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Customer Reviews

Everything you need to know about customer reviews

You think your business is great, and why shouldn’t you? But how do you prove it? Running a fancy advertising campaign is no longer enough to turn consumers into customers. In fact, three in four people say they avoid advertising altogether! So, what do consumers trust? Customer reviews.

Reviews are so much more than social proof, though. Whether you’re not currently collecting company reviews or you are but feel you’re not getting the most out of them, you’re in the right place! Here’s everything you need to know about customer reviews.


Why are customer reviews important?

We’ve already touched on the trust factor, but there are so many reasons why you should be collecting, using and analysing customer reviews. Here are three of the most important ones.

1. Consumers rely on reviews

According to our research, 96% of UK consumers use customer reviews in some way and 64% read them before they make a purchase. A positive review can be the difference between securing a sale and losing a customer. Shoppers want to know they can trust the company reviews they’re reading – 72% of consumers are worried about fake feedback!

 

96%

use customer reviews in some way

64%

read reviews before they make a purchase

72%

are worried about fake feedback

Source: 2019 Feefo Consumer Report

2. They boost conversion rates

Adding customer reviews to your website can make a huge difference to conversions, especially when they’re displayed on product pages. Products displaying five-star reviews are up to 270% more likely to be purchased than those without reviews. Feefo client Salon Services not only saw 173% more sales on products with reviews compared to those without, customer spend also rose a whopping 294%!

 

3. Understand and improve your customer experience

You want your business to improve, grow and thrive, but it can’t do that unless you understand exactly where you’re going right and what you need to improve. By collecting feedback across the entire customer journey and analysing the ratings and reviews you receive, you can dig deeper into your customer loyalty, customer experience and so much more! Customer reviews should play an important role in all of your strategies, whether you’re looking to improve your service, marketing efforts or customer experience.


Customer engagement: How to use reviews to connect with your customers

Another benefit of collecting company reviews is that it gives you the opportunity to communicate with and connect to your customers. Here are several ways you can use reviews to create better relationships and improve customer loyalty.

Create a personalised experience

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Whether you’re trying to convince your customers to take advantage of an offer or asking them for their honest feedback, you need to speak to them as individuals. All businesses know the power of personalisation, but how can you personalise your review requests? Feefo makes it easy.

Our Campaign Manager Tool (CMT) allows you to build and design multiple feedback campaigns, so you can ask the right questions, to the right people, at the right time. Estate agent Andrews uses CMT to tailor requests to a variety of customers, including vendors, buyers, solicitors and landlords. By sending more personalised and targeted feedback requests, Andrews have increased their monthly response rates by 27%!

“Feefo has been a crucial tool in helping to encourage reviews from our customers, whilst also giving greater insight into what our customers really think about our agency, track key trends and better report on branch performance across the entire business.”

Nick Moir, Head of Marketing

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Respond to all of your feedback

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It takes time and effort for someone to write a company review, so when they leave feedback, whether good or bad, be sure to thank your customers. While we recommend responding to as many reviews as possible, you’ll want to prioritise negative feedback, as this gives you the opportunity to repair broken relationships. You may even be able to turn those one and two-star ratings into a much higher one!

When you receive negative feedback, get in touch with the customer privately so you can fully understand the situation and try to fix any issues. Once the problem has been resolved (or you’ve done as much as you can), respond to the review publicly, so other potential customers can see you provide an excellent service, even when things go wrong.

For more tips on what to do when you get negative feedback, download our handy guide.

Tell customers when feedback makes a difference

Your customer reviews should help inform any changes you make to your business and when you improve something thanks to that feedback, you need to let your audience know! Whether you’ve reduced the amount of time it takes for your customer service team to respond to a query or fixed an annoying feature on your website, use your marketing channels to show customers you listen to all feedback – good and bad!

Using your feedback in this way is ideal for opening up communication between you and your customers. You may even win back the loyalty of customers you’d lost.


How to use customer reviews to improve your business

As we’ve already seen, reviews can do so much for your business! Here are three of the biggest and most important ways you can use customer reviews to make your business the best it can be.

