Collecting reviews from customers has grown in popularity in recent years, out of the need for gathering straightforward and trustworthy online customer feedback. Customers today actively pursue recommendations and reviews before selecting a brand to do business with and consumers are regularly asked to leave their feedback after any activity with a business, in a bid to attract new clients.
Because it has become so easy to garner customer-generated opinions and content across the web, businesses are turning to review sites to better manage them.
Why does your business need company reviews?
Modern-day business review sites offer a vast amount of data that span out from the customer reviews associated with them. These platforms can highlight your clients’ sentiments, areas of the product or service that may need further improvement and even shine a light on new products. All this information (and more) can be picked up solely from customer feedback.
Many companies are now treating customer feedback as their most important source of research and insight into their markets and target audience. What's more, is it can be carried out for a fraction of the cost associated with old-school market research techniques.
Here are a few reasons why a company would want to start collecting reviews and using review sites.
77% of customers view a brand more favourably if they ask for and action customer feedback. Take a proactive approach to ask for feedback and encourage customers to express their opinions across review sites. To make it worth their while, it's important to assure them that you will take their comments on board.
Creating customer personas
Creating personas for your customers helps you to better understand your target audience. Reviews and feedback are left by real customers with real personalities, passions, needs and wants. By studying them and analysing them carefully, you can create customer personas by identifying common characteristics among them. These might include demographics such as age, gender and location, to name a few.
Review sites give you the data you need to identify, target and provide for your customers on a personal level.
Tracking your business’ name and reputation on review sites will enable you to make more informed business decisions for the long-term. You know the ins and outs of your product, but the only way to know how your customers feel about it is through their feedback. Use their opinions and feedback to shape your company strategy and goals.
Keeping a keen eye on your competitor’s reviews on customer review sites will also help you benchmark your product and provide you with insights on how you can improve your own services.
It's also useful in finding new customers for your business and converting them to your product by addressing any grievances they may share about your competitor - you can leverage these insights to avoid the same mistakes, and to provide a better service.
90% of companies today use online reviews and review sites as an important part of their business and marketing strategy. They allow you to set better-defined marketing objectives and provide you with publicity and wide visibility on the best review sites across the world. Use positive reviews as part of your marketing strategy by showcasing them to new clients and featuring them on your homepage.
Online review sites can work towards building trust between brands and consumers and establish brand authority. By being a brand that customers are willing to talk about and share experiences about online, your business is pushed to the top of everyone’s mind.Replying to comments on review sites shows your brand personality to the public and helps establish an online presence. Business review sites also help in customer retention, which leads to more money for your business.
SEO and PPC advantages
Review sites increase your business’ visibility across SEO and PPC channels, help generate more leads and get your site more traffic. It is estimated that 10% of Google’s search results consist of online reviews. Search engines give authority to highly-rated review sites, which make them rank higher, and even display star ratings on the first page of a SERP.
Is negative feedback on review sites bad for your business?
It is important to take both positive and negative feedback on board so you can constantly look for ways to improve and deliver an even better product to your customer. A negative review can feel like a blow to your reputation but, when dealt with carefully, can yield some unexpected benefits such as:
- Establishing trust. It would seem very odd if every single review you had online was only praising you. No one is perfect, and you need to showcase the most authentic version of your business - that includes negative feedback too.
- Helps you learn. Use negative reviews as a learning opportunity to find new ways to improve and reveal any blind spots in your strategy.
- Build customer relations. Responding to negative feedback with an apology and a resolution shows the client and other potential customers that you value their opinion and will do everything you can to remedy it.
Top customer review platforms of 2020
Now we understand how important reviews are, it's time to start collecting reviews from your customers. But, where to start? Here are some of this year’s best review sites.
Feefo is a bit different to most review platforms. Customers are asked to give feedback on a business directly, ensuring all reviews are based genuine experiences. Feefo gives you the insight you need to connect with your customers, build trust in your products and services, and discover what makes your business special.
Google My Business
Google comes with the credibility and visibility of being the world’s most popular search engine. You automatically rank higher because of its SEO functions and its reviews are pretty transparent. Google My Business also gives you better access to local customers on the search engine, so it's an essential tool for businesses.
Amazon was one of the first platforms to set up customer reviews online and has changed the way consumers decide what to purchase. Amazon reviews also look great with their star ratings, descriptions and ability to show the purchase verification of the reviewer.
This Swedish review site crawls the internet to source reviews that match the user’s product feed. It's fast-growing and can be easily integrated with your website’s directory. A cool feature about TestFreaks is the ability to post questions and answers directly from customer service, however, the platform might be too much for small businesses.
This product review site is a non-profit organisation where all reviews are written by the employees and team at Which?. There is not much scope for you to influence and control the reviews, but you are encouraged to provide the Which? team with any products and services you want them to feature.
MoneySuperMarket is a useful product review site to compare different financial products against each other. Customers can use this to examine various mortgages, insurance, loans, energy services, broadband providers, travel businesses and even phone deals to see which one suits them best.
This business review site was founded in 2004 and is still going strong today. It's especially useful if you're a location-based business, as you can update details like address and timings. Customers can also look for relevant options nearby, so keep your information up to date to provide the best possible information.
A must-visit for anyone in the travel and tourism sector, and the go-to review site for holiday planning. TripAdvisor combines real traveller stories and photos with the hotel’s own listings to give an all-round overview of each property. This reviews site compares features, prices and location for hotels and attractions across the world.
Facebook ratings and reviews
Anyone with a Facebook account can rate and review a business on the platform. These reviews increase your brand’s organic reach and customers are likely to trust reviews from people and friends they know on a social media platform. Businesses can also embed Facebook reviews into their website.
Online review sites are a crucial marketing tactic for any business today. They build loyalty and trust in your brand name and make your customers feel validated, while considerably helping in bringing in new customers. Each of the review sites and platforms mentioned here serves a different, yet important, purpose for your online brand name, and helps your customers feel heard and valued.