How can You Use Customer Reviews to Drive Sales?
Believe it or not, 85 percent of consumers tend to put as much trust in online reviews as they do personal recommendations.
Furthermore, 68 percent left a business review when prompted.
This demonstrates not just the importance of online reviews, but people’s willingness to leave them.
Despite this, though, some businesses don’t give online reviews the recognition and credit they deserve. They believe reviews are little more than a potential hazard to their reputation, as no company can please all of the people all of the time.
That’s technically true: negative reviews are inevitable, however rare.
Rather than being a hindrance, though, online reviews can be a major help to your brand, actually driving sales instead of reducing them.
Let’s take a closer look.
Building Your Brand, Building Trust
Gathering customer reviews can help to build your brand’s reputation to great effect.
When prospective buyers start looking into your business’s products and quality of service, having access to a large collection of reviews from previous customers can help them to gain a comprehensive insight they won’t find anywhere else.
They might be able to browse your website and find information on your company history, your own promotional copy, and your various products. However, only reviews can provide them with an unbiased idea of your brand’s performance.
Making that first purchase with a business they haven’t used before can be intimidating for consumers, especially if large amounts of money are involved. Scanning other buyers’ experiences with your brand can give them the confidence they need to spend, more so than your own marketing efforts.
As the stat at the start of this piece shows, buyers put a lot of faith in the feedback other consumers provide. By encouraging customers to leave reviews at dedicated sites and / or your own website, you are giving future buyers the chance to make an informed choice.
If they see a number of other people are pleased with their purchase, they are more likely to buy.
Your Responses Show You Care
Bad reviews vary wildly in tone and coherence.
We’ve all read feedback that makes little sense and appears to have been written by someone with a chip on their shoulder about something else beyond the products or services.
On the other hand, some bad reviews are well-written and cover fair grievances. For example, a customer may supply negative feedback because their item (let’s say a smartphone) was delivered in damaged packaging, or because it didn’t work as advertised.
You can’t stop people from writing bad reviews about your brand, but there’s no need to: they provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate how much you care about your buyers’ satisfaction and your business’s reputation.
Prospective customers browsing previous feedback and seeing negative reviews can feel put off, but a well-written, well-reasoned response from your brand has the power to turn one buyer’s complaint on its head.
If one customer complains that your smartphone (to return to the earlier example) failed to operate as it should have, you can take this chance to address the issue. Was it a manufacturing fault, and can it be returned to be repaired? Are they simply not using the handset the right way?
Offering to help demonstrates your business’s willingness to put things right. Even if your company has a global customer-base and the loss of one buyer means little in the long-term, you need to recognize that this really does matter to the consumer – which means it should matter to you too.
If you can’t solve a problem through a repair or replacement, offer to fix things in another way. Can you provide a discount in the future? Can you offer them a sincere apology and make sure they understand how committed you are to putting things right?
Prospective buyers reading this will likely have more faith in your brand, but don’t just focus on the negative reviews either. Offer a brief ‘thank you’ to the good ones too, and explain how you appreciate their custom.
Add Fresh Content for Better Rankings and Visibility
Publishing new content on your website, blog, and social channels on a regular basis can help to boost your rankings and drive fresh traffic to your site.
Crawlers like to see websites staying current. It shows that your brand is relevant and offering consistent value to searchers. More than this, though, fresh reviews are better for your reputation, and are more likely to encourage prospective customers into making that first purchase.
If prospects can only see reviews of your brand from around two years ago, how can they trust that your quality of service hasn’t declined since then? How can they decide whether you’re still reputable or not?
Keep requesting that customers leave feedback, good and bad. Don’t let them dry up and lose their relevancy.
Share Reviews Across Social Media
Sharing positive reviews about your business across social media can help to attract new prospects and drive traffic to your site.
Show your followers how satisfied previous customers are and highlight the products / services they received. Perhaps turn it into a brief case study, touching on why they wanted the goods in the first place, how you helped, and what solution your service brought.
Did they buy a pair of your running shoes for a fundraising marathon? Did they need to buy your computers for their business, and are now up and running thanks to you?
Focus on covering the customer’s journey in a short, simple social media post to drive prospects to your site. Even if they don’t click, they may well remember your brand in the future when they need the products you provide.
