Reviews can be scary, if only because you’re putting your fate in the hands of your customers, which can lead to a whole lot of uncertainty or anxiety, when, up to a point, you have had full control of your business identity. God knows, opening yourself up to criticism in any context can be frightening, but from a customer perspective reviews and testimonials have become an almost essential part of the consumer landscape.
Not only are customers reliant on reviews to help them get detailed insight into the legitimacy, quality and efficiency of a brand or product, but search engines will take a more favourable approach to listings that have reviews in the first place, regardless of whether they’re good or bad (although, for your sake it’s probably better if they’re positive).
As many as 92% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business or purchasing a product online, and excellent reviews can boost individual spend by up to 31%. With increased business visibility, it has never been more important to make sure that the impact you make on your customers is as transparent as possible. Word of mouth really does sell.
It’s equally as important to be honest in your handling of reviews. Removing unfavourable reviews is not only dishonourable but it’s also far more obvious than you think. Nobody’s perfect, and many would argue that having 150 reviews with a mix of different ratings seems far more genuine than having the same number of reviews, all at 5 stars. Getting a 4 star review isn’t the end of the world, especially when you consider that only 8% of people will turn away from a business if it doesn’t have a 5 star rating.
Whilst you are opening yourself up to scrutiny by soliciting for reviews, you need to understand how important it is. Asking your customers politely, either in person, or via email after purchase, to spare 5 minutes to leave a review of their product or experience, especially in exchange for future discounts or other incentives such as prize draws, might be all you need to turn the tide in your favour for future potential customers.
Where things start getting rocky though, is where the negative reviews start to come in, and unless you’re constantly on top of your game, it’s an inevitability that you might not meet expectations at every single opportunity.
Don’t let negative reviews build up, especially when 42% of people will turn away from a business with an average review score below 3 stars. From the outside looking in, if you have several 1 or 2 star reviews, and they only tell one side of the story, most people will instantly find somewhere else.
The key is in responding to those less than favourable reviews, with your honest account of what happened from your perspective. Don’t argue, but be professional and, where necessary, apologise. If visitors can see that there are two sides to the story and that you have stepped up as professionally as possible, they will more than likely have far more respect for your business, and if anything become more inclined to use your services.
There’s no getting around it, reviews should be an essential part of your marketing strategy moving forward if they aren’t already. If you have any concerns about using a review platform such as Google My Business, or Trustpilot, get in touch with us today to discuss set up, management and a future review strategy for your business.