Customer Centricity: this term has become a mantra for modern businesses in order to not only stay afloat, but also make a profit. This increased focus on the customer is fruit of the fact that customer reviews are inevitable.
The internet has granted consumers tremendous power over companies and markets by emphasizing the importance and positioning of their opinions on both products and services. Today 49% of consumers affirm that they will not use a business when it has less than a 4-star ranking and this percentage is likely to increase in the next years.
Forward-thinking business owners have already started leveraging reviews to anchor their market position and to develop better tailored products and services that will permit them to stand out among the competition. According to a Forrester (2016) report great customer experience and customer satisfaction separate the winners from the losers in an industry, it is time to drive business “by winning, serving, and retaining customers who are more demanding than ever before”.
But how can customer feedback achieve this?
By increasing trust
With no way to test or experience the products first-hand on internet, people need something to base their decision on, and help them find a what they are looking for, and what will meet their expectations. Hence the web has actually become the best platform on which to search for trustworthy organizations. In 2017, 97% of consumers consulted online reviews when deciding upon a local businesses, while 12% read them daily.
Independent customer feedback generates trust both brand and product. Let your consumers advocate your business online, because already 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
By improving retention rates
Customer retention is critical to any business as loyal returning customers often represent a significant percentage of recurring revenue. Look at Apple, every year people are queuing in front of the stores to be the first ones to get their brand-new devices. Those are the real fans, who do not only purchase products, but also advertise them through word of mouth and online feedback.
To earn return business, one needs to make sure that the service is transparent, open and values the opinions of its customers (even when they are critical).
In order for reviews to help businesses leverage their reviews to increase trust, conversions and retention, make sure to do the following:
Provide fresh content
Reviews retain their value so long as they are fresh. Officially, according to Google guidelines, a “seller rating” is only considered towards your average score if it is less than 12 months old. For this reason, it is important to continuously generate feedback.
Things are changing fast and 77% of consumers consider reviews older than 3 months irrelevant. Give them the right content and reason to believe that you constantly deliver high quality.
Feature reviews on social media
According to the Local Consumer Review Survey (2017) Facebook is the most trusted review site. With 85,57 million daily traffic it is no surprise that people respect the platform. Practically every business today needs Facebook but, unfortunately, not all companies display ratings and reviews on their profiles.
Losing out on this great opportunity to connect with consumers can be considered short-sighted. Instead, make the power of social proof work for your business. Collect reviews directly on the platform or showcase your authentic, third-party-verified reviews and ratings to attract the attention of millions of Facebook users!
Feature reviews on your website
Don’t hesitate to display your best reviews on your website, especially the home page. Place a review widget, an award or a badge on a visible spot to feel the effect of increased trust. Provide prospective customers with the information they need in order to aid their purchasing decision.
Apart from establishing trust, hosting reviews on your website has another positive effect: improved SEO. Webpages are constantly fighting to appear higher in organic search results and consumer-generated content is of great help here. It provides you fresh, endless stream of content that contains with valuable keywords that client relate to your company, and this in turn increases your chances for good organic search position. For this, make sure to integrate the review content directly onto your site.
Customer reviews are a great tool increase transparency, generate trust and build customer loyalty, which consequently leads to more stability and less churn. There is no need to advertise your business, when your customers can do it for you, especially when other consumers trust reviews even more than traditional marketing text.
Make sure to constantly collect and display fresh customer feedback and let their viral word-of-mouth promote your business on social networks, search engines and your own website. This added transparency will improve brand awareness, reliability and revenues, so why wait? Start collecting your first reviews today.