Online reviews can be a big help to your reputation and managing this is critical to your success. Have you found positive results from gathering customer reviews and responding to them?
How to Use Patient Online Reviews to Benefit Your Healthcare Facility
A few years back, business reputation was earned by word of mouth. Today’s business reputation still relies on word of mouth – just the digital version of it: online reputation.
Once you put up a business, your customers are bound to talk about your products and services. Instead of telling you, your staff or other customers in person, they’ll tell the whole world about your business online – through online reviews.
How Patients View Online Reviews
Online reviews of healthcare practitioners are particularly sought out by patients. Patients are increasingly turning to online reviews about healthcare providers, just like they do for other products and services.
Fifty-nine percent said healthcare provider rating sites are “somewhat” or “very” important, this according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Patients are increasingly turning to online physician ratings, just as they have sought ratings for other products and services," researchers said in the article "Public Awareness, Perception, and Use of Online Physician Rating Sites" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For years, the academic community and healthcare providers themselves have dismissed online reviews. But the rise of popularity of online review sites like Yelp has forced the issue of online reviews to the forefront. At the end of 2016, the Yelp platform generated a total of 121 million reviews, 6% of them about health care providers.
"After years of academic debate over the role and value of patient-satisfaction scores and reviews of health care providers, Yelp, the online powerhouse of documenting customer satisfaction, is forcing the issue," Dr. Vivian Lee said in the article "Transparency and Trust – Online Patient Reviews of Physicians" published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “Although this free and familiar platform can generate an impressive volume of feedback data, physicians do not always respond positively to the sudden exposure of sometimes negative reviews."
Other online reviews like Google can’t be dismissed. If someone searches your healthcare facility, for instance, Google reviews appear next to your organization’s listing in Maps and Search.
How to Use Patient Online Reviews to Your Organization’s Advantage
Dismissal of online reviews is a passive reaction. Some healthcare providers, however, take their reactions about negative reviews to the next level – to the point of violating patient-clinician confidentiality.
A California dentist reprimanded a patient who accused him on Yelp of misdiagnosing her. “I looked very closely at your radiographs and it was obvious that you have cavities and gum disease that your other dentist has overlooked. … You can live in a world of denial and simply believe what you want to hear from your other dentist or make an educated and informed decision.”
In Canada, the clinician’s confidentiality duty is both a legal and ethical obligation. Canada has privacy legislation that requires the consent of an individual before his or her personal information can be collected, used or disclosed. The Canadian Medical Association's Code of Ethics, in particular, requires physicians to protect their patients' personal health information.
Instead of dismissing, reacting negatively to online reviews, it pays to be positively pro-active in dealing with online reviews. Here are simple steps to claim and improve your healthcare facility’s online reputation and online reviews:
1. Provide Consistent Contact Details
One of the ways to improve your organization’s online reputation is by providing consistent contact details. Across different online platforms, provide consistent contact details, consisting of your organization’s name, address, phone number and website – collectively known as NAP + W.
By providing consistent contact details across different online platforms, Google can validate the information and include this data in its algorithm – giving your organization’s contact details and your organization’s website better visibility in its search result pages.
There are companies that collect contact details of businesses. Google and Yelp subscribe to these data providers. Google, Yelp and similar organizations also scour the internet for contact details of businesses and then add them to their databases. This explains why your organization’s contact details find their way to Yelp, YellowPages and other sites even if no one in your organization created a listing on these sites.
2. Solicit Reviews
Another way to improve your organization’s online reputation is to solicit reviews. While it’s unethical to solicit good reviews, it’s proper to solicit reviews. It’s an established good practice for businesses to solicit reviews in order to get valuable performance feedback for learning and improving. In the past, companies get feedbacks from customers by asking them to drop their written comments into a suggestion or comment box.
After every visit to your healthcare facility, send an email to every customer, asking them about their experience. The email soliciting a feedback is similar to the suggestion box. In the email, provide a link to top review site like Yelp for them to share their positive experience. If they’re dissatisfied with the service, provide a link that goes back to you and your staff. Some healthcare providers offer dissatisfied patients another visit at no cost to correct or remedy the situation.
