Online commerce and the popularity of social media have truly made customer the king. Customer reviews are shaping consumer decisions to a great extent, and this influence is expected to rise further. Shopper experiences and preferences are being shared widely and enthusiastically, impacting the bottomlines of many businesses.
Smart businesses have long since realized this shift in power in the favor of the consumer and have started tweaking their marketing strategies to accommodate growing reviews and customer engagement in general.
As a business you need these reviews if you want to stay competitive and grow. Here are only seven reasons why customer reviews are important and what paying attention to them will achieve for you.
1. Reviews Build Credibility for Your Business
In this day and age businesses are dealing with very smart and knowledgeable consumers. It’s very unlikely anyone is going to take you at face value. It’s also very unlikely they will buy what you have to say via paid advertisements.
Instead, your target buyers will research your background and will pay particular attention to the user reviews you have received. Positive or negative, all reviews are being read and mulled over. As per one survey, positive customer reviews influence the buying decisions of 90% of shoppers, while negative reviews influence the purchase decisions of 86% of shoppers. That’s a big number that no business can or should ignore.
If a quick search on you does not turn up an adequate number of positive reviews, your target shoppers will very likely not proceed with doing any business with you because you have not done enough to come across as a bankable option to them.
On the other hand, if a search on you returns a high number of negative reviews, you will lose many potential customers, as well as some of the existing ones.
Customer reviews mean a lot to shoppers today and here’s why:
- User reviews are reassuring for people who have never done business with you. Customer reviews have a human touch about them which makes them believable.
- Detailed reviews can remove doubts in the minds of shoppers about certain products or services, making them more likely to go ahead with their purchase decision.
- People feel better about their decision when they see many others have taken a similar one too.
- Many of the shoppers are avid reviewers themselves and are instinctively wary of an ecommerce site or any business that is lacking in this aspect.
More and more people are basing their purchase decisions on the social presence and credibility garnered by businesses. It’s no longer enough to be good at what you do, you need your customers to say as much about you, and you need them to do this in big numbers.
2. Reviews Help Increase Your Sales
A glowing review is always good to read but it can do a lot more than make you happy. More people finding you credible and giving you the thumbs-up leads to many more giving you a chance and shopping with you. If you do a good job of satisfying your customers, expect to see a rise in sales figures for your business on the back of a considerable number of good user reviews.
3. Reviews Tell You If Your Marketing Is Working
So you have been pumping your heart and soul into marketing your business but are not sure whether it is reaching the target audience or whether it is having the desired effect on your target audience?
Invite them to leave a review with you and you will know exactly where you stand. Pay attention to the tone of the reviews, whether it is positive, negative or lukewarm: “Lukewarm reviews are gentle indicators that something–your strategy, customer service, quality assurance, even your product–is off. Like miners in the dark, it’s imperative to pay attention to these online chirps–and course-correct before it’s too late.”
—How Online Reviews Make (or Break) Your Business
Every review tells you something. Be attuned into them to glean precious information out of them.
4. Reviews Help you Improve Customer Experience
That is pure gold for a business. If you want to improve user experience, which you should if you value customer service, here are your customers telling you in no uncertain terms exactly what they like and/or dislike about your products and services. Many of them take out the time to pen in detail how you have helped them and also delineate areas where you have been found wanting.
People telling you exactly what you need to do to improve should be immediately taken into consideration, though whether you act on it or not may depend on a number of factors. Many companies, big and small, take customer feedback into account and release updated versions of their products that aim at improving the user experience. People like being listened to. So encourage shoppers to leave detailed reviews on your website or via social media so that you can improve customer experience and boost your chances of customer retention as well as customer acquisition.
5. Reviews Allow You to Shape Your Narrative about Yourself
A lot is being written about businesses on various websites all over the world. Some of it is positive, a lot of it is negative. But all this dependence on customer reviews does not mean businesses are helpless; in fact, far from it.
It is true that your customers are now calling the shots. However, they only do so based on what you provide them with (or as in this case, don’t provide them with) in the first place.
So that you are not caught napping by a string of harmful reviews or deliberate misinformation circulating around the Internet about your business, become proactive and start collecting positive reviews.
Also, find negative reviews about yourself and address them. An indifference to user reviews may prove costly to your business but a smart handling of them will allow you to shape your desired narrative about yourself.
6. Reviews Help You Rise in Google Search Rankings
Your competitors who have been doing their bit in collecting positive reviews and combatting negative ones are likely to feature higher up than you in search results as well as inspire more confidence in shoppers.
In stark contrast, the indifferent presence of your business on the Web, accompanied by negative or a low amount of reviews, will harm your online reputation and lose you many potential customers.
If you have been engaging in local SEO efforts but have not been paying equal attention to reviews and recommendations, then you have been selling yourself short.
So instead of tumbling down Google search rankings because you couldn’t be bothered about user reviews, approach this matter as an opportunity to rise through the ranks and gain more customers in the process.
7. Reviews Keep You in Touch with Times
Technology is forcing businesses to keep up with the pace of innovation to stay relevant.
The consumer base is increasingly aware of the options available to them. They are always scouting for the best deals and services they can buy for their money. If there’s anybody out there offering even a slightly better service than you, chances are your customers will find them and flock to them.
When people find a better deal, they are also very eager to inform their social circles about it. Information like this spreads fast via word of mouth on social media and on review sites. Somebody mentioning another business on your Twitter feed should ideally make you want to check them out soon as you can to ascertain what they are doing better or if there’s something you can learn from them.
Customer reviews and sundry comments are thus an excellent source of market intelligence. Newer businesses are dynamic and the social media is a vibrant place. People love to share and exchange information. As an alert business you can be a direct beneficiary of this by tapping into the consumer sentiment and evolving strategies and policies to keep up with the changing times, expectations, and demands.
We have stated here seven reasons for you to take user reviews seriously, but rest assured there are many more. These, however, should make you want to sit up and take stock of how you have been approaching your online marketing efforts.
Overall, you lose customers and fall behind times when you take an indifferent approach to user reviews. But when you are convinced of the power of customer reviews and devise an active strategy to collect them, you gain greater business credibility, higher sales, and at times enhanced customer loyalty as well.