There are a lot of factors that impact a customer’s decision to choose your company’s services or products. Since the internet has now become a global network where consumers can freely evaluate and discuss everything based on their experiences, reading customer reviews is probably among the most influential factors.
The overall positive feedback can not only assist the conversion but also increase your business credibility and do wonders for building brand awareness and achieving higher search engine rankings. Online reviews represent a powerful instrument and this guide will teach you how to master it via implementing minor changes in your priorities and customer service.
The internet can do most of the selling for you so you need to make sure your brand stands out online. In this comprehensive guide, we offer all the knowledge and examples you need to make the most of customer reviews and make them work to your advantage.
But before going forward let’s spend a moment thinking about what shapes our consumer choices nowadays.
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How do people make a choice nowadays?
The internet has brought everything to our fingertips, from planning our next big journey abroad to booking the plane tickets and buying tours in advance. As a result, the way we buy and make consumer decisions has dramatically changed over the past two decades.
Since online space has become much more than an interactive platform for promotion, it is worth exploring the vast array of options it provides, and make the most of them.
The modern consumers can’t be easily fooled since they carefully research, compare and test prior to choosing ANYTHING. We’ve put together a list of the most common steps that people usually take to help you define where you might be missing a major opportunity.
Ask friends for recommendations
Asking friends for their opinion or past experiences with a specific company or product is massively affecting consumer choices. Whether it’s a travel destination or retail brand, people value the advice of those close to them and would often take it into consideration.
Do online research
Most people will first go online and do research prior to making the final choice. But the online market is an unlimited yet quite competitive place.
You need to keep in mind that potential customers will be able to diligently compare prices and services online. In the majority of cases, they will go for the most reliable and trusted choice according to their findings.
Read product reviews and customer feedback
Having a read through the available online reviews is a growing part of consumers’ pre-purchase activities. The internet has made them accessible via a number of ways – from the company’s own website to trusted platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google.
Proceed to purchase
After completing their individual research, most customers would make a selection and proceed to the final step. Or at least the ones that are serious about making a purchase.
So why are online reviews important in this journey?
Benefits of customer reviews
Reviews not only have the power to influence consumer decisions but can also strengthen a company’s credibility and brand identity. They are extremely useful for businesses looking to exceed the clients’ expectations and prove that they care beyond profit.
Reviews increase conversions and sales
Reviews play a significant role in purchasing decisions. Reviewed products and companies receive more quality leads that often result in a conversion. They have the power to convince and discourage so you need to be careful in order to make the most of them.
Reviews are content
Reviews are mainly user-generated content that can be shared and used for SEO purposes and during lead acquisition. You can easily post them on a range of online channels to promote and distinguish your business. Google recommends reviews as they positively impact local ranking.
The review content has the capacity to improve not only organic but also paid search rankings. How does this work? Since reviews are SEO-friendly, they have a positive effect on the Ad Quality score. According to Google, ads with Seller Ratings get a higher CTR than the same ads without ratings. This results in more impressions and significantly increases the chances of conversion.
Users trust reviews
Reviews are the easiest and quickest path to building trust with your audience. Purchasing decisions are mainly based on trust and the lack of any visible feedback could challenge them dramatically.
Similarly, the way you treat reviews says a lot about your values and professional practices. The wrong approach can ruin your company’s reputation and negatively impact the relationship with your current and potential customers.
And the numbers support this. Here are the top trends around online reviews that prove their value.
Consumer trends in online reviews
Reviews can build both trust and doubts. The way you treat them is crucial for the way they would affect your clients’ behavior and brand in general.
- 85% of buyers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal, 2017)
- Consumers are able to trust a local business after reading an average of 10 online reviews (BrightLocal, 2017)
Digital trends in online reviews
The most recent trends in online reviews show that customers tend to engage with content that’s easy to process and comprehend. Pictures and videos come quite handy here since they visually present the information to make it more authentic. Another factor that makes feedback feel more reliable are third-party systems where verification and validation come by default.
- Nearly 65% of shoppers trust products more when reviews have user-generated content such as photos and videos (PowerReviews, 2019)
- Online reviews are now 65 percent shorter (ReviewTrackers, 2018)
- More brands are using online review software (ReviewTrackers, 2018)
Industry trends in online reviews
Reviews can massively affect the customer’s behavior and relationship building. People are likely to spend more and come back to your company based on the quality of reviews you’ve received and shared.
Since both customers and owners know that a significant amount of the reviews available are fake, people can’t be easily misled by quantity. You need to make an effort to understand the experience of your customers and build a relationship with them. Requesting and replying to reviews on a regular basis is the only way to establish their credibility and add worth to your reviews.
