Positive online reviews can tip the balance in your favour when it comes to consumer decision making. So if you think online reviews get lost in all the Internet noise, think again.
Research shows that 91 percent of consumers regularly read online reviews. In fact, 85 percent trust these reviews as much as a personal recommendation from friends or family. Not only that, they make their decision quickly with 67 percent forming an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.
And thanks in part to easy access through mobile devices, our online habits have shifted our interactions with businesses, making online reviews responsible for increased conversions of 270%.
It’s inevitable that customers will turn to online platforms to share their thoughts on your services. That’s why you need to create and maintain a process that encourages your customers to leave reviews. But you shouldn’t stop there, either. Monitor the reviews customers leave, and try to resolve any negative reviews you might receive. Not only will creating this review process help you receive more—and better—reviews, it will also help you run your business better.
Created by digital advertising company Valpak, the following infographic explores how to gaining more positive online reviews, how to approach a negative review and why online reviews matter for your business health and profitability.
How to get more positive online reviews (and deal with the negative)
Shoot for the 5 stars. While you can’t please everyone, follow these steps to help build your online reputation and customer trust.
Why do online reviews matter?
- 67% of purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews.
- 85% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 57% of customers visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews.
12 ways to get more positive reviews
- Have a clear call-to-action (CTA) on your site. Make it easy for your customers to find and fill out a review with a CTA like:
- How’d we do?
- Rate and review us
- Share feedback
- Start the survey
- Use a simple thank you. A ‘thank you’ page is an effective way to ask for reviews using a request such as, “Thank you for your purchase! If you enjoyed your experience, tell us (and others) about it!”
- Send a personalized email or text. While your customer is still thinking about their experience, add a simple request at the end of your message: “Would you mind taking a minute to review us?”
- Social media is your friend. Use a display plug-in to share share social media reviews on your site and engage in conversations via those reviews. Market Force research found that Facebook counts for 50 percent of total social referrals to a business.
- If you have a great relationship or spend a lot of time with your customers, ask them face to face for a review. Asking in person can garner 7 times more reviews than asking by email.
- Talk to your vendors. For B2B industries, ask your vendors or partners to write a short testimonial. 70 percent of people will leave online reviews if they’re asked.
- Consider an incentive. A discount or coupon code may motivate your customer to leave a review. Be sure to check the terms of service on every site you share on to stay within legal guidelines.
- Timing is everything. Ask for feedback when your customer is at their happiest, like after a reorder or referral.
- Send a follow-up. Inquire about your customer’s experience and try to resolve a potential negative review before it occurs. 20-25 percent of Etsy purchases result in a review because it sends a follow-up email or text message.
- Always respond. Go the extra mile and humanize your business by engaging with your online reviews, whether positive or negative. Harvard Business Review found that hotels that responded to reviews on TripAdvisor received 12 percent more reviews and their ratings increased.
- Reach out to a negative reviewer directly. Use your best judgement and reach out privately or publicly to resolve the issue. 78% of customers who received a response from management believed that the business cared more about them.
- Spread the positive reviews. Social proof is powerful. Share and promote your top reviews on your website or social media and other customers will be inspired to leave one too.
Have you H.E.A.R.D?
Consumers who receive responses to their negative reviews spend 4 times longer on a site, with a 67 percent conversion rate.
Disney, which has 135 million customer service failures a year, uses a 5-step process that may help you approach and resolve negative reviews.
- Hear: Let the customer tell you their side.
- Empathize: Show compassion and understanding.
- Apologize: Own the issue and be sincere with a simple apology.
- Resolve: Put the issue to rest ASAP. If this isn’t possible, ask and troubleshoot how you can best resolve it for your customer.
- Diagnose: Analyze how the issue happened to avoid it in the future.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.