Think about the last time that you were online, browsing for an item you wanted to purchase. Did you pick the first item that you saw? Or did you scan for reviews and star ratings? If so, you are not alone. Today, customer reviews are becoming one of the top factors that influence buying decisions. If your enterprise business does not have a high volume of customer reviews, something needs to change.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of customer reviews. For large companies, it is more important than ever to capture reviews to differentiate yourself from your competitors and build social proof with potential customers. Reviews from raving customers build trust in your products and offer buyers real feedback as they consider their purchase alternatives.
Before the internet, traditional advertising channels like radio, television, and print were the main focus for marketing executives. If you were lucky enough to hear great feedback, you could incorporate that feedback into your messaging, but would your audience believe you? Client referrals and recommendations have always ranked highly in terms of lead sources. Now, you can capture that feedback directly from customers and build social proof on the internet, all through reviews. Customer reviews are not only important, but they are here to stay. And if your company does not have reviews, prospective customers will look for alternatives that do. Research by the Spiegel Research Center reveals that the likelihood of a product getting purchased increases by 270% when it gets at least five reviews2. Online reviews also can help drive sales. One study published on Harvard Business Review found that for every one-star increase a brand gets on Yelp, that business sees a 5-9% increase in revenue2. The data tells the story – customer reviews matter.
If you don’t have reviews, can’t you just make up for it with a heavy online advertising investment? Building your online presence goes beyond scaling your online advertising. The issue is that trust in advertising has been declining. 96% of consumers don’t trust ads.3 We have all seen bad advertising, over-promising, and super offensive messaging. So how do you showcase your products and services to an audience who is losing trust? To build a strong online presence, focus not on dollars, but on social proof.
“Social proof, also known as informational social influence, refers to people (in your case, potential customers) assuming that the actions of others are correct, based on the frequency that they see said actions.”4
What is the best way to build social proof in the digital world? Reviews from customers.
How can you build your review count? You can incorporate asking for reviews after key customer interactions as part of your day-to-day processes. Or reach out to past customers asking for reviews. Or you could remove the manual processes and partner with a team like SocialSurvey. Our experience platform automates feedback requests during the customer journey, and automatically prompts the review (if they are leaving positive feedback) to share a review. Capturing the voice of a happy customer and making it easy for them to post a review can help scale your review count and online ratings – without the manual effort.
Once you have turned on the review engine, what do you do when you get a bad review? Of course no one wants to receive a negative review, but not all reviews will be positive. But negative reviews can drive improvement, if you let them. Of course there are rare cases of competitors leaving poor reviews or customers placing blame on companies for issues outside of their control. But for real, unhappy customers, consider putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about why they were unhappy. Consumers want to see that you take your reviews seriously. Reply to those negative reviews, showing empathy and understanding. A canned response seems cold and tells the reviewer that you checked the “reply box.” Offer the reviewer a way to contact you to further discuss their issue.
Uber has built a full CX program based on their customer reviews, that you may have seen before. After every ride, a simple review survey automatically pops up for the rider to rate their experience with that driver. These not only promote good behavior through accountability on drivers, but they directly improve experiences, as riders are now required to specify the reason for a less than 5-star review. Drivers will immediately know what to improve for the next ride. They also use these to remove bad drivers, and resolve customer complaints. Escalating and responding to reviews can even help your business turn a detractor into a promoter.
Received a positive review? Every team loves a positive review. Good news – Google does too. As part of the Google algorithm, the number and quality of reviews helps you improve your search performance. If your reviews include industry keywords, even better. For a small business, being able to respond and share reviews is not very much of a time commitment. But for enterprise companies, look for a tool that can help you amplify your reviews across key review sites. Aggregate your reviews from multiple review sites on your company website and feature those reviews in your marketing efforts. Use your CX data to engage your employees, by coaching and rewarding employees for the positive reviews that they receive.
Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey) turns customer reviews into SEO fuel that helps you grow your business. Your positive customer feedback is automatically amplified across hundreds of social and industry-specific review sites, including employee and office level profile sites.
Reviews marketing is and will continue to be a top-performing lead generation activity. The data shows us that capturing and amplifying the voice of your customers is the best way to build social proof and drive new business. For companies looking to build a strong online brand and drive new business, start with gathering and managing your existing reviews, then focus on driving new reviews for your business. If you are looking to automate review collection and amplification, a platform like Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey) can help.
1 “Why Online Reviews Matter in Ecommerce (2020).” The BigCommerce Blog, 2020.
2 “15 Online Review Stats Every Marketer Should Know.” Search Engine Journal, 2020.
3 “96 Percent of Consumers Don’t Trust Ads. Here’s How to Sell Your Product Without Coming Off Sleazy.” Inc.com. 2019.
4 “Social Proof: What It Is and Why It’s Great for Marketing.” Oberlo, 2020.