Why are customer reviews so important?

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Why are customer reviews so important?

In March 2017, The Drum reported that 60 percent of consumers looked at online reviews at least weekly and a recent survey by Podium found that 93 percent said online reviews do impact their purchasing decisions. It was also reported that 82 percent of consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision, and 68 percent are willing to pay up to 15 percent more for the same product or service if they are assured they will have a better experience.

The bottom line to all these numbers is that online reviews are indeed very relevant to many purchasing decisions. As a result, companies need to be actively encouraging their customers to leave reviews that could prove to offer a bigger sales boost later on.

More importantly, all reviews have the potential to possibly impact buying decisions. Negative reviews can be just as impactful as positive reviews.

You cannot afford to simply wait and hope for more reviews. You need to learn how to ask for reviews, leverage them to get more business, and respond to unfavorable reviews to improve your business image and land you more customers.

Why are customer reviews so important?

The simple truth remains that many people can be easily impacted by the reviews of other people that they read. When a review relates to a product or service, the review could be enormously important in making a person decide whether the product or service is worth the money.

In many cases, reviews can help push a person who might be on the fence about a purchase to take a buying action. Similarly, they can also cause a person to abandon something they were looking at when reviews are negative.

Reviews can also carry more impact on certain industries. For example, only 23 percent of respondents surveyed in the 2020 Customer Communications Review said that ad agencies provided “very good” or “pretty good” service, with ad agencies ranking dead last in comparison to other major industries.

The bottom line remains that many people rely on the opinions of other similarly situated people to make their buying decisions. Reviews can affect all kinds of purchases, from restaurants to dine out at to consumer products for purchase to any number of other assorted goods.

Customer review examples (and how to get more reviews)

Customer reviews can range widely in their types, and many companies attempt to share positive reviews on their website because the reviews that express gratitude often lead to additional sales. Businesses should do whatever they can to make leaving reviews easier.

Some companies may offer templates or autofill options that help make writing reviews easier for their customers. You should attempt to play with different features to see what helps you garner the best results.

Here now are nine kinds of customer reviews:

1. Quotes
A quote review is generally just what it sounds like: a simple quote that illustrates a person’s opinion about a company. Quote reviews are often featured on websites to call attention to a positive reaction.

Quotes are typically short (about one to two sentences) and provide a simple overview of how your product or service worked. A well-placed quote can bolster the other claims a company is making about its product.

A quote review can be one of the easiest reviews to get because it is generally just a couple lines from a customer that they do not necessarily need to be entered into a publishing platform. A company could get a quote from a customer through other means and then use that quote to promote their product.

Getting a quote review will usually involve asking for one. Companies can reach out and try to see if customers are willing to provide brief summaries of their experiences.

2. Peer review sites

Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Yelp, and Amazon are all considered peer review sites. These are some of the most commonly sought websites for customer reviews.

Peer review websites can offer certain advantages and disadvantages. Most such reviews are organic, but the company is typically removed from the process and has no editorial control over the comments left behind.

Many people leave reviews on peer review websites on their own, but you can always encourage customers to use these avenues. When a customer leaves a negative review, a business could benefit from directly replying to the customer’s comments and attempting to orchestrate a solution to their issue.

3. Social media
There is little doubt that social media is playing a larger role in most people’s daily lives, so reviews posted on social media platforms can indeed carry a lot of clout. Like peer review sites, the company will not really have any control over what is said or published.

Social media reviews can be further capitalized when companies encourage the use of hashtags to group reviews together. Aerie, the intimate apparel and lifestyle retailer and sub-brand owned by American Eagle Outfitters, uses the hashtag #AerieReal for their reviews.

Social media reviews can be some of the easiest reviews to get because most customers are already incredibly active on social media websites. A simple request could lead to a review on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform.

4. Case studies
Case studies relate more to the businesses to businesses (B2B) area. Case studies may be written from the perspective of the company doing the work or providing the product and explain what was done to help a customer reach their goals.

A case study is quite different from most other reviews and will require some work to be performed by a company. The good news is that companies can create these kinds of reviews on their own without having to rely on a customer.

5. Customer stories and interviews
Some businesses will want to highlight their customer experience, and customer stories and interviews allow for more of this than case studies. A customer story or interview can help inform a prospective customer about another customer’s actual experience working with a company.

The advantage of a customer story or interview is that it places far more emphasis on the customer experience than the business perspective. Such reviews are very helpful to the average person and give them somebody to relate to.

Companies can seek stories or interviews from existing customers, and the review could be a video interview or possibly be the text of an interview conducted via phone or email. A business may just need to ask customers if they are willing to share their experiences.

6. Blog posts
Blog reviews are typically much longer than other conventional reviews. This can be beneficial for a company when a review is positive and a person writes at considerable length about a product, but it can also be harmful when the review is negative and there are multiple issues called attention to.

Beyond being longer and able to address more issues than the more customary reviews allow, blog posts could also have real search engine optimization (SEO) value. A glowing review on a blog could also rank highly in Google and be one of the first links people click when looking for a product.

The opportunity to get a blog review is more difficult because not all customers have blogs. Many companies are forced to wait to see which customers will make the effort to write a blog review.

7. Videos
According to Statista, 85 percent of U.S. internet users watched online video content on any device. Furthermore, smartphone users aged 18 to 24 years spent more time watching video content than any other age group as they spent on average 83 minutes consuming videos per week while smartphone users aged between 50 and 64 years only spent an average of 36 minutes per week watching mobile video content.

A video review is far more personal than other reviews because it allows people to actually see a person’s emotion while giving their review. A video review thus has the potential to create a far more immediate and lasting impact.

Companies may be able to reach out to existing customers to see if they are interested in doing video reviews. Many people now post these kinds of reviews on their own because videos have become easier to record.

8. User-generated content
The phrase user-generated content could include social media posts, videos, images, audio, or other kinds of content created by a user of a product or service. Companies can be creative in how they use other types of reviews for this content.

For example, when a customer shares a picture of themselves with a product, a company could add the image to a collection of customer photos. The idea of user-generated content is less providing a written review than a glimpse into how a product or service is being appreciated.

Companies can get more user-generated content by encouraging their customers to share their experiences on social media. Many people will be inclined to share their experiences when they see companies showcasing the experiences of others.

9. Brand ambassadors
A brand ambassador is essentially a person who is willing to help your sales team by promoting your product or service on other networks. They are customarily fans of the company they are working for.

Seeking brand ambassadors can be somewhat tricky, but these positions could be either paid or voluntary. Businesses will want to seek people willing to do the work without compensation, but companies with bigger budgets may want to make the investment for a more positive return.

Replying to customer reviews

Customer reviews do not have to sit idly by without a response. In fact, there are numerous advantages to responding for most companies.

The way you approach your reply will depend on whether a review was positive or negative.

How to respond to a positive review

Responding to positive reviews is far easier because all a company will generally want to do is let the customer know their comments were seen and appreciated. It is generally preferable to make the response as personalized as possible so the reply does not feel like the same simple copy-and-paste message given to everybody.

You want to respond to any review as soon as possible. Consider using your reply to recommend another product.

How to respond to a negative review

Negative reviews can be much more stressful, especially when a customer does not seem open to reconciliation. Just as is the case with positive reviews, it is important to respond as quickly as possible so the person posting the review sees that you are taking their comments seriously.

In many cases, companies will try to achieve a resolution through a private channel, encouraging people to contact the company through email or private messaging. It is important to try and honor the criticism without dismissing the customer’s complaints.

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