Grow your brand and increase your sales

Standing out online is a struggle that every business faces. Competition is fierce, so appearing at the top of the search results and getting consumers to click on your ads is increasingly difficult. If you collect customer reviews through a trusted Google partner, such as Feefo, you can become eligible for organic stars in the non-paid search results and seller ratings in Google Ads.

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Displaying your star ratings in search can boost trust, increase click-through rates and even improve conversions, but you can take it a step further with your paid ads. Feefo’s Review Enhanced Ads (REA) tool allows you to use your best review excerpts in your pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Using a glowing customer review quote in your ads provides that extra level of trust, improving your Quality Score, cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition. REA makes this easy by automatically identifying your best review snippets and allowing you to split-test your review-based ads against your existing ads to ensure you’re always running the best-performing ads.  

After using REA, B2B supplier Fire Label Merchandising saw:

  • 33% increase in conversion rates
  • 35% rise in revenue
  • 24% reduction in cost-per-conversion

“Having recently started using Feefo for our reviews service, we were very impressed with the way the company worked and their forward-thinking approach when it came to AI and automation - something which has come in very handy with a PPC account as large as ours.”

Sam Turner, Sales Director

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Of course, your ratings and reviews can be used in all forms of marketing, from newspaper ads and billboards, to social media and email! Using testimonials from real customers is an easy way to prove that you provide an excellent service and deliver on the promises you make in your marketing campaigns.

Build a better customer experience

Customer experience is a key focus for many businesses, and with good reason. If your customers have a negative experience with your company, they’re unlikely to use you again and may even warn others against you, but a positive customer experience can result in increased customer loyalty and positive word of mouth.

To build a better customer experience, you first need to understand who your customers are, what their journey with your company is like and where their pain points lie, and you can learn all of this from your reviews! Analysing your company reviews to discover this information can take time, but there are tools that can help.

Feefo’s Performance Profiling uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to automatically identify themes in your reviews. If topics like ‘delivery’ are constantly mentioned in a negative context, this will be highlighted to you, so you can dig deeper and find out what the issues are and get to work on fixing them.

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Another AI-powered tool designed to improve the customer experience is Smart Themes. While Performance Profiling identifies themes for internal monitoring, Smart Themes is customer-facing. This widget sits on your product pages and sorts feedback by relevant themes, so browsers can read the reviews that matter to them. If a shopper is looking to buy a phone, for example, but only cares about how good the camera is, they can click on that theme to see every review that mentions the camera. This stops shoppers from having to scan hundreds, or potentially thousands, of customer reviews or leave your website to read feedback elsewhere.

The Perfume Shop saw overall conversions rise by 13.5% in just six weeks after implementing the Smart Themes widget across their product pages!

Read the full case study here

Track internal performance

Customer reviews aren’t just great for showing consumers how amazing you are, they’re also a good way to analyse how your business is performing internally. By tracking the feedback you receive, you can keep tabs on how well how each branch, store and member of staff is doing. Tools like Feefo’s Insight Tags make this easy, as you can tag and track reviews by whatever category you want, whether that’s by staff name, branch location or product type.

Using company reviews in this way allows you to identify members of staff that may need more training, spot products that should be discontinued or stores than require further investment. You can also use positive feedback to incentivise and motivate staff, by rewarding those that consistently get great reviews from your customers.

“Using Feefo has given us a quantifiable way of measuring our customer service success based on the real experiences of our customers, in their own words. Being able to analyse data patterns and track trends using Insight Tags gives us very tangible insight into our customers’ minds and has been invaluable and highly informative for the business. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Feefo to track our progress and set new targets.”

Sophie Georgalakis, Partnerships and Marketing Communications Executive

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How to choose a customer reviews platform

As you probably know already, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a customer reviews platform, and they all offer something slightly different. Of course, it would be easy for us to be biased, but it’s important for you to pick a platform (or several!) that’s right for your business, which is why you need to ask yourself a number of questions about what you need and want before you start looking at what’s out there.

Here’s what you need to decide, and what to consider, when choosing a customer reviews platform.

Open vs invite-only customer reviews

One of the biggest decisions to make is whether you only want to collect customer reviews from verified customers (known as an invite-only reviews platform) or if you want anyone to be able to leave feedback about your business (known as an open reviews platform). There’s no right answer, as both have their pros and cons, and it really depends on your business objectives and priorities.

