Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Ignore Customer Reviews

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on the importance of customer feedback:

Twenty years ago, few people could imagine a world where clothing, cars, and even homes could be purchased without face-to-face interaction with the product. In today’s online marketplace, however, even highly complicated or expensive products can be negotiated and purchased with just a few clicks. A variety of factors have overcome the need for “touch and feel,” from lower prices to faster turnaround to the widespread presence of customer testimonials and reviews.

With the continued growth of online reviews, reputation management is becoming increasingly more important for e-commerce businesses and startups. That being said, many companies overlook their online reputation or simply do not have one. Customer reviews directly impact a business in a variety of ways, from revenue and conversion improvements to advancements in operations and service. It’s crucial to stay informed of your online reputation and to even make efforts to enhance it. Here’s why:

1. Conversion

Having reviews on your site boosts conversion, in some cases by over 60 percent. Providing actual customer testimonials to potential new buyers increases trust in you. A new shopper is more likely to respect the opinion of someone just like them, as opposed to you, the “salesperson.” Of course it’s in your best interest to speak highly of your product or service, but existing customers shouldn’t have any ulterior motives.

And you don’t just have to display reviews on your site, either. Google’s addition of AdWords Review Extensions places reviews right into the search pages when a potential new customer is discovering your company for the first time.

2. Lead Generation

If 72 percent of consumers use word of mouth to recommend a business, shouldn’t those who leave you glowing feedback online be a great source for new leads? Online reviews identify customers who are highly satisfied with your services and who thus might be willing to recommend you to others. You’ll never know if a customer will be willing to recommend your business, however, unless you ask. You shouldn’t be pushy with loyal customers, but a polite request for a referral, possibly even with an incentive, can be very effective.

3. Customer Feedback

Online reviews provide a source for direct customer feedback. Use this to improve product offerings, address customer service issues, and solve logistical problems. Great customer service is the number one factor that influences customer trust, according to a survey by Zendesk. Poor customer service results in an increased likelihood of customers telling others about their experience. Thus, it’s important that your company is the first place feedback is shared. This gives you the opportunity to assess the situation, respond accordingly, and potentially reevaluate a process moving forward.

4. Competition

In the online world, there’s no shortage of competition, even more so than in the “real” world. This means that if your business is feeling the pressure from competitors at every turn, a solid review presence can be just what you need to stand out from the crowd. If X Company and Y Company offer the same product, but X has a large number of reviews and a positive score, whereas Y has a low number of reviews and/or a low score (or even simply no reviews and score at all), X will win out, every time. Google’s integration of reviews into search listings and paid ads, as well as the high prominence of company pages on review sites like Yelp, ResellerRatings, and more, mean that to stand out (or at least stay competitive), your review presence must be up to par.

5. SEO

There are significant SEO benefits to having a thriving online reputation as well. An ongoing stream of new reviews is a continuous source of fresh content on your website. Reviews are written by customers, so they will resonate with customers. This means that a customer who searches for a more detailed description of your product may find a search hit off of a review left by a previous customer. In addition, many potential new clients will search for ratings of your products or services, in some cases up to 64 percent of the time. By offering a common place for those reviews to be stored, you will increase your site’s traffic (and conversion).

In the online world, what others say about you is just as important as what you say about yourself. If you’re diligent and intentional with managing your online reputation, you’ll find in no time that reviews can actually be a huge asset for your company. From acquiring new clients to increasing on-site conversions, the benefits are vast — you just have to know how to achieve them.

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