In the era of digital marketing, online customer reviews are transforming the ways shoppers choose products and services, which users post online matters more than advertisements — complementing offline word-of-mouth communication about product quality. In this blog, we have addressed the significance of customer reviews and how to manage online reviews effectively.

Introduction

The growing internet users and easy web access have radically changed the way people shop today. Online customer reviews have a significant role to play, as reviews help determine the purchase decision of a product or service. Research suggests that consumers are likely to spend 31% more on products/services from businesses that have excellent reviews, while a negative review can drive away 40% of potential customers. Negative customer reviews considerably impact online sales than positive reviews. Businesses have realized the potential of online customer reviews; it has become essential for organizations to consider customer reviews as an integral part of business reputation and growth. 

Customer reviews are useful. Why?

Social Proof 

Online customer reviews are the most significant social proof and have an impact on sales. We, humans, are social beings. Before we make our purchase decisions, we would ask friends and family for recommendations. Online customer reviews allow us to view the recommendations as comments or stars on the review websites.

Read more about Apple iPhone 11’s pre-launch reviews and its Sentiment Analysis

Make you visible and expand the conversation about your brand

In the age of online reviews before making a buying decision, most shoppers, survey on search engines like Google, or even on Facebook and YouTube, when deciding what to buy. Remember, very good (or bad) reviews tend to spread quickly.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”  – Jeff Bezos, CEO & Founder, Amazon

Make you look trustworthy

Trust is the foundation of any business-consumer relationship. Online reviews help to build credibility and trust. Verified reviews allow consumers to get a real sense of how companies treat their customers. A research by Harvard Business School found that the majority of shoppers trust reviews more when they notice a mix of good and bad feedback. Reviews make it much easier to decide which businesses to avoid, saving consumers time and hard-earned money. 

Impact Search Rankings

Online reviews have unique content and keywords about brands’ performance. Websites such as Facebook or TripAdvisor, they all value original and fresh content. And customer reviews can help feed the content machine, keeping your brand favored by algorithms. Chatmeter’s research reveals that online reviews make up over 13% of how Google and other search engines rank local search results. Over time, online reviews can boost your search ranking. 

Impact on Sales

Nowadays, most businesses have the option to review products or services directly on their websites. Alternatively, in the age of online reviews, consumers have the opportunity to review products on websites dedicated to customer reviews such as TripAdvisor. What people post about you online matters more than how you promote what you are selling yourself. Every online review, positive or negative affects your business. Therefore, paying attention to what people are saying about you is more important than ever. Even more critical to your success are the people reviewing your products or services. 

As we can see, online reviews make a big difference, and consumers these days are better armed with information to make a purchase decision. Now the question is can the online customer reviews be managed. The answer is yes. Check out how can the customer reviews be managed. 

Effectively manage online reviews

Encourage happy customers to review your products or services

It’s a bitter truth that not all customers are happy and satisfied customers. When it comes to reviews, encourage satisfied customers, especially those who are recent buyers to write reviews for your brand. There are several creative ways you can ask for reviews such as automated emails, in-person testimonials, or social media. Whatever medium you chose, make it as easy as possible for the customer to leave a review. 

Read more about Customer Experience: Best Ways to Improve CX in eCommerce

Respond proactively

Respond to all authentic reviews — especially those that raise negative issues about your services.

Show appreciation to customers who provided highly positive, detailed, or helpful reviews. Seek approval to quote their remarks on your website and other digital marketing channels.

On the other hand, professionally engage customers who post sharp, biting or unfair comments about your product or service. Find ways to address their concerns whenever possible. Be polite and honest — approach sensitive situations with utmost grace. 

Offer rewards and incentives 

Offer compelling rewards incentives to gather reviews – especially if you are a young startup. Offering rewards doesn’t mean you need to pay your customers. One such example to consider is providing points or cashback offers in customer loyalty programs. 

Identify potential online reviews sites for your brand

Another useful practice you may pursue is to find review sites that specialize in your niche. When consumers look out for online reviews, they would be able to find the best information from the most trusted sources. 

For instance, general review sites include Facebook, Google, Yahoo! Local, Yelp, hotel review sites include booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Restaurant review sites include Zomato, Eat24, OpenTable, and Employer review sites include Indeed, Glassdoor. 

Concluding Thoughts

Online customer reviews appear to be an excellent avenue for grabbing consumer’s attention and increasing sales. Their significance is tremendous as they are responsible for securing online visibility in search rankings, build credibility, trust and eventually drive sales. On the other hand, critical and negative reviews help improve product quality or services. Proactively seek for positive customer reviews. If you have not thought about online reviews to be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy, consider it as early as possible, because online customer reviews are here to stay.