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The Worth of Words: Why You Shouldn't Neglect Online Reviews

The ability of customers to express their opinion about a business online has had a huge impact on reputation marketing.  In fact, 84% of customers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Taking into consideration what your clients have to say can do wonders for your online business- convert more leads, improve your brand’s credibility, and increase your product’s value.  Underestimating the authority of customer reviews, however, can be detrimental to your business and can negatively affect all the hard work you’ve put into building a successful, customer-orientated brand.

To help you and your online business not only survive but thrive, we’ve compiled the top 6 reasons why you shouldn’t neglect online customer reviews:

1.    Customer reviews increase conversion rates

When searching for a product, prospective customers use reviews as proof that whatever they’re about to buy will meet their expectations. A purchase can depend on both the quantity and quality of reviews, as 39% of people have said that they’re more likely to use a business’ services if it’s got positive reviews.

Your conversion rates can be enhanced not only by reviews on websites like Yelp and Trip Advisor but also by implementing a ‘leave a review’ section on your website. A business that publishes users’ reviews on their site are the ones which 63% of customers prefer to buy from, according to iPerceptions’ 2011 report.

Sales uplift from online reviews 

The good news is, you don’t need 100% positive reviews for your business to appear credible. In fact, 30% of the customers are reluctant to trust a company with no negative reviews. On the contrary, having a good mixture of positive and negative user-generated reviews including variable star ratings, being able to respond to negative comments and offer an alternative solution will show that you do care about customers’ experiences.

2.    To be competitive in Google Local Search

When a prospect searches for a service in their area, Google will present the three most relevant businesses to a query. With the introduction of the Pigeon algorithm in 2014, customer reviews are now one of the main criteria for ranking businesses in the Local Search results. Moreover, now customers can modify their search by choosing to see only the businesses with 3-5 star rating to be displayed.

This means that if you aim to rank among the three best businesses in your area, you’d need to optimize every review platform on which people can rate your products or services, whether it be Google reviews, Yelp or Google MyBusiness. Disregarding reviews as a profitable marketing and sales strategy would result in not only revenue loss, but also in a drop in search engine rankings and traffic rates.

3.    To improve your customer service

58% of consumers said they have recently (within the past five years) begun leaving more and more online reviews based upon customer service. This is good news for business owners, as it allows for a connection between buyers and sellers, which is of vital importance for online commerce.

A case study by Revoo reveals how, by using customer reviews, British Airways Holidays has managed to gain invaluable insight into their customers’ buying patterns, preferences and satisfaction rate. Understanding the customer journey is crucial for business. And by encouraging clients to review their experiences, BAH managed to build a personal connection with them, as well as determine which areas needed improvement.

Reviews based on the customer service will also help future customers, 87% of which would only consider businesses with a rating of 3 to 5 stars. Having high-quality reviews on your website enables buyers to make an informed decision based on whether the product will fit their requirements, preventing disappointment after the purchase. Reviews also make it easier for hesitant customers to reach a decision more quickly.

positive online reviews

Customer service reviews also allow you to deal with clients voicing their dissatisfaction. You do want those customers to speak up and explain their complaints- that’s how you’re not only able to understand and resolve their issue, but also show prospective clients that you care about providing excellent customer service. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to maintain a good relationship with customers and encourage the communication between current and potential users. The easiest way to do so is through optimizing customer reviews.

4.    Reviews are significant for your organic search visibility and rankings

As we’ve already mentioned, the top three positions on Google’s results page are taken by the business with the best reviews, leaving almost no space for their competitors, especially when it comes to mobile search results. It’s become even more challenging for businesses to obtain a high-ranking position now that the review websites have gained enough domain authority to occupy the top search results for restaurants, hotels, clubs, etc.

Therefore, if you wish to remain among the top-ranking businesses within your niche, it’s necessary to maintain a good profile in the review websites and to encourage your customers to leave feedback after using your services. Keep in mind, however, that the best reviews are descriptive and comprehensive, submitted by customers who’ve got no affiliation with your brand.

Google’s Local Pack is not the only ranking system depending on reviews. Every business can incorporate star ratings in Google’s organic search results, which provide searchers with more details about the business, enabling them to make a well-informed decision. Obtaining star rating in organic search is necessary if you want your business to be considered trustworthy.

To increase the number of reviews you’re receiving, you can reach out to your customers via email, providing them with information and links to the review website. For an extra boost, you can also offer them exclusive discounts or rewards for loyalty.

5.    To make your business more credible and transparent

You care about your customers and want to provide them with the best on-site experience or with the best product. The question is, how do you get them to trust you in the first place? With so many brands operating online, customers find it increasingly difficult to put their confidence and money in the hands of a business, especially one they haven’t used before.

That’s where you can benefit from displaying customer reviews on your website since 90% of consumers read ten reviews or less before trusting a business. There isn’t a product description you could write that would be more effective than a customer’s feedback. Organizing your reviews by the helpfulness and making sure they include different perspectives from people using the product will help you with lead conversion and with improving your brand’s reputation.

Reviews which are displayed in a well-thought-out, concise fashion will help your business establish professionalism, reliability and expertise--qualities which are highly valued by consumers.

6.    To Increase Click-Through Rate and improve traffic

Whether you're focused on paid ads or organic search, reviews and star ratings would be a deciding factor for the amount of traffic your business’ website receives. BrightLocal research has revealed that star ratings are the most important factor for customers when choosing a business, and a rating increase from 3 to 5 stars can get you 25% more clicks from Google’s Local Pack. Positive reviews have the power to influence consumers’ buying decisions and bring in more leads to your website, as 54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews. If you have managed to secure one of the coveted three spots in Google Local Pack, the main thing that will differentiate your business and make people prefer it over the rest is the positive reviews from satisfied customers.

Optimizing the effectiveness of your customer reviews by sorting them in a coherent way and making sure they represent all the different uses of your product will set up your business for success. Not only are reviews a simple way to assign credibility to your business but, if implemented properly, they offer a shortcut to increased sales and online traffic rates.

There’s no doubt that the customer’s voice is now more powerful than ever, but it’s up to you to make the most out of it. How can your company better leverage customer reviews?