- 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017)
- It is estimated that 10% to 30% of all submitted reviews are fake (100 Reviews, 2018)
- Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews (Invesp, 2019)
- 30% of consumers believe that responding to reviews is key when judging local businesses
- 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked – with 74% having been asked for their feedback (BrightLocal, 2018)
Review score matters
According to a study conducted by Search Engine Land, 9 out of 10 consumers have read online reviews and more than 70% of them tend to trust businesses that get positive reviews and higher product ratings.
Numbers are definitely making a difference and can either persuade or discourage customer’s choices. Since negative reviews (as well as low star ratings) can hurt your business, we advise you to pay particular attention to the way you treat them.
- 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more (Searchengineland)
- 92% of users will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating (BrightLocal, 2018)
- 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review (Invesp, 2019)
- 86% of people hesitate to do business with a company if it has negative online reviews (Dixa)
Tips for generating more positive reviews
The advantages of reviews are clear and supported by data. They are one of the most secure and effective ways of increasing brand awareness and making a clear statement about your company’s values. When treated correctly, reviews can help your business develop and improve over time.
The real challenge with reviews, however, is making customers actually write them for you. How do you convince someone to spare some time and review your business?
Well, the options are many and we’ve summed them up for you.
Below are the most effective methods for generating positive customer reviews. Follow them to get more reviews, increase product ratings, and improve your overall performance across a range of platforms.
Assist the process
This is the first and most important action that needs to be taken. Think about ways of making it easy and possible for customers to write reviews for your business. Work on creating various spaces where they can leave feedback. Don’t limit it all to one platform or system but rather make the most of what’s available.
Follow up with customers after they buy any of your products or services online. Use an attention-grabbing email subject and explain to your clients why they’re getting the request. Include a clear call-to-action button and/or links that will allow completing the submission with fewer clicks. Remember that customers should have already agreed to be contacted via email.
Your Email Signature
For those of you who don’t want to bombard customers with emails begging for feedback, there are other ways to motivate action through them. We suggest including a link to your review system or customer survey form in your email signature.
By having an ever-present survey form built-in your customer service emails, you can capture feedback at different stages of the customer journey. Moreover, this approach is non-intrusive and will reach a wide variety of people.
Social Media Polls and Incentives
Social media channels could be very efficient for reaching out to your regular customers and brand followers.
Social media polls are the ideal opportunity to learn more about your performance and ask people for their opinion. Along with their feedback and ideas, you will also get to know your customers better.
You can also launch a contest or giveaway to increase engagement and generate real value for your business.
Use a Reviews Widget on Your Website
Customers’ feedback can be collected and incorporated in a number of ways. A built-in website review widget allows you to add a star-rating feature to your product pages. This provides an efficient way for your customers to leave an opinion about the entire purchasing experience.
Catch the right moment
Many businesses nowadays are missing a major opportunity because they don’t engage with the customer’s experience during and after the purchase process. By asking your customers to provide feedback you make them believe that their opinion is truly valued. Thus you can transform the one-off buyer into a long-term customer. To effectively achieve this, you must catch the right moment to ask for a review.
Ask for Feedback Post-Purchase
An ideal stage of the customer journey to ask for feedback is at the very end of the purchasing experience. Include a survey, feedback form or link to the third-party review platform you are using.
That is the moment when people have collected all the required information to share an informed perspective, and it is still clear enough to be unbiased and authentic. Moreover, at this stage customers are very likely to spend a few extra minutes of their time to comment on the overall experience.
With this in mind, many companies are nowadays including surveys as part of their order confirmation page or email (sent post-purchase).
With the Regiondo reviews module, every customer you serve will get an automatic email asking for a review after your tour or experience, Learn more in this article.
Show that you care about your customers
Contact every single customer
Try to get in touch with every single customer who has purchased from you or dealt with your company in the past. Ask about their experience and assist with resolving any complaints. Carefully listen to customer’s concerns to show customers that you genuinely care. By doing this you will obtain more insight into where you might be failing to meet the expectations and need to improve.
Share existing positive customer reviews
By promoting testimonials from happy customers, you are showing that their experience matters to you. You are also strengthening your brand’s values and prove that you stick to them.
You can post positive reviews on your social media or feature them on the company’s website. However, this effort should extend beyond simply enhancing your website’s content. You must constantly strive for improvement and continue regularly collecting and requesting feedback.
Offer something in return
When you are inviting people to rate your company, it might be a good idea to offer a reward for their effort too. Whether that’s a discount voucher, free gift or something else that relates to your business and your customer’s goals.
