The internet has radically changed the way businesses operate, and this has impacted the way people shop as well. It's very rare for buyers today to make any decision before consulting numerous online reviews first. From groceries to fashion, electronics to even healthcare — we can find anything we want online, and someone to share their opinion on it.
People love giving their opinion on anything. It’s a fact of life. We talk about a great movie we watched over the weekend, we share where we took our family to eat and recommend who has the best deals on shoes online. We are also more than willing to share any bad experiences we have to help ensure that our network doesn’t go through the same grievances.
More than 88% of consumers depend on online business reviews just as much as they trust their friend’s personal recommendations. Consumers are actively seeking review websites for company reviews and feedback about the level of service, product offering, the company background and customer experience to form a well-rounded opinion of a business and influence their buying decision. So, if you haven’t started collecting business reviews for your company, you’re definitely missing out!
The best way to understand who your customer is and what they want is to ask them. Company reviews provide a direct line of communication between your customer and your business, so it's best to have full control over it. Existing customers can provide objective feedback about your products and services and you will be able to better understand who they are and what their needs are.
Pay attention to the details. Are they family-oriented? Are they happy with more individual service? Can you spot patterns in demographics: age, gender and location? If a certain group of customers is finding problems and the rest are happy with it, then that gives you more insight on who your target audience is. For example, if you are selling winter coats online at a premium price and get feedback from college students that they can’t afford it, you should rethink who you are marketing to. You’ll be more successful if you shift your focus to earning professionals who will come back to you with more business, rather than a one-off purchase from a young student.
Online business reviews will put you on the same level of playing field as your competitors. You will have the opportunity to benchmark your services against others and learn more ways to do better. Keep an eye on what customers are saying about your competition. If they are complaining about an issue, make sure never to repeat the mistake. If they are praising them, find out how you can offer the same and offer better.
Potential customers are going to compare your business reviews against those of your competition, so you need to collect a bank of the best comments with plenty of details to overshadow the rest. Review websites are a great source that collates reviews and display them so you can compare.
Your customer’s feedback will help you identify flaws in your service. Embrace negative business reviews and take all criticism on-board as part of the learning curve for your business. If there's a recurring grievance trending among multiple reviews, then you definitely need to look at fixing it. If it’s a one-off, then find out more details about what went wrong and try to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Always respond to a negative review with an apology, even if your business hasn’t done anything wrong. You should still be sorry that your customer experienced something negative, and you'll want to do everything you can to understand and rectify it. It shows the customer that you care and also shows potential clients that you are responsive and you listen to feedback.
Never delete a negative review unless it contains something malicious or offensive. If the customer who posted it finds out that you tried to censor their reaction, the results could be worse for your business. Instead, reply to them calmly and make a plan with them to resolve the issue. 45% of customers are more likely to support a business that responds to negative reviews and 53% of them expect a response within a week. So stay on top of all your business reviews regularly. Negative reviews also show that you’re a real business, run by real people.
Which brings us to our next point...
As a company, it's important that you appear as authentic as possible, especially on the internet. With scams and frauds rampant all over the world, customers are spending even more time ensuring that they deal with only credible and trustworthy businesses that can provide what they need and provide them with service they can depend on.
The best endorsement you can get is from existing patrons. Transparency and sincerity are crucial, and word-of-mouth marketing is extremely useful in setting your business apart from the rest. Both good and bad company reviews, but especially the good, tell strangers that your business is real and trustworthy, which helps give other customers the confidence to buy from you.
It’s evident that if nobody knows about you, you’re not going to get new business. Customer reviews provide you with the exposure you need - especially online - and more so if you are a new or small company. The more company reviews people see, the more likely they are to add to them. Each new online review opens the door for more people to have their say and give their opinion about your services, and this increases your chances of getting discovered by more and more new customers.
A high number of business reviews also help you rank higher on search engines. Search engines like Google love authentic content from real web users. Company reviews are a great way to increase your brand’s visibility across the internet, from social media to review websites and platforms.
Customer reviews are a great opportunity to get user-generated content (UGC) that talks about your business or product across the web and that can amp up your SEO benefits. Google likes robust pages with a lot of content that usually product pages lack so badly. With substantial amount of reviews on your pages you can prompt Googlebot to pick up long-tail keywords from UGC that your page can rank for - especially if those reviews include keywords that web users are searching for.
Each review provides search engines with fresh content to crawl to provide users with an accurate match on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Bonus points if you qualify for star ratings and add imagery to accompany your business reviews. User-generated content derived from customer reviews is a great way to enhance your content marketing strategy and leverage highly relevant content to attract new clients.
Customer reviews also help you give your Google Ads a boost by providing you with the ‘social proof’ you need. Google says that ads with seller ratings get a CTR of 17% higher than those without ratings. Make sure to have at least 30 company reviews live from the last 12 months and encourage your customers to leave their feedback for your business across the web.
We conduct rigorous A/B testing to help you incorporate business reviews into your ads to make them perform better, ensure that they lead to an increased click-through rate and improve the quality score of your webpages for search engines. The more times you're mentioned, the more important Google thinks you are. Especially when the mentions come from real customers in reviews.
93% of customers say that online business reviews have a direct impact on their purchasing decisions. Customer reviews give potential customers, and those just browsing, with more chances to consider your business as a viable option for a transaction. Customers can see what it’s like to do business with you, how you make other customers feel, how you compare to the other options they’re considering and what sets you apart.
Company reviews act as a viable customer touchpoint in their buying journey. Seeing a plethora of positive reviews helps accelerate their journey to the next step towards purchase - leading to more conversions for you.
In today’s digital world, it's essential for you as a business to interact with your customers and be a part of the conversation. Especially if the conversation is about you! Take a proactive approach by asking customers to leave a review, and take control of the narrative before it’s too late. Be transparent and honest when asking for business reviews and responding to them - showing your customers that you care will improve your brand’s image in their mind.
These reasons and more should be enough to motivate you to start asking for your customers’ feedback. Obtaining business reviews should be an ongoing process and a vital part of your marketing strategy. Online review websites are a powerful marketing tool for customers to share what they like and for others (both customers and businesses) to listen.
Our team at Feefo are happy to answer any questions you may have and show you how your business can make the best use of your customer reviews.
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