers to access the most complete review platform on the market.