Respond to every single review: Negative reviews can work in your favor
Having a balanced mix of reviews is one thing that increases your authenticity. It will help you see your strengths but also define where your business is failing to meet the expectations.
Negative feedback is your best opportunity to learn and grow, as well as a chance to win back a disappointed customer. When treated appropriately it results in increased customer retention and satisfaction.
By calling back upset customers and listening to their complaints, you demonstrate that you genuinely care about their opinions. Below are some other useful tips for dealing with unhappy clients:
- Respond promptly
- Be real and admit your mistakes
- Correct inaccuracies
- Highlight your strengths
- Write like a person, not a corporation
Use a Trusted Review System
Register your company or website on a range of trusted third-party systems or review platforms. Choose a membership plan based on your needs and long-term goals. Explore marketing opportunities like embedding relevant forms in emails, websites, and social media pages.
Don’t know which review platform to use? Have a read through our list to aid your final decision. The below list features the best websites and review systems for tours and activities out there.
In 2018, Tripadvisor generated approximately 730 million user reviews and opinions covering over eight million listings in the United States (Statista, 2018). It is the place where your listing is most likely to be seen and reviewed on a regular basis.
The key to a creating successful profile on TripAdvisor is making it comply with the system’s Popularity Ranking criteria. It is based on feedback content quality, consistency of submissions and overall quantity of your reviews.
Strive to collect reviews frequently in order to improve your listing position over time. Another way to help with review collection and popularity ranking is by using the recommended review collection tools like Review Express. They allow sending a customized review request and measuring performance based on the received feedback.
Yelp is one of the top review websites for local businesses. It lets consumers submit ratings on a five-star scale while accessing all the relevant business information. You are free to include everything from opening hours and location information to images that showcase the best of your business. Adding business information is highly recommended for successfully synchronizing with Google and ranking your business higher in the search results.
You can set up your Yelp profile for free and so can users. Business owners can not only reply to reviews but also ask questions and make appointments through their Yelp page. The system provides a real-time tracker for seeing what’s happening on their page and learn more about their existing and potential clients.
According to a survey run by ReviewTrackers, Google is the review website chosen by over 63% of the consumers. They are likely to check reviews and listings on Google before going for purchase or visit. This number exceeds the overall engagement with any other system or website.
Every customer that uses the Chrome browser and searches for your company will probably see your listing first thing. And since Chrome is the most popular browser by far, a higher ranking of your listing on it means a lot!
Google My Business is also a powerful instrument for establishing the authenticity of your brand, in addition to improving your SEO score.
The ratings also impact the quality scores of your Google Ads. Customer reviews are not directly affecting your ad position but are taken into account for your eligibility to go to auction. They are seen as user-generated content that promotes the transparency and trustworthiness of your site.
So for these reasons, creating a Google My Business account and building reviews there is a great idea (if you’re not doing this already).
In addition to being one of the most popular social media platforms, Facebook is a place where people can recommend companies and services. They’ve retired the star rating system and now your customers can choose between recommending or not recommending your page. They can share various details through tags and photos. Moreover, page admins can easily report unfair recommendations by selecting the “Give feedback” option in the post menu and thus report content that they believe is not reflecting the truth.
Your Own Website
This is your comfort zone and the place where you are in control of everything. Your website gives you the freedom to play around with layout and content in a way that shows those of your reviews you want to put under the spotlight. Your company’s website is the ideal place to share product ratings and customer testimonials. You can link your external customer review collection accounts and have them directly posted to the selected section of your website.
Definitely consider adding testimonials to your home page as well as all landing pages linked to Google Ads. As mentioned above, a great idea is to integrate a widget that enables a customer review feature on your product pages.
Online reviews are a great way to encourage a conversion during every stage of the purchasing process.
Reviews can help you achieve a higher SEO ranking, greater customer engagement, and a trustworthy website that’s more likely to drive sales for you.
In order to maximize their value, you need to consider the different approaches to building customer reviews and the platforms available at your disposal.
Make it easy to leave a review and remind your customers to do so after your tour or experience. Having a presence on the most popular review platforms makes it even more convenient for the customers while giving you access to more useful feedback.
Lastly, highlight the best reviews on your own website to grow your authority and convince people to buy as they browse your tours or activities.
You might also like:
- How Positive Online Reviews Can Help Your Business
- How to Get More Positive Reviews and Boost Referrals
- How To Add A Human Touch In The Digital Age
This is a long post. Get a PDF version by clicking on the image below so you can save it for review later.