By providing a link to a top review site, your organization increases your positive reviews. And by providing a link to your organization if they’re dissatisfied, negative reviews can be prevented. We don’t live in a perfect world. By inviting your patients to come back to your facility, your organization will have another chance to offer a better service. This also gives your patients an opportunity to voice out their dissatisfaction directly to you and your staff, instead of blasting your organization over the internet.
3. Provide Staff Training about Good Customer Service
Providing top-notched healthcare service isn’t limited to the clinician’s expert hands. Your healthcare facility will be evaluated by your customers, not just based on the skills of clinicians, but also by the service offered by other personnel in your organization – from cleaning personnel to the receptionist. It, therefore, pays to train your staff to do the best they could from cleanliness to being courteous to customers.
Customers won’t hesitate to give your organization positive reviews if they receive top-notched service from clinicians right down to the receptionist.
Need help with call quality screening and a complete review process automation? Give us a call today to get started and get more positive reviews.
Negative Reviews: Should Businesses Fear Them or Not?
In today’s digital world, consumers can easily sing high praises to your business or vent their frustrations over your products or services online.
Near Perfect or Perfect Rating is “Too Good to Be True”
High praises or 5-star reviews are instinctively embraced by businesses. Negative reviews, on the other hand, are instinctively feared. But should bad reviews be avoided altogether?
A new study from Spiegel Research Center found that, across product categories, purchase likelihood usually peaks at review ratings in the 4.0 to 4.7 range and starts to dip as review ratings approach 5. Put it in another way, the new study suggested that products with an average rating in the 4.7 to 5.0 range are less likely to be sold than those in the 4.0 to 4.7 range.
“This suggests that shoppers see ratings at the far end of the spectrum as ‘too good to be true,’” Spiegel Research Center said. “Readers are skeptical of reviews that are too positive and, in many cases, a negative online review is seen as more credible.”
Another study from the Northwestern University arrived at the same conclusion as the Spiegel Research Center study that a near perfect or perfect rating is “too good to be true”. The Northwestern University research results showed that the probability of purchase increases with rating to about 4.2 to 4.5 stars and starts to drop as the star rating approaches a perfect 5.
The two studies from Spiegel Research Center and Northwestern University showed that a small proportion of negative reviews can make a product or service more appealing to would-be consumers.
The Inevitability of Negative Reviews
An earlier PowerReviews research found that 82% of buyers seek out negative reviews; and among buyers under 45-year-olds, this number jumps to 86%.
“Shoppers are smart: they know that every item can’t be the newest, fastest, cheapest and highest quality,” PowerReviews study said. “As a result, they question products that claim to be all of the above.”
The PowerReviews study said negative reviews help businesses establish brand credibility and trust. Would-be buyers are skeptical about the lack of negative reviews, the study said.
Google's retail industry director John McAteer told the Economist that a few bad reviews are worth having. “No one trusts all positive reviews,” he said.
The Spiegel Research Center study, meanwhile, stressed that business should embrace negative reviews. Showing negative reviews on your site, Spiegel Research Center study said, helps build credibility with customers. “While it may seem counterintuitive, negative reviews can have a positive impact because they establish credibility and authenticity,” the researcher center said.
The research center recommended that instead of trying to eliminate negative reviews, it’s important to monitor them and respond to them.
Negative Reviews as Baseline for Worst-Case Scenario
According to PowerReviews, negative reviews offer a baseline for the worst-case scenario when buying a product or availing a service of a company. For instance, if the negative reviews center on the complicated way in which the product can be assembled and the other features of the product are given good reviews, a would-be buyer may proceed with the purchase if he or she doesn’t care about complicated assembly.
Other Factors that Affect Online Sales
In addition to the presence of negative reviews, the following factors affect online sales:
1. Price of the Product
The Spiegel Research Center study showed that online reviews have a greater conversion rate for expensive products. The study showed that when reviews are displayed for a higher-priced product, the conversion rate increases by 380%. For lower-priced product, on the other hand, the conversion rate increases by 190%.
2. Degree of Risk Involved in the Purchase
A product can be considered as “risky” based on its price. Aside from price, a product can be considered as risky based on its effects on health and safety. The Spiegel Research Center study showed that online reviews have a greater conversion impact for risky items.
3. Number of Reviews
The Northwestern University study called “Too good to be true: the role of online reviews’ features in probability to buy” published in the International Journal of Advertising in June 2016 found that “although the majority of extant research suggests that larger numbers of reviews bring more positive outcomes, we show that it is not always the case.”
