Reviews are one of the best ways to build reputation, trust and gain a true understanding of how customers perceive your brand. Not only do reviews offer an insight into your brand from a customer perspective, but they can also boost your SEO capability and improve your chances of succeeding in an online marketplace.
Asking for reviews
Although reviews might not seem like a big deal if you’re seeing regular business – they can support in building customer trust, attracting new customers and can generate hype around your business.
You should ensure there is a simple process for asking your customers to review. This could include a link at the bottom of an email receipt or thank-you email, a link on your social media pages or a link on your website. This makes the process as easy as possible meaning customers are more likely to leave you a review.
Google My Business
For starters, Google My Business (GMB) is completely free and can be set up through your existing Google account. The benefits of this are that Google will display your business in location-based searches, in line with your listed services and relevant key terms you’ve used in your listing.
Within GMB, your business can be reviewed, which factors into your overall rating. A bunch of reviews can set you apart from other similar businesses in your area and make you more appealing to people searching for services.
Be sure to optimise your listing in full and get verified by having a postcard sent to your registered address. Include as much information about your business as you can. Also Remember to update and use the post functionality to promote offers, products and content.
Registering your business in a directory can help increase your brand awareness and SERP rankings, not to mention further influencing customers through positive and genuine reviews.
Sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are often an essential part of researching a business for many savvy consumers. Good reviews are a sign of quality when it comes to determining the right solution to meet a customer need. Bad reviews are a sign of dissatisfaction. Although it can be hard to please everyone, a couple of bad reviews when teamed with loads of good ones aren’t going to damage your reputation.
Replying to reviews, on any platform, is important to address problems but also thank customers. Responding to good reviews is polite, but replying to negative reviews is essential. This offers you the opportunity to correct the problems, if possible, or at least offer some form of refund or discount, depending on your offering.
Why are reviews important?
Customers trust other customers more than the brand that wants to sell them something. It makes sense, you know that the company has something to gain from your business – i.e. profit – so you’re more likely to listen to a customer review than the sales pitch.
Five bad reviews on their own are much more damaging than five bad reviews interspersed amongst 100 positive reviews. For businesses, it is often a balancing act. There is undoubtedly going to be bad reviews as anger is a much stronger motivator than happiness. This means unhappy customers are more likely to leave a review than the satisfied ones.
By balancing out your reviews with positive reviews from genuinely happy customers, you can better manage your reputation online. Building a strong brand reputation will help you to gain and retain more customers. A healthy portfolio of reviews will demonstrate all of the key benefits that your customers see in your offering.
Moreover, for new businesses and startups, your review portfolio can help propel you ahead of key competitors and offer you an excellent leg-up in building brand trust as a new company. You can even incentivise customers to leave a review, through offering a discount or a promotion if they are happy to participate. However, it’s important not to be too prescriptive or specifically ask for customers to leave ‘fake reviews’ which have been tailored internally.
It’s important to realise that not all reviews are legitimate. Some may be from internal staff members or employees, to try and boost the overall rating of the company. Although this isn’t particularly worrying, it is something you should consider when surveying reviews as a consumer. Look out for those with loads of detail and that appear just a bit too perfect.
Equally, particularly on sites like Amazon, brands are incentivising customers with free products or cash back in exchange for positive reviews. If a brand approaches you about doing this, it’s important to only leave a positive review if you genuinely agree that the product was good. Try and avoid posting supplied pre-written reviews from the business. This can skew listings in favour of brands who may not actually deserve them, resulting in dissatisfied customers in the future.
For more information on building a better brand review portfolio, get in touch with us today.
Also published on Medium.