September 14, 2017

What Do Customer Reviews Say About Your Business?

Today, small businesses thrive on the reviews provided by their customers. As the former chief information officer at Dell, Jerry Gregoire, once said, “The customer experience is the next competitive background.” A positive customer experience can set your business apart from its competitors. Satisfied individuals post the customer reviews that anyone can read about your company. If your business provides a unique experience that delivers high-quality service, your online customer reviews will reflect that and help your company flourish.

The Stats

There is so much a business can do to market itself to an audience. As a small business owner, you might invest in a robust email marketing campaign or an active social media presence, both of which are very important components of engaging potential leads. However, to overlook the importance of customer reviews will only hinder the success of your venture. Review the following statistics to discover just how invaluable customer reviews are for any business:

  • Data from an online survey by BrightLocal last year found that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
  • 74 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
  • Research shared by Invesp reveals that 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
  • 86 percent of people will hesitate to buy from a business that has negative customer reviews.
  • Econsultancy reports that customer reviews are 12 times more trusted than descriptions posted by businesses.
  • Businesses with online reviews produce an average of 18 percent increase in sales.

The Benefits of Customer Reviews

The numbers illustrate how influential customer reviews are for your business. This user-generated content provides your business with a variety of benefits, beyond the kind words about your work. Customer reviews:

  • Help others make buying decisions,
  • Boost your organic search rankings and local SEO,
  • Increase lead generation,
  • Improve click-through rates from search engines, and
  • Generate additional on-site conversions.

Receiving Customer Reviews

You’ve poured your heart into launching and nurturing your small business. You already have customers who appreciate all of your hard work and are eager to share their positive opinions. Make it easy for these individuals to post their customer reviews. With a WordPress customer reviews plugin, you empower your happy clients to leave comments that will inspire others to shop your business.

A WordPress customer reviews plugin such as Easy Testimonials allows users to post their comments which can be seen in the sidebar, as a widget, or embedded on pages. Other highly-rated WordPress customer reviews plugins include:

Asking for Customer Reviews

BrightLocal also found that 70 percent of consumers will leave a review for a business if they are asked to do so. Furthermore, 73 percent of consumers think that reviews older than three months are no longer relevant. That means it is up to you and your staff to regularly ask for customer reviews. You’ll also want to incorporate messaging into your marketing strategies that ask people to post customers reviews.  

Recently the Federal Trade Commission issued new guidelines for incentivizing customer reviews. While something as simple as a small discount for a customer review might seem harmless, expert opinion asserts that this practice is unethical, ineffective, and illegal.

While offering rewards for customer reviews is frowned upon, businesses can still encourage clients to leave their feedback online. Some easy techniques for reminding patrons to post customer reviews are:

  • Signage at brick-and-mortar locations
  • Calls-to-action in email blasts
  • Ask on social media channels
  • Verbally ask for it at the point of sale and/or during follow-ups

When you ask for customer reviews, be prepared to receive both positive and negative ones. It’s important to address each and every one that you receive. If someone offers less-than-stellar feedback, thank the person for their candor and offer an exclusive chance to have his/her mind changed about your business. Show your appreciation on positive reviews and assert just how much their patronage means to your company.

Your responsibility as an entrepreneur is to monitor the incoming customer reviews people post on your website, Facebook, Google, Yelp, LinkedIn, and other platforms. Staying on top of these reviews allows you to respond in a timely manner while encouraging others to engage.

Ultimately, customer reviews say more than you can about your own business. The data demonstrates how crucial this feedback is to help grow your business by influencing other shoppers to spend their money with you. To get started with incorporating customer reviews into your WordPress site, contact Proactive WP today.