When customers speak, brands listen. That’s the baseline for doing business in a customer-centric economy. That’s why you just can’t emphasize the importance of customer reviews!
Customer reviews have come a long way from simple word-of-mouth recommendations to published online assessments dissecting your product. Through social media and customer review sites, customers easily share their best and worst experiences about a brand.
Thus, giving them a permanent and powerful voice in the creation and marketing of products. What do all these imply for marketers, operators, and customer service managers in 2022?
The simplest takeaway is perhaps the most obvious: awesome reviews often lead to awesome sales. In fact, nine in ten B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a trusted review. When people like your product and they share the experience, other people would be interested and would likely join the bandwagon.
Similarly, dismal reviews often lead to dismal revenue performance. A hotel service that generates far too many one-star reviews will be hard-pressed to book a long list of guests.
There are exceptions — such as critically panned films that fare pretty well in the box office, and vice versa — but these are rare. The rule of thumb is you’ll always want positive reviews and a strong reputation for your brand. It’s just common business sense. And it’s largely proven by research findings and popular customer service statistics:
- Online customer service reviews influence nearly 9 in 10 consumers when making a buying decision.
- When purchasing a product, 90% of customers are influenced by positive reviews.
- Around 86% of millennials reveal that they are influenced by negative reviews when buying a product or service.
Without a customer reviews strategy, you’re losing out
Given those numbers, any business that does not have an effective customer review strategy fails to benefit from customer feedback in many ways:
- Forego the opportunity to learn from their audience and keep customers engaged.
- Miss potentially game-changing suggestions on how to improve products or services.
- Eventually, lose dissatisfied but redeemable customers who are just waiting to be heard and adequately served.
- Ignore the golden opportunity to harness the marketing power of their most vocal supporters.
In short, any business that doesn’t have an effective customer review strategy in 2020 will fail to manage their overall customer service and experience.
Top 9 Ways to Make the Most of Your Customer Reviews
1) Publish and promote your top reviews consistently
Because customer reviews influence purchase decisions, ensure that you publish those reviews on business assets such as your website, online stores, and social media pages. A Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center study shows that displaying (at least five) customer reviews can improve conversion by as much as 270%.
2) Double down on negative reviews to find new opportunities
Use customer reviews as a platform for improving customer experience (CX), customer service, and customer success. Skim online and offline reviews to find useful insights into improving your products and services to meet customers’ needs. An easy way to manage this process is by using customer service CRM.
3) Let customer reviews also direct your product roadmap
Glean general customer feedback for mentions of “wish lists” or “nice-to-have features” to use as inputs for continuous product development/evolution.
4) Combine surveys and analytics to dig deeper into reviews
Use analytics-enabled surveys on social media to generate new or complement existing customer reviews and speed up problem resolutions. Enhance social listening with the right customer analytics tool.
5) Use reviews in your brand marketing efforts
Use well-written, objective, and honest reviews to establish your brand’s authenticity and ability to make valuable connections with its users. Tap these user-generated content as social proof and deploy them as regular elements in your brand communication and content marketing efforts.
Doing so not only helps drive higher conversions as explained earlier but also delivers online ranking benefits since your website gets to publish fresh content on a niche topic.
6) Create useful content users would love to review
Complement your customer service efforts with a recommendations/referrals section in your customer reviews. The majority of buyers are willing to share their experience with other prospects but vendors just need to ask first.
7) Build a customer community and increase your LTV
Give customers a voice in the way you evolve the products they use and you give them an extra reason to stay. Engaged customers who have a stake in your brand tend to have longer and higher lifetime value.
8) Prioritize reviews for higher-priced products
Research shows that customer reviews have a greater impact on high-value items (+380%) compared to lower-priced products or services (+190%).
9) Clean and balance your reviews database
Give more premium on reviews done by verified buyers over anonymous accounts. Filter out known troll or fake reviews.