The power of online customer reviews
Customer reviews are like gold dust for business owners. The cherry on top of the cake for all businesses and customers. And the perfect way to increase conversion rate, build up a positive online reputation, and improve customer experience.
Customer reviews are becoming more and more popular online. Although, you can get the odd bad review, they tend to be a quick way of building trust with your visitors.
Let’s cast our minds back over the last 18 months. A lot has happened and changed; including online customers expectations. Customers now expect brands to deliver a seamless customer journey each time they visit, feel unique, and feel that a brand’s values are reflective of their own.
This may seem like a big ask (especially for a small business), but a lot of these things can be easily achieved by putting your customer’s needs first and really listening to what they want.
I know from my own experience, when you visit a store for the first time you have doubts or queries about delivery, product quality, sizing and measurements, and so much more – and, unfortunately, unlike a physical store it is not as easy as asking the shop assistant for their advice.
That’s where online customer reviews come in – they are crucial to any business wanting to understand and merit their customers, whilst building long lasting relationships.
Shopify’s research shows that 70% of customers read reviews before making a final purchase. 63% of consumers are more likely to buy from an online store if it has good product ratings and 79% of online consumers trust product reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.
The proof is in the pudding. Customer reviews help bridge the digital gap and connect a customer to a brand.
In this blog we will discuss six ways that customer reviews can benefit a business and improve digital customer experience.
6 ways customer reviews benefit your business and improve customer experience
- Improves customer service
Give your customers a voice. Customer feedback and reviews are a great opportunity for your customers to share their experiences and opinions of your products and services. It shows that you value their opinions.
Customer reviews help to better understand what is working well, what can be improved on, and used as measurement of success. Unbiased insights helps businesses identify if there are any negative patterns and work on resolving any issues to improve the customer’s experience offered.
It is also a great opportunity to connect with your customers by responding to their feedback. If you receive a positive comment you can thank them for leaving such a great review and use it within marketing campaigns to gain more customers. If by any chance you do receive a negative review, you can reassure them that you are looking into the issue, and depending on the grievance, potentially offer them a channel to further explain their complaint. To ensure that that there is a next time a nice little incentive, like a discount or free delivery, always helps turn a frown upside down!
According to HubSpot’s recent research, 69% of their respondents were impressed with the customer experience when the team was quick to respond to comments or messages. 38% of those surveyed said their customer experience was great when the problem was listened to and resolved.
- Increases customer retention
It is no secret that having social proof on your product pages, homepage, basket pages is going to build trust. To reiterate an earlier point, 79% of online shoppers trust product reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Of course a personal review from a friend will encourage people to hear about your brand through word of mouth, which is great, but it’s potentially only going to get you a few more customers. Whereas, an online review could potentially gain you thousands.
If you have a first time visitor coming onto your site, positive reviews and product ratings from previous customers are going to reassure them that your business is trustworthy. People trust people. Customer reviews allow new customers to easily seek advice from your more loyal customers, building a sense of community among your customer base.
- Boosts staff morale
Sometimes it can be difficult for staff and customers to interact online – and when they do, more times than not, it is because they have a complaint or an issue with something. Receiving a positive review or feedback every now and again about the service, the website navigation, the products, the delivery speed, whatever it is, is great for staff morale. It boosts confidence and nine out of ten times puts a smile on their face.
Motivating your staff and reassuring them that they are doing a great job is the first step to improving customer experience, because without their constant hard work and investment none of this would be possible.
- Maximises marketing opportunities
Good reviews are great for generating marketing collateral. A customer leaving a positive review, whether than be on your website, Google page, or social media, is a fantastic free marketing opportunity for your business.
In addition, with your customer’s permission, you could create assets to promote the best reviews and ratings in your marketing campaigns. A five star rating in your next email campaign or social post will increase website traffic.
Your most loyal customers might also be open to doing case studies and becoming brand ambassadors, which again opens up a whole realm of marketing possibilities. User generated content is another big trend of 2021. For example, your customer might be so happy with your service and products that they share and tag your business in their instagram story for their hundreds of followers to see.
- Increases search volume
Search engines love positive customer reviews and star ratings. A collection of great business reviews will increase your search rankings by ten folds. Local businesses will especially benefit from customers leaving positive google reviews, as it is free search engine optimization (SEO) and you will rank higher in the search results.
- Skyrockets sales and conversion rate
Never underestimate the persuasive power of testimonials, case studies, product ratings, and customer reviews. They are great tools for skyrocketing online sales, increasing conversion rate, and assisting the purchase decision. According to Zendesk, 90% of online consumers who read online reviews have said that positive reviews influence their buying decisions. By including a great product review on a product page you are increasing the chances of a customer investing into your business, trusting you as a brand, buying that product, and then returning.
Next Steps: Learn to manage your reviews
The question now that you should be asking yourself is how can I manage my reviews to get the most out of them?
- Make sure that you track reviews. Use unbiased customer insights to inform your ecommerce strategy.
- Train staff to manage bad reviews appropriately. Have a template for your customer service staff to follow to ensure that they understand how to respond accordingly.
- Analyse your online reviews. Many review platforms allow you to look at the data behind your customer reviews.
- Ensure that you are using a multitude of platforms to collect customer reviews. Have a combination of on-site and off-site reviews. Utilise the power of social media, Google My Business, review platforms (Yelp), and integrations for your website reviews; such as, reviews.io.
“We’re increasingly finding that merchants who have embraced reviews are seeing it as a working resource rather than just as a promotional device. Advising the business on areas that need improvement/support as well as giving their business engaging image and video content that they can use across all their channels at suitable points during the customer journey.This combined with earned content allowing merchants to collect seller ratings via Google, drastically improving click through rates on their Google Ads. We then provide clients with actionable data by using product attribute widgets, which gives genuine feedback on how product features fit customers needs. Allowing businesses to build more informed customer profiles and attain excellent ROI from their content.”Reviews.io, Giles Eida – Global Partnerships Director