Open review platform pros

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  • Potential to collect a higher volume of feedback as it’s easier for someone to search for your company and leave a review
  • Get feedback from people who have used your business in any way, such as those who visited your website but didn’t make a purchase
  • Some consumers may trust an open platform more because anyone can leave feedback

Open review platform cons

  • Significant chance of receiving fake reviews from competitors and spam accounts, as verifying whether someone has used your business or not can be difficult, unless they have proof of purchase. Flagging and removing this fake feedback can be time-consuming and hard, which means your reputation is at risk
  • Some consumers don’t trust open review platforms due to recent news stories which show how easy it is for businesses to pay for fake feedback
  • Your review reports may be skewed due to fake or irrelevant reviews
  • Open review platforms tend to operate more like comparison sites, which means you risk losing potential customers to competitors
  • Consumers may have to sign up or create a profile to leave a review, which means more effort for them

Invite-only review platform pros

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  • Fake and spam reviews can’t be left on your site, as only genuine customers are invited to leave feedback
  • You can trust your reports, as you know that irrelevant, spammy or fake reviews aren’t skewing your results
  • Some consumers trust invite-only platforms as they prevent the presence of fake reviews
  • Customers often don’t need to sign up or login to an account to leave a review because their feedback is tied to a specific sale or interaction, so the business knows exactly who the reviewer is

Invite-only review platform cons

  • Don’t allow you to collect feedback from someone who visited a branch or your website but didn’t make a purchase – unless you also run surveys or use Feefo Places
  • You may collect fewer reviews because people can’t just search for you and leave feedback
  • You need to be proactive about collecting feedback - otherwise you won’t get any reviews at all!

Decide where and how you want to display your company reviews

Depending on your business and your objectives, you’ll probably want to display reviews in specific ways. You may be focused on creating engaging product pages or you might want to show off your star rating in your email signature to build trust with clients. Different review platforms offer different widgets and products, so decide what you’d like to do and achieve with your reviews before seeing what’s out there. That way, it will be easier to narrow down which platform ticks all of your boxes!

At Feefo, we provide our clients with a whole range of widgets as standard, including photo and video review integrations, social review tabs, review carousels, simple score badges and more!

Check the moderation rules

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Even if you’re using an invite-only reviews platform, you may still get reviews that are inappropriate from time to time (e.g. those that contain bad language or are about the wrong product). In these cases, you need to be able to flag feedback. A good, trustworthy review platform will have clear moderation guidelines that they use to determine whether a review should be removed or not.

Businesses should not be able to delete or remove any review they want. If you’re worried about negative reviews, you shouldn’t be – 52% of consumers become suspicious if there are no negative reviews from the product or service they want to buy.

Make sure you read your platform of choice’s moderation guidelines before signing on that dotted line. You can read Feefo’s moderation guidelines here.

Determine why you want to collect customer reviews

How do customer reviews fit into your strategy? What do you want to achieve by collecting them? You may need different review platforms for different goals, or there might be one that can do everything you need it to do! Here are some examples of some objectives and what type of review platform you should look for to achieve those goals.

Social proof: display customer reviews, build trust with customers and increase enquiries/sales

Choosing a trustworthy customer reviews platform is key. If you can prove your reviews come from real people, it will help show that your product or service lives up to its marketing. You may also want to collect photo and video reviews as further proof that real customers use your products.

Improve your business internally: track stores and boost staff performance

Not every review platform makes it possible to track how individual stores, products or members of staff are performing. Look into the reporting functions and any additional products that allow you to track the metrics that matter to you.

Get more leads

If you want reviews to bring more potential customers to your website, look at how they will support your search engine optimisation (SEO) and paid advertising (PPC) efforts. Using a platform that gives your business its own dedicated reviews page is important for SEO, while becoming eligible for seller ratings could really boost your PPC ads.

Ultimately, your customer review platform should…

  • Be trusted by your audience
  • Help you collect a high volume of quality user-generated content
  • Allow you to display feedback in a way that makes sense for you and your customers
  • Make it easy to analyse your reviews and get the most out of them