Customer reviews not only give a business the chance to improve their product or services, they also help to drive organic traffic and conversions.
In our very technology-centric world, it may at times seem that human contact holds less value than it once did. But when it comes to making purchasing decisions, customer reviews and recommendations hold the most weight in helping users make purchasing decisions.
According to a study conducted by Neilsen, 83% of users believe that word-of-mouth recommendations are the most trustworthy form of advertising. In the online world, word-of-mouth comes in the form of customer reviews. Courting customers in order to encourage them to take the time to post reviews not only helps to encourage word-of-mouth leads and conversions, it also opens the door to help you better your business to suit your customers’ needs.
Why You Shouldn’t Feel Shy About Asking For Reviews
Many companies struggle with the idea of asking their customers for reviews, because they fear that it will be seen as pushy or forward. But asking for reviews has long been an acceptable practice for businesses. If a customer doesn’t want to take the time, they can simply delete the email. But for those who had a great, or less than great, experience, asking for a review gives them the chance to sing your praises – or give you the chance to turn a disgruntled customer into a loyal one by addressing their concerns and making things right.
Most customers appreciate being asked to give their feedback – it shows that a business cares about their experience and what they think.
In addition, reviews have the added bonus of helping to boost your SEO. Many users these days will search for a company with the word “review” attached to it. Having reviews means that you’ll show up in search results, and may even show up in results for your competitors. These users can then base their buying decision on your reviews; the more you have, the higher the chance they click through to your website to learn more.
What Makes for Good Customer Reviews
While you shouldn’t send customers any sort of expectations as to what they say or how they say it, there are a few points that help set great reviews apart from poor ones. The best reviews check a few different boxes, including:
- They’re honest and authentic. Customers are becoming more and more savvy to companies that buy reviews rather than generating authentic ones. Don’t give into the temptation of finding ways to boost your reviews by reimbursing people for them. Authentic reviews are more trustworthy to users, and give a better perspective about your products or services.
- They live on multiple platforms from different users. While it may seem like a great idea to try and get every user to post a review on multiple platforms, it simply isn’t realistic to expect them to take that amount of time to talk about their experience. In addition, there is nothing wrong with having reviews on different sites. In fact, it helps increase user sentiment to see reviews from different people across platforms; real reviews live where people spend the most time, and are willing to write about their experience.
- You have a balance between quantity and quality. Many businesses believe that, the more reviews they have, the better. While this is generally true, quality also counts for a lot as well. If you have dozens of reviews that are little more than 4 or 5 stars and no text, they aren’t taken as seriously by users as ones that are lengthier and more detailed about their actual experience. So don’t get discouraged if you only have a few reviews – so long as they provide some real details about your business, users will take them in a positive light.
- They don’t all have to be 5-star ratings. While no business enjoys hearing from disgruntled customers via a review, it is always going to be a part of having an online presence. While you can’t please everyone, negative reviews give you the opportunity to address grievances in a positive way, and do what you can to try and make it right. In fact, most users prefer businesses with a 4.2 to 4.5 star rating; having a perfect 5 stars is seen as suspicious, as it can mean that a company is buying reviews instead of encouraging organic ones.
A Few Last Review Tips
When it comes to reviews, timing is everything. If you sell a daily-use product like clothing or jewelry, chances are your customers are going to try them on as soon as they get them, so ask for a review within a few days of delivery. If, however, you’re providing a service like roofing, or a more specialized product, you may want to wait a few weeks so the customer has time to “live in” the results.
One of the most important things that a business needs to do when it comes to reviews is to monitor them. Answering any negative reviews promptly, ideally within 2-3 days, shows other users that you’re invested in customer experience and available to help with any potential problems or concerns.
Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of your reviews by posting them to your social channels, including them in email campaigns, or adding them to your website.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to generate more user reviews, we are here to help. Gulf Coast Web has decades of experience in managing digital marketing and social media for business across all industries. Our staff consists of highly-trained web design and digital marketing professionals who are both passionate about their jobs and excel at what they do. And unlike many other design agencies, we have a content writer with over 10 years of experience on-staff to handle everything from website copy to blogs to social media posts. Contact us today to book a consultation with our team. We look forward to outlining exactly how we can help you grow your business with our digital media agency services.