The Ultimate Guide to Customer Reviews and Testimonials

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customer reviews

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Reviews and Testimonials

As the Internet emerged, customer reviews and testimonials have appeared as an indirect method of  promoting goods and services. The usefulness of customer reviews has increased with the rise  in e-commerce and online shopping. Shopping websites invariably carry a large number of testimonials and customer reviews for most of their products. Such reviews are not only helpful for the business but also for the customers as they get unbiased information and get to make an informed choice about the products prior to purchasing them. Here are some of the reasons why a business should actively manage its reviews and testimonials and how they should do it.

What is a Customer Review?

A customer review is a written statement and provides an opinion about a product or an entity. This statement reflects the customer’s opinion as well as their experience. It is estimated that over 90% of online shoppers read customer reviews before making a purchase. These reviews have now largely replaced personal referrals as people find these reviews to be more relevant and objective. A business can use reviews received to expand its market share and broaden its customer base. Further, these reviews may also help a business to get better search engine rankings.

Top Customer Review Strategies

In order to utilize the benefits of customer reviews and testimonials, it is important to take stock of your objectives and draw up a relevant strategy. These strategies will ensure that you get better bang for your buck.

  1. Ask Your Existing Customers: You can harness the power of your existing customer base to create new markets. Request them to provide reviews and testimonials in return for a shoutout or corporate giveaway for example. In order to induce them to write a meaningful review, you can also provide them with benefits such as discount coupons or exclusive deals and pricing. Additionally, you can also provide them with information about specific details to be included in the review. This step will ensure that you do not have to carry out extensive editing of the reviews and the reviews are relevant to your potential customers.
  2. Find the Promoters: While reviews are expected to be unbiased, you can still boost your positions by focusing on people who are more likely to provide positive reviews about your business. Promoters are the people who are very pleased with your services and therefore are more prone to recommend your business to their family and friends. You can also automate the process of approaching such promoters and asking them to leave a review. There are many tools available for this purpose and you can more than recover your cost by boosting your topline.
  3. Guide Your Customers: While your customers may have very high view of your products, they may not be accustomed to the nuances of online reviews. Such inexperience may render reviews ineffective and unable to garner proper results. It is imperative that you guide your customers to help them write powerful yet unbiased reviews. You may also guide them towards proper places where they should post their reviews. While many businesses post review on their own websites, they may also rely upon third party review websites. In such situations, it is important to steer customers in the right direction.
  4. Manage User Generated Reviews: With the increase in the popularity of aggregating sites and review sites such as Yelp and Twitter, it has become a little more difficult for businesses to properly manage their reviews. However, the businesses are still required to monitor such sites carefully so as to present a truthful picture of their operations and offerings. You can encourage your customers to leave their reviews on such websites by incentivizing them. One of the ways to do this is to add link to such websites in your web content. You can also start your own fan page on Facebook and other social media websites and gather reviews there.

In the e-commerce era, customer reviews are more than just a statement. It is a comprehensive marketing strategy which combines written testimonials with the wise use of social media influencers and promoters. With a customized approach, you can transform customer reviews into a viable and efficient marketing and PR tool.

Importance of Customer Reviews and How to Generate Them

Importance of Customer Reviews and How to Generate Them

Word of mouth is the most vital medium for popularizing any business. Positive reviews are not the only kind that may be beneficial to a business, even though they are preferred. And establishing a positive image of your business isn’t the only benefit of online reviews.

Online reviews by the customers can also optimize search engine rankings. Popular review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor have been around for a long time and have an extensive database of information about businesses available.

Customer reviews also help by making it easy for buyers to choose what they desire. According to Bright Local’s consumer survey, 86% of the consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 12% of consumers looking for a local business online every day. Surprisingly, 89% of the global customers read the responses to reviews.

Why Do Customer Reviews Matter?

According to Bright Local’s survey of local consumer reviews, consumers go through an average of seven reviews before trusting a business. These statistics were six in 2016. Also since the spread of the review culture, these businesses have seen the most growth and expansion. Other forms of businesses are also reviewed and referred to by consumers all around the world.

Online reviews not only influence consumers but also affect the visibility of these businesses in search engines. With regard to retail, the most influential factor for Google’s local search ranking is based largely on significance, location, and presence.

Out of these, location and significance are not affected by reviews. However, reviews have a major impact on the online presence of a business. Search engines like Google favor reputable review sites such as Yelp, so it is not uncommon for a small business’s Yelp or even Facebook page to rank higher in search results than its actual website.

Reviews can also be used as customer testimonials for the business website. Highlighting good reviews in social media posts and marketing campaigns may also result in further generation of reviews. Social media influencers can be vitally important while working toward growing your business presence online.

How to Collect Customer Reviews? 

Increasing positive customer reviews means growing consumer base. To get reviews from customers is not an easy task for an ordinary or new business. A great deal of effort has to be put in to generate reviews. Certain practices may be helpful in the generation of reviews. Some of these are:

  • Providing exceptional consumer service

Customers, when provided with good service are satisfied and would readily leave a review when asked for. The services include everything from providing online payment platforms to guiding the consumers in the best possible manner.

  • High-quality product or service

The product or service that a company provides is the main reason behind the customer’s satisfaction.

  • Requesting feedback/advice/suggestions regarding personal interests of the consumers

Attending to the customer and asking for their views on improving the business help to instill a friendly/family-like atmosphere for the customer, making them feel more involved and important.

  • Making it easy to receive feedback

Engaging the customers, even after the product has been sold is essential. This can be achieved by reviewing their purchase history and making recommendations regarding products that they might like.

  • Engaging customers online

Using the information about the customer collected from their purchase and sending emails regarding the product and its feedback, is a good way to make the customer feel engaged.

  • Active and logical responses to reviews

Actively responding to customers in a logical and compassionate way is vital for success in business. There can be positive reviews and negative reviews. Responding to both is equally essential.

Regular interaction with the consumer helps in maintaining a check on the quality of services, whether it’s about the best mode of delivery, online payment gateway, or cancellations & refunds. Regularly tracking reviews by making it a habit to check out various review platforms and social media outlets will help in the growth of the business. In this age of social media, online reviews are just the tool you need to make your business known.