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With most products and services moving online, instead of instore or in an office, most purchasing decisions are now done over a computer. Finding brands online is so much more convenient and much easier to research and compare to other competitors. However, the downside to this is you don’t know what the product or service will be like until after you have brought it. This is where reviews come in during the research and competitor comparison stages of a buyer’s journey.
Having reviews on your own website makes your business look good and reliable. Reviews act as recommendations and help you to gain an understanding of what products/ services are working, and which ones are not. This is more beneficial for the business than the buyer though as some websites will filter what comments are shown to their audience meaning they only show what they want the audience to see. Meanwhile, the business can use the reviews to know what needs to be worked on and what is selling best.
Trustpilot, Yelp, Tripadvisor, and social media platforms are all well renowned places which people often turn to for a more accurate insight into how other consumers feel about the brand. It is easy to assume that reviews on a business’s own website are filtered and tampered with to only show them in a good light. Although review websites can be seen as a free for all, they are generally much more trusted. Therefore, if you can interact with each review, you are able to manage your brand’s reputation whilst showing that you are willing to work on feedback. Consumers want to see a business cares. Negative reviews can cause damage, but interaction is the damage control that counteracts that. You need to be at the heart of the conversation about your own company.
The downside to review sites are that most make their money from listed businesses rather than consumers. For that reason, there have been concerns from bodies like the FCA about the accuracy of the reviews in comparison to the businesses’ actual quality. There have been reports that businesses have been able to report negative reviews and get them wrongfully removed or tampered with so to paint them in a better light. With BrightLocals’s research, it is obvious that reviews are a crucial step in the purchasing process, as 75% of the people they surveyed believed that positive reviews are what make consumers trust a brand. So, which reviewing sites can you trust?
Consumer reports- This non-profit organisation has been established since 1936 with the sole purpose of weeding out businesses who need to do better via investigative journalism, product testing, and consumer advocacy.
Business Insider- This highly renowned site is meticulous with their reviews and keeping their integrity. They review products based on consumer experiences and their own product testing.
Best products- This team dedicates all their time to hands on product testing and market research. Their whole job is to make unbiased reviews.
Good Housekeeping- Again, they do hands on testing but also clearly advertise to the reader if any content is sponsored.
However, these are not consumer reviews. To be able to trust reviews on sites like Trustpilot it is always good to discount the overly extreme reviews and to check multiple reviews on multiple sites before making a purchase decision on a product or service. The more reviews you read the more likely it is that you will have an accurate picture of what the brand is successful at most often and what their most common pitfalls are.
When big corporations like Which, The FCA, and The Leaping Bunny give your business or products/ services their stamp of approval this acts as an invaluable non-biased review. People will see that a credible business approves of your work and so will trust the credibility of what you are selling much more.
When you have a track record of 5 star reviews, even if you are the more expensive option, your 3 star reviewed, affordable competitor will pale in comparison. The knowledge that you are worth the money makes your service more worthwhile than a cheaper one with mixed reviews. Trust in a brand is everything. Price is a massive factor for a lot of people, but quality is even more important.
Furthermore, reviews are a free way for other people to market your business. Whether it is on your website, from another reviewing site or an accreditation, all of those reviews tell people about your business and how worthwhile it is.
The more keywords and volume of reviews that are written by consumers, the higher you will end up on search engine result rankings. This makes you easier to find and more likely to be clicked on by potential consumers. Reviews create more backlinks and more keywords for website crawlers to catch and index.
To conclude, as long as you are actively engaging with the reviews you are given and the more reviews you get, the better! Keep asking for more reviews and working on the constructive feedback that comes in. A business model should be just the baseline. Feedback and business development should never be static. Instead, a business becomes more trustworthy and gets more conversions when they are willing to adapt and change to benefit the customer experience.
To learn more about exactly ‘how’ to provide an excellent customer experience online, please visit our Online Customer Service 101 blog