Online reviews are critical for online marketplace businesses. From developing trust in the brand via peers’ experiences to improving search engine rankings, online reviews are essential to a brand’s growth. Prospective consumers use existing customers’ reviews to seek out additional information and, more importantly, to get a preview of the desired service or product experience.
According to research, 85% of consumers “trust” online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The business’ reply to reviews, especially when not so favorable opinions are involved, is as critically important, with 30% of consumers considering this as key when judging local businesses’ credibility. Simply put, in the age of instantaneous need and expectation of obtaining information, e-commerce entities need to incorporate online reviews on their platforms for the following reasons:
- Increase rankings on search engines
The more “chatter” there is online about a business and its products and services, the greater the rankings in search engines, ultimately resulting in higher website traffic.
- Provides social proof
Potential buyers seek out existing users’ experiences to validate their purchasing decisions. Other people’s reactions to your business will leave an impression on potential users.
- Handling negative reviews demonstrates your customer complaint handling capability
Negative reviews provide an opportunity to demonstrate a robust customer service strategy in action. Oftentimes, with your “correct” reaction to a problem, your unhappy customer can become a loyal brand advocate if the complaint is resolved professionally.
- Increases credibility of your company
It is extremely challenging for startups to acquire new customers and have them choose your offerings over those of established competitors. By encouraging genuine reviews from your (fewer) customers, the credibility of and trust in your brand can grow quicker than your market share.
- Numerous negative reviews are a call to (your) action
Numerous mentions of bitter experiences with your business are indicative of the urgent need to improve your processes or products/services. Negative customer reviews serve as a red flag warning for action to be taken before it is too late.
- With everyone so busy, how do you encourage effective customer reviews?
- 1. Easy and simple process
Value your customers’ opinions while respecting their time. Make customer reviews “quick and easy” with simple forms/feedback options that they are in control of.
2. Offer incentives for submitted reviews
The incentive can be in the form of discounts, coupons, loyalty points or complimentary products/services. Even the smallest incentive can be motivating enough for the customer to make an effort to provide feedback on their experience.
- Request for reviews after the customer experiences your product or service
Requesting a review for a product that has not yet reached the customer is a time-wasting activity for both you and the consumer. Subject to the product or service offered, thank the customer and show them that their feedback is valued by sending a timely email, SMS or other notifications relaying your business’ appreciation for their valuable feedback.
How does your business encourage customer reviews?