Allowing customers to write reviews about your business can seem a little daunting. What if someone misuses the review platform or (heaven forbid!) a customer has a bad experience and writes a scathing review? It can be difficult to relinquish the illusion of control and open yourself up to customer feedback, but multiple studies have shown that even with the possibility of negative reviews, online reviews yield some impressive benefits. Three of the most profitable benefits are improved SEO, higher conversion rates, and a chance to make positive changes within your company. Here’s a closer look at this trio:
- Better SEO: Google is in the business of making its users happy, so its algorithms are calibrated to bump up reviewed businesses in the search engine results. Reviews are a major player in how Google determines rankings, and the search engine actively encourages its businesses to request them from their customers. Then, when a customer types in a search inquiry, Google shines a spotlight on the companies with reviews, and the others just look sort of, well, pathetic in comparison. Even mediocre reviews are more influential than no reviews.
- Higher Conversion Rates: One compelling aspect of online reviews is that almost 90% of consumers polled said that these reviews were as influential as a recommendation from a friend during the decision-making process. In fact, consumers report that businesses with no reviews seem like they can’t be trusted. Further, two-thirds of the consumers polled said that online reviews carried at least some weight when they made their decision. Just having three stars yields more click-throughs than no reviews, and that number goes up exponentially with each additional star.
- A Chance to Make Positive Changes: Reviews open up a communication portal between you and your customers. Remember, reviews are not a one-way street. When you see that you have a negative review, login and give the customer some affirmation. If you respond sincerely to a negative comment, it can help soothe hurt feelings which will go a long way in gaining you back some good PR. Replying to reviews can make customers feel like they are being heard which is important for those who are reading through the reviews while trying to make a decision.
On the flip side of that, it’s also a way for you to thank customers who left positive reviews. Responding quickly and appreciatively shows that you actively care about your customers and value communication. Potential customers that are reading through these exchanges between you and your reviewer will notice your sincerity and commitment to building relationships with customers, which can earn you some major points.
Also, if you notice that a particular policy or employee is being brought up repeatedly in your company’s reviews, you should take notice. These reviews can provide some good feedback on what you are doing well and how you can improve. With that feedback, you can offer commendations for good performance and make adjustments where necessary.
If you don’t have any reviews showing up on Google at the moment, you can get the ball rolling by setting up your website to include customer reviews and testimonials. Adding a review section on your website is a pretty standard feature for most website builders.
And finally, you can steer happy customers toward review sites. Wait an appropriate amount of time for people to enjoy the benefits of your products or services, then send them an email requesting their feedback. Many people will be happy to comply because they know how much they have valued online reviews from others.
Even though it can be a little scary to let people review your business, it can enhance your company’s credibility over time.