If you’ve ever checked online reviews for other businesses, you can bet your current and prospective customers are doing the same for yours.
A report published by Womply that studied transactions and online review data for more than 38,000 retail businesses across the United States states that the number of reviews a business receives on sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business has a larger impact on revenue than their star rating on those sites.
Businesses that averaged 82.5 reviews across all review sites earned 54% more in annual revenue. Those who went a step further and replied to at least half of their reviews earned $166,000 more in annual revenue than businesses that didn’t reply to any.
Review aggregator sites such as the ones mentioned above are frequented by customers more often than you think. Business pages on social media—especially Facebook—have given them a new avenue to candidly write about their experience with a product or service.
With so many people actively writing and seeking reviews about your business, it’s time you gave your online reputation the attention it deserves.
In this blog, we’ll explain why it is important to pay attention to your business’s online reviews and how to do it. If you’re new to this, we’ve also included some templates you can use to reach out to your customers and request reviews.
Once you have your business up and running, claim your listings (it’s free) on the major review sites. Here’s a primer on how to do that.
It is especially important to claim and rectify the ones that have errors in your basic information—name, address, and phone number. Once you claim your listing, you can add details such as your website, location of your store, logo, photos, and so on. Use a free scanner tool like this to find all your online listings.
Customers want to know that a business cares about their experience with its product or service and that the business is open to receiving feedback. Yet 75% of retail businesses do not respond to their customers’ online reviews.
That may not directly lead to a loss in revenue, but it is a wasted opportunity to create lasting relationships that could potentially translate to more sales in the future.
While it may be tempting to ignore negative reviews or address them over private messages with the customer, openly accepting the feedback and responding professionally may be beneficial to your brand image.
If you are a small business receiving only a limited number of reviews, take advantage of it, and respond to all of them personally. By not copy-pasting a generic reply that sounds like it’s coming from a bot, you’ll bring a personal feel to customer interaction that your bigger competitors can’t.
While you want everything to sound as authentic as possible, there are still a few guidelines you should follow when responding to a review.
Remember, never get into an argument online on behalf of your business. If you need to discuss something further with the customer, offer to give them a call so the conversation isn’t immortalized on the Internet for everyone to see.
While it may be disheartening to receive even one bad review, it does not automatically spell doom for your business. Womply found that 19% of the reviews the average business received were negative.
But interestingly, businesses that received 15%–20% negative reviews earned 13% more in annual revenue than those with more favorable reviews. That may come down to the fact that people get suspicious of seeing only 5-star reviews for a brand because it makes it seem like the company has bought fake reviews or is actively removing the negative ones.
To spin a negative review into a positive interaction with your business, address the review on an open forum, reply professionally, and try to improve the customer’s experience with your product or service in the best way you can.
It’s well worth the effort. Businesses that reply to more than 25% of their reviews earned 35% more revenue than average, and their ratings on review sites improved significantly. Fight the urge to get defensive, and immediately reply to a negative review since a lack of response may antagonize the customer even more.
Use this helpful template to reply to a negative or mixed review:
Hey (customer’s first name)!
Thank you for taking the time to leave this review. At (your business name) we love hearing from our customers and use your feedback to improve our product(s)/service(s).
I am sorry to hear about (the complaint in the negative review). This is not the experience we wanted you to have with (your business name). I have reached out to our (concerned department) team with your feedback and am working with them to fix this as soon as possible.
Please allow me (time – hours/days) to get back to you, and let’s find a way to make this right.
Finding too few or no reviews on a business tells customers that it’s either just getting off the ground or no one cares about it. If no one is reviewing your company, reach out to some of your best customers, and ask them to help you out.
The benefit to your brand is worth a few hundred bucks in gift cards or product discounts. To get you started, use one of these templates to personalize your messages to customers.
Hey (customer’s first name),
I hope you are enjoying your recent purchase of the (product/service)! I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to write about your experience with it and leave an honest review for the product here (include a hyperlink to the website/review site/social media page where you want your reviews to appear).
Your review will help us immensely in improving our product/service offering,and help other customers like you make an informed purchase decision.
Hey (customer’s first name),
How has your experience with the (product/service) been so far? Leave an honest review—good or bad—on the page here (include a hyperlink to the website/review site/social media page), and we’ll send you a discount code you can use to get x% off your next order!
Feedback from customers like you helps us immensely in improving our products/services.
When reaching out to customers for reviews, email them from your very own professional domain-based email. This gives you more credibility and builds trust with your customers. Try Titan today, and you can start sending emails to your customers instantly!
There are some ways to take those positive reviews and turn them into conversions.
For starters, you can post excerpts of your best reviews on social media or your website as a way to show new visitors what others think about your business.
Another method is to use positive customer reviews as part of your marketing collateral. You can create eye-catching graphics that feature snippets of 5-star reviews and post them around your store or office.
If you have an e-commerce store, you can showcase product reviews on the individual product pages. These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to getting creative with your best reviews.
It’s time to show them off! Adding social proof to your website in the form of customer testimonials or reviews is a powerful conversion tactic. When you are displaying them, remember these tips:
Prospective customers are more likely to convert if they see that others have had a positive experience with your business.
You can also showcase reviews and testimonials on social media, in email marketing campaigns, or even in print ads and collateral. Wherever you market your business, make sure to include reviews as a way to build trust with potential customers.
Because reviews are a peek behind the curtain, you can also use them for some competitor research. If there is a key feature that is pointed out in a good portion of the reviews (positive or negative), you can be sure it is something prospective customers are interested in.
This also goes for pricing. If your competitor’s reviews mention their rates being too high or too low, this is customer feedback you can use to adjust your pricing strategy.
Don’t take this as gospel—your customer experience might be completely different from your competitor’s—but it is something to keep in mind as you review their online presence.
It may seem like buying reviews is an easy way to get ahead, but it will only backfire.
When you’re caught (and you will be caught), customers will lose all trust in your business. Many of the popular review sites have strict policies against fake reviews, and they can penalize or remove your business from their site if they catch you.
It’s simply not worth the risk. Be patient, focus on delivering an excellent product or service, and the reviews will come.
Building trust online is essential for any business that wants to succeed in the digital age.
Managing your reviews—something that customers are willing to give away for free—is an extremely effective way to do that.
By showing that you are attentive to your customer’s feedback and will take the time to address their concerns, you can improve customer retention rates and increase conversions.
To learn more about boosting your digital presence, check out our guide to getting your business online.