Online customer reviews have become an increasingly important part of a successful online presence for businesses. While word of mouth and testimony from friends and relatives are still important, 79% of consumers trust online customer reviews just as much as personal recommendations.
With this change in consumer preference, it is vital that business owners treat online customer reviews with the same consideration as word of mouth reviews. Positive and negative reviews both can impact your business for better or worse. In fact, 90% of consumers base their purchasing decisions on positive online reviews. This means that if your company has positive online customer reviews, customers may choose you over the competition.
In an independent survey conducted by eTailing Group, 11% of retailers saw a 20% or more increase in conversions because they added an online customer review option to their e-commerce sites. Additionally, 21% reported a 11-20% increase and 5% reported a 1-10% increase. These numbers indicate that conversion is positively impacted by online customer reviews and that business owners need to take them seriously.
How to Respond to Reviews
Just as important as receiving reviews is responding to them. Positive and negative reviews call for different types of responses. We have outlined some things to remember when responding to reviews.
Responding to Positive Reviews
- Say “Thank you” to reinforce the consumer’s positive experience and customer loyalty.
- Do NOT request mailing lists or ask that the customer tell a friend about your business.
- Do NOT offer a gift certificate. A simple thank you is sufficient.
- Here’s a good example: “Thank you, [NAME], for your feedback! [Business Name] values your business and hopes to see you again soon.”
Responding to Negative Reviews
- Always respond
- Thank the customer for the feedback
- Turn negative into a positive if possible
- Explain any confusion and highlight your strengths
- Most importantly: Make it right.
- Here’s a good example: “Thank you, [NAME], for your feedback. We are sorry about your recent experience with [Business Name]. We serve many clients per day and aim to provide the best customer service we can.” –then you should potentially include an explanation or contact the customer personally and privately.
A Few Additional Response Tips
Remember to be transparent and genuine when responding to online customer reviews. Being open and honest about the situation indicates to other consumers that your business can be trusted.
Do not delete negative comments. Removing these comments make it look like you are trying to hide something.
Respond quickly. In a world of instant gratification, consumers crave an immediate response. Responding quickly also makes your company look active and engaged with your customer’s experiences.
You should also make it easy for customers to review your business. Promote your reviews page and encourage people to add their thoughts.
Do not mislead or get defensive when responding to online customer reviews. Customers are more likely to try your store again if they have a positive interaction with a negative review than a bad one.
Facebook’s business pages are constantly evolving to improve their users’ experience and to provide better data to companies that use Business Manager as an extension of their marketing efforts. In the last year, Facebook has rolled out online customer reviews for business to help them better understand what Facebook users think of them. These reviews also help businesses understand what their customers think and want.
Facebook reviews will automatically show up under your business name and will be viewable by anyone who goes to your Facebook page. We have a few tips to help you effectively and efficiently manage Facebook reviews that will help benefit your business’ performance on Facebook in the long run.
- Check reviews daily!
- Facebook does not send you a notification when a new review is received, so the best way to stay on top of them is by checking them each day.
- Respond to reviews within 24 hours.
- Most customers who post a review just want to be heard, and the acknowledgment from a company on a review can go a long way.
- In regards to negative Facebook reviews, ask the customer to private message your business via Facebook Messenger.
- Just by listening to them you can prove that you value your customers and their feedback. After helping the customer and ensuring their concerns have been addressed, you can ask them if they would consider changing their negative review to a positive one.
Yelp is a popular review site that features customer-generated content in the form of reviews, ratings, and photos. These reviews are largely based on the customer’s individual experiences at your business and are typically very thorough.
Content is very important on Yelp. A business page with information and pictures makes a bigger impact with customers. In fact, users will spend 2.5 times as much time on a business page with photos than one without photos.
Yelp is dedicated to providing their users with high-quality content, and therefore they choose only to show the reviews that they deem reliable and high-quality. The more quality reviews a user makes on local businesses, the more likely his or her reviews will appear as recommended reviews regardless of if it is positive or negative.
Over the last few years, there has been a lot of frustration from the business community with Yelp due to filtering reviews. Frequently reviews that are 4 or 5 stars won’t show up and will not boost your ranking on Yelp.
Keep in mind that you cannot pay to have your reviews removed or filtered. Whichever reviews Yelp deems quality are the ones that will show up. Also, a review of 3 or more stars is considered positive. According to Yelp, most recommended reviews are positive (about 41%).
To prevent Yelp from filtering positive reviews, follow these steps:
- Add the reviewer as a friend.
- Send the reviewer a message thanking them.
- Respond to the review (which you should do for all reviews).
- Vote the review as “Useful,” “Funny” or both.
Here are a few important Yelp statistics (collected by Yelp) to keep in mind:
- 82% of Yelp users visit Yelp because they intend to buy a product or service
- 57% of Yelp users search for local business reviews on Yelp
- 93% of Yelp users always, frequently, or occasionally purchase from a local business after visiting Yelp
- 89% will make a purchase within a week
- 44% of Yelp users read the reviews when researching a local business
Google My Business Reviews
Google has become an increasingly important online customer review platform for local businesses. When customers use Google to find products or services, the Google reviews for businesses appear in the search results. These reviews only appear on Google local pages.
These reviews can consist of just a star rating, one to five, or a star rating and a few lines of text about the business and the customer’s experience with it. The more ratings and reviews a business has, the more trustworthy and credible Google as a search engine thinks the business is. More positive reviews and ratings mean that your business will retain higher page authority in Google search results.
Once you have a Google My Business page for your business, your business may appear in local search results. A map, ratings, your business name, pictures, and more will appear here.
Remember the following with Google Reviews:
- Ask customers to write a review after the transaction.
- Encourage them to write a few lines about their experience in addition to the star ranking.
- Do NOT send out requests for reviews in bulk.
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews.
How to Increase Google Reviews:
- Give customers clear instructions about how to leave a review.
- Replace internal review default in ReviewPush with Google.
- Provide URL on a business card or in your email signature
- Use a QR code
- Do not be too pushy when asking for reviews as this can lead to customers being annoyed and possibly result in a negative review
- Print out positive reviews to display in a store
- This can help other customers coming into your store know that you value their feedback.