Isn’t it great when you receive positive feedback from your customers? But, other than the satisfaction of a job well done, do online reviews really matter?
In this blog, we’ll take a look at why you should prioritise gathering online reviews as part of your marketing strategy, how reviews can help you earn new customers as well as increasing loyalty from your fans.
Are online reviews important?
In short, yes.
Online reviews matter and not only help your rank in search engines, but also increase lead generation and convert sales.
Online reviews can affect your Google ranking
You might have heard that Google recently made a change to it’s algorithm, where it placed increased importance on your website’s E-A-T (if not, check out this blog). Basically, this means Google decides on how to rank your website based on how it views your expertise, authority and trust, among other factors.
Trust is the big one, and is influenced by online reviews of your business.
This is so important because having a large proportion of negative reviews can actually mean Google views you as untrustworthy, so could penalise you, which in turn could affect your position in search engine results.
On the flipside, having positive responses from your customers can help increase your trustworthiness in Google’s eyes.
So, either way it’s pretty important if you’re looking to drive traffic to your website.
We’ll look at how you can encourage customers to leave reviews, and how to respond to negative feedback later in this blog – for now let’s look at why else reviews are so important.
Online reviews affect sales
Consumers are reading online reviews before they buy, and the feedback your customers leave about your products and services does impact whether other people buy from you.
A recent study by Podium suggested that:
- 60% of consumers look at online reviews at least weekly
- 82% say that they read a review before making a decision to buy
- 93% of people’s purchasing decisions are impacted by online reviews
- And interestingly, 68% of people would be willing to pay 15% more for the same product or service if they believe they’ll get a better experience
All of this suggests that your customers read and trust online reviews and it can really impact whether they decide to buy from you.
So, how can you encourage customers to leave reviews and how should you respond to feedback?
How to get reviews from your customers
Now that we’re all agreed that online reviews are pretty important, we can hear you asking – but how do I get my customers to leave feedback?
Fear not, we’ll go into that now.
There are a couple of ways you can encourage your customers to leave online reviews, varying in sophistication and price. It’s totally up to which way you go, but the key thing is making it as easy for the customer and for yourself.
Make it easy
You’re asking the customer to do you a favour, so don’t make them do unnecessary leg work. When asking for feedback point them to exactly where you want them to leave the review and they’ll be more likely to do it. You could offer an extra incentive by entering them into a prize draw when they leave the feedback.
Automate as much as possible
It’ll be easier to keep up with your review requests if you can automate the process as much as possible. Otherwise it’s easy for you to get caught up with your day to day work and forget about asking your customers to leave an online review. You’re also more likely to get feedback from your customers as soon as they’ve made the purchase, rather than asking a month or two down the line.
Make use of online tools
To keep the process as easy and simple as possible, we’d recommend using an online review platform. It’ll be easier to send out bulk requests to your customers, which you could do once a week or month depending on how many orders you deal with. These platforms also make it much easier to manage responding to feedback.
Our online reputation manager is a leading platform for review management, and allows you to request and respond to reviews all in one place. The platform also allows you to schedule your social media, and optimise directory listings helping you engage with your fans and ensure all your business information is up to date.
At just £75 it’s a great way to start to build your online reputation and manage reviews, plus this autumn we’re offering your first month free. For more info, speak to our team on 01902 319 730 or fill out your details here and we’ll be in touch.
Dealing with negative feedback
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, sadly opening yourself up to feedback will mean you get some negative reviews. Whether that feedback is justified or not, it’s important to respond.
Replying gives you the opportunity to make things right, not just because 33% of people who have left a negative review tend to change their rating when you respond, but also replying helps show that you want to ensure the issue won’t affect other customers. Remember, you’re not just speaking to that one customer but other people could be reading those reviews.
Here are some things to remember when responding to negative reviews online:
- Thank the reviewer for their feedback, and ensure you apologise in your response
- Show that this isn’t what customers normally experience
- Offer to continue the conversation offline, i.e provide your contact details
- Keep it simple, generally three sentences is enough
Using reviews to improve customer experience
Getting direct feedback from your customers with online reviews is actually a really useful way for you to improve your service and processes. Take the time to read the feedback your customers are leaving and be honest with yourself. Are there things you can do better? Whether that’s improving your communication or better aligning your sales and marketing, learn from your negative reviews to make it better for future customers.
And, if you’re only getting positive ratings – good for you! Remember to thank those customers who have taken the time to leave a positive review as well as your staff!
In summary, online reviews are worth prioritising. Not only can they improve your online presence, driving web visits and improving conversions, getting direct feedback from your customers can improve your customer satisfaction and loyalty.