It will probably come as no surprise to hear that consumers rely heavily on customer reviews. With the rise of influencers on social media platforms, and so many industry specific review sites available, our culture is based heavily on recommendations. We like to hear about the pros and cons of something, from someone trustworthy, before we buy it.
The coronavirus pandemic has furthermore had an impact on how much we value reviews. For months, the only way to get hold of a lot of products was through online shopping, so we were unable to see them in person. Therefore we had to rely solely on reviews.
We’ve explored this growing trend in more detail below, and also looked at ways in which you can get more reviews online. The tricky part (receiving positive comments) will be down to your own product or service though!
Why Are Reviews So Important?
Podium’s 2020 State of Reviews report shows that, when discovering a local business, 87% of people are influenced by reviews. That’s a pretty staggering statistic! And within the last 24 hours, 23% of consumers will have read a review online, while 65% have read one in the last week. Clearly reviews are a big part of our lives, and are regularly checked.
Not only this, but 83% of consumers said that they’re unlikely to care about a review if it’s not relevant or recent. So having customer reviews dating back to the inception of your business (unless you’re a very recent start-up) won’t offer much value. You need to be encouraging your customers to leave feedback as often as possible – hopefully positive!
It’s also interesting to note that people are more cautious these days about visiting a business. It makes a lot of sense when you think about – since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve grown accustomed to avoiding local businesses! So the fact that 31% of consumers are now more likely to look at an organisation’s Google listing before visiting it in person is hardly a revelation.
Positive Reviews Could Double Your Conversions
The hard truth is that the majority of consumers won’t buy from a business if they have too many negative reviews. The report discussed above found that 92% of people won’t consider making purchases from a company with a 1 or 2 star rating. Often, this low rating will be down to only having a few reviews, most of which are negative. So it’s therefore essential that you encourage all your happy customers to leave feedback too!
In addition to this, around half of all consumers surveyed were willing to not only travel further, but also pay more, to shop at a business with higher reviews. Basically, they are willing to spend more for quality products. So if your review average isn’t great, you could be losing out on 50% of potential customers.
Where Should You Focus Your REVIEW EffortS?
There are all sorts of review sites. For films and TV shows, you can visit Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb, while for books many booksellers include reviews on their site, or you can delve into Goodreads for comprehensive summaries and critiques.
And who doesn’t read at least a couple of reviews on Amazon before buying a product? Especially if it’s expensive! While knowledge of a brand may sway your opinion, if you’re looking to purchase something a bit unusual, you may not know which brands are better.
So the question is, which type of review site should you focus on as a business? Perhaps independent review sites like Trustpilot, or target a local audience through Google My Business? Or maybe you should concentrate on the review section on your own website? There’s not really a right or wrong answer here – you need to get reviews across a number of platforms, but the most important one will depend on your individual organisation.
How Can You Get More Reviews?
There are various ways you can encourage your customers to leave reviews, most of which will take time. But we’re going to discuss two techniques that are guaranteed to get fast results. First, there is the tried and tested method of sending a follow up message, when a customer has received their product or service. They will no doubt be delighted by what they’ve received, and should be more than happy to provide feedback. The idea is to contact buyers at the high point of their customer journey.
If you really want to get reviews though, you simply need to incentivise your customers. People love free things, so running a prize giveaway for people who leave a review is bound to see results quickly. Especially if you promote the giveaway across all channels, from newsletters to social media.
Respond to Negative Reviews
No matter how outstanding the service you offer is, you will at some point receive at least a couple of negative reviews. There’s really no way to avoid this. Such comments could even be someone hoping you’ll offer them something for free, so that they’ll rescind the review. And if this feedback isn’t accurate, it can be tempting to ignore it.
But research suggests that your most negative reviewers, if turned around, could become your most adamant supporters. Of course this won’t always be possible – some people just have an axe to grind! But if you are able to get a negative reviewer on side, you may just have an advocate for life.
So respond to all your negative reviews, giving the customer space to air out their complaints. Perhaps provide a phone number or email address, to allow them to discuss their grievances in more detail. And where possible, offer some form of compensation!