Like it or not, customer reviews are a fact of life — and their impact on your business is huge. Columnist Jeremy Smith explains how you can use this to your advantage to promote your brand.
Unless you’re just back from an extended stay in some parallel universe, you know that customer reviews are valuable to e-commerce and increasing online conversions. Even negative reviews can be helpful to you, as the purveyor of a product or service.
The value of online customer reviews can hardly be overstated, though perhaps it approaches being over-documented.
• Site visitors are 105 percent more likely to buy while on a site if they interact with reviews and customer questions and answers.
• Consumer reviews are nearly 12 times more trusted than descriptions that come from manufacturers.
• Reviews produce an average 18 percent uplift in sales.
Earlier this year, I cited a study by the Acquity Group that said 94 percent of business buyers do some form of online research and that 75 percent of them read either user reviews or review websites.
Your results may differ, as they say (and I’ll guarantee), but the overall positive trend is undeniable.
If numbers don’t convince you, check out how Amazon has made critics out of us all. Or take a cruise through Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google My Business, Epinions or any of many other online review aggregators, for good or bad, and you’ll get my point.
Customer reviews are a fact of life online (and off), and you’d better have a plan for how you will obtain and use them to the betterment of your marketing and sales efforts.
Shoppers Expect Reviews, Good And Bad
Regardless of the numbers, many businesses and marketers are wary, if not downright afraid, of allowing the man on the street to have his say about their company, product or service. In fact, more than half of businesses still fear that negative reviews will bring them unhealthy exposure, according to Econsultancy and Trustpilot.
This is not entirely unwarranted. Negative reviews have a stronger impact on sales than positive reviews, according to researchers who analyzed Amazon conversions for 591 books and 18,682 customer reviews.
But three-quarters of reviews posted to third-party review websites are positive, and when customers are unhappy, almost all can be retained if the business resolves the issue quickly and efficiently, as this infographic indicates.
This makes bad reviews potentially helpful. Showing the world a negative review tells everyone that you are unafraid. It generates trust, as it should.
No one can please everyone all the time. And if you can show the steps you took to resolve issues behind a negative review, you can turn a problem into a positive.
A study by social commerce company Reevoo found that 68 percent of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores. Further, shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert 67 percent more often than the average consumer.
It’s about customer persona and where each customer is in the buyer funnel.
But again, it depends on the customer. Trends are good macro indicators, but they don’t necessarily apply to what’s going on with your site today.
Start Listening And Reporting What Customers Say Today
Are you posting customer reviews and ratings on your website? You should be. If you’re afraid of what customers might say, frankly, you should look into why there’s any rational reason for such apprehension — and fix it.
Because, as I’ve laid out above, this can do you a lot of good. If you provide a product or service to the general public and do not carry reviews or at least some kind of numerical rating critique, you’ll stand out for what’s lacking. And soon enough, that will do you the opposite of good.
And you know that you’re being reviewed elsewhere anyway, right? Angie’s List, Yelp, TripAdvisor… not to mention Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. You’re there, like it or not.
You can at least take some control, whether you develop a full-fledged VoC program or simply keep up with social media and visitors to your site and top third-party review sites.
Online comments, reviews and critiques are a fact of life in the world of e-commerce. If you’ve kept them off your site hoping they’ll go away, it’s time to give it up. Reviews are helpful, almost regardless of what they say.
You need to attend to what your customers are saying about you online, just as you would if they were standing in front of you.
Read the full article at Marketing Land
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Story By Jeremy Smith | Marketing Land
Jeremy Smith is a serial entrepreneur, trainer and conversion consultant, helping businesses like IBM, Dow Chemical, American Express, Panera Bread, and Wendys improve conversions and strategically grow their businesses. Jeremy’s experience as the CMO and CEO of technology firms has given him a powerful understanding of human behavior and profit-boosting techniques.
Twitter – www.jeremysaid.com