“It’s easy to assume that having more and more reviews will continue to help drive sales,” said Spiegel Research Center in the study called “How Online Reviews Influence Sales” published on its site in June 2017. “Our research found that more reviews help, but only to a point – and that point is much lower than many might assume.”
Spiegel Research Center’s June 2017 report showed that nearly all of the increase in purchase likelihood happens within the first 10 reviews, and the first five reviews propel the majority of this increase.
4. Number of Verified Reviewers
According to PowerReviews, consumers take into consideration, not only the review but also the reviewer. “If the author of a negative review seems unlike the reader, the reader may discount the authenticity of the review for them personally,” PowerReviews said.
This is evident in the way consumers view the reviews left by verified and non-verified reviewers. In the Spiegel Research Center, verified reviewer is defined as a consumer whose purchase can be confirmed online, while anonymous reviewer is defined as someone whose purchase can’t be confirmed.
The Spiegel Research Center study showed that purchase likelihood rises by 15% when consumers read reviews written by verified buyers as opposed to anonymous reviewers. This shows that reviews written by people who have direct experience using a product or service are more trustworthy and credible, compared to anonymous reviewers who may be paid to write reviews or from those who have ulterior motives against the company.
According to the research center, verified customers give an average 4.34-star rating, while anonymous reviewers give an average 3.89-star rating. This shows that having more reviews from verified customers can help boost the value of the reviews in a number of ways.
Monitoring and responding to online reviews can is a time consuming and a tedious task. Connect with us today to learn how we can fully automate the process of getting verified customer reviews, monitor and respond to both negative and positive reviews to boost your brand, and increase sales.
Why It's Important to Respond to Reviews Online
Business owners used to rely on local commercials and advertisement to gain customers.
Thanks to the Internet and review sites like Yelp, they don't have to anymore. Now, online reviews serve as another marketing avenue.
Yet, not knowing how to respond to online reviews puts you at risk for losing customers, let alone your sales.
70% of consumers and 82% of millennials view online reviews before making a sale. So, knowing how to respond to reviews is critical.
Because 52% of people look at online reviews when considering to buy a product or service.
So, not responding properly could make you lose 52% of potential customers.
And 60% of job seekers will not apply to companies that have 1-star ratings.
Here's what you need to know about online reviews, including why they're important.
1. Builds Credibility and Trust
The truth is, the more online reviews your business has, the greater your influence is. This, of course, depends on the percentage of negative versus positive reviews.
The more negative reviews, the more your trust and credibility decreases. Who wants to buy that product or service when so many people say it's not that great?
However, the more positive reviews you have, the more people will trust your business.
2. Negative Reviews Matter
Yes, the amount of negative reviews can affect your business. But your response to them has an even bigger impact.
If you don't respond, people may view your business as shady or not valuing the customer.
How to respond to reviews?
So, the first step towards mitigation is to respond to reviews.
When doing so, keep it short, sweet, and polite.
Remember, the goal is to show not just that unhappy customer, but all potential and current customers that you value them.
While you do want to show your company's excellent customer service, you don't want to deal with the entire negative customer experience on the public review site.
Instead, ask the unhappy customer if you can email him or her to handle the details of that negative customer experience.
Most people will agree to this.
After appeasing the customer, kindly ask him or her if the negative review can be taken down.
Or ask the now-happy customer to post a positive review on the site addressing the previous negative review.
That way, you can show to customers that, while mistakes do happen, your business will take care of it.
3. Response Time
Just like not responding to a review can affect your business reputation, not responding in a timely manner will impact it is as well.
No, you don't have to respond within seconds of getting a review notification.
But within 24-48 hours is a reasonable time.
To help you stay on top of this, set up Google Alerts. Also, activate the notification setting on the review site.
That way, you don't have to constantly check the review sites. You'll simply receive notifications when someone reviews your product or service.
If you're strapped for time, consider creating personable automated responses.
Such responses could be "Thank you for your business." Or "Thank you for your review. We appreciate your service."
And for negative reviews: "We are sorry about your negative experience. Please email us so that we may resolve this situation. Thank you."
For more information about how to respond to reviews and online reviews in general, contact us.
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.