Why Customer Reviews Can Help Drive Sales Success
Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.
Sales are a crucial aspect of every business yet, particularly for retailers in the online community. As a customer, one of the key influencers to whether you choose to buy or not to buy depends on the product reviews and if they have any. Companies fear that a bad review can be detrimental to their business – yes, some can. Though deciding against this feature completely, could be doing more harm than good.
To Include Or Not To Include?
When you shop online, more often than not you will find a review section – great for getting an idea of a particular product, the company or for reading previous customer’s recommendations.
Unfortunately, as a buyer, we face those odd occasions where a review section has ceased to exist on the site. You’re now in a mental battle of changing that product or letting it go to another buyer. Odds are you probably won’t be risking that purchase.
Although a bad review can be damaging to your brand reputation, solving the problem and handling the customer with care can actually lead to positive repercussions. This includes the removal of the negative comment by the customer or leads to an additional, positive review on their “excellent customer service experience!”
Good To Know: There are review sites out there that allow you to filter the testimonials you show on your website. Although these may be a little more expensive, they can help with controlling any negative content away from the eyes of potential customers.
However, removing all reviews that are lower than 5 stars can look unrealistic. Don’t get too hooked on having a clean sheet of perfect reviews – they don’t always bode well!
Hopefully, You’ve Chosen Include!
A 2017 survey by BrightLocal found that ‘93% of consumers read local reviews to decide if a business is good or not.’ So there is weight in that an online review can have an encouraging effect on customers to buy a product. Now, to find out just how they affect sales.
Image source: BrightLocal
How Do Customer Reviews Affect Sales?
They Generate Great Social Content to Share
Using a customer’s positive experience with your brand is ideal content to get posting on social channels. We understand that frequently creating social copy can leave you a little brain-dead. Recycle your customer testimonials to show your followers just how great you are without being too sales-y.
The above Instagram example shows how to make the most of a review. Firstly, although organic reviews can deliver great social engagement, making use of a popular social account by approaching them with a freebie to review, can expand on this success massively! That’s just what business @doggiedailies did with the popular Instagram user, @pepper.thegolden. But it doesn’t stop there…
Doggies Dailies promoted the review on their own Instagram feed before sending their followers back to @pepper.thegolden’s feed. This was done by encouraging users to get involved with a giveaway of their products. By utilizing the large number of followers that Pepper’s account had, they were able to increase their post reach and spark more engagement with their products and brand. This is a great way to really maximise coverage to help boost sales. Clever thinking!
If Doggie Dailies is good enough for Pepper, a famous dog Instagrammer, it’s good enough for your beloved pet too. Right?
Sharing Reviews that People Actually Want to Read
To help you with sharing reviews that people will actually have an interest in, here’s a short list of tips:
- Include a quote from the review that highlights the best part. Too much text tends to put people off from giving it a read.
- Customize the post with a ‘thank you’ message from the brand. This will highlight to users you’ve built a relationship with the customer (and could encourage users to build one with you too!)
- Include an image. In general, photos help to make posts more engaging, particularly on Facebook.
Tip: Make the image interesting, not just of the review itself. Perhaps include a customer image to serve “proof” or a high-quality image of the product itself. Layer it with a snippet of text to create a great graphic worthy of a read.
Builds Brand Reputation and Trust
Collecting multiple customer reviews work like building blocks to grow your brand reputation. Having access to lots of customer experiences who are usually not going to be biased towards the brand, instills prospective buyers with confidence and trust.
Buying with a new brand is always a little daunting. Potential customers will want to see that you have gone the extra mile to help other buyers, so they too can be sure to have your support if they need it. That’s why it’s vital, especially for larger businesses, that you stay on top of monitoring and tracking your testimonials.
Let’s take a look at another example! The below review takes place on the social platform, Twitter. Although it is rather a passive comment, there’s a hint of negativity within the message that’s vital to be addressed.
By choosing to reply to the Twitter mention, Seamless was able to demonstrate excellent customer service through acknowledging all inquiries, even though from first impressions, it was a pretty passive comment.
Smaller Companies Must Show Customers They Care
For those retailers on a smaller scale, the importance of allocating time to reply to reviews is critical. Particularly, if a review is negative. Providing a prompt resolution can go a long way for future purchasers, showing you are a helpful and willing seller. In actual fact, from dedicated company responses, you can rectify the situation and make the negative review, not-so-negative after all! If users know they will receive your help when they aren’t satisfied with your product, they’re likely to stay and make a purchase.
Remember: Every review deserves a response with a personal message and in a timely manner. No matter how passive the comment may seem, by doing this, you can showcase to prospective buyers that you’re a friendly, trusted brand to buy from.
Improve Search Rankings With Current Content
Customer reviews are an excellent way of providing your users with fresh content that both users and search engines love. That means promoting your most recent reviews across social channels, in blog format and so on, notifies search engines like Google and Bing that you are current and supplying users with relevant content.
As many users are turning to customer reviews before they make a purchase, a site’s website traffic is often heavily focused in three areas. These being your product pages, your review pages, and social pages.
Not only this but there is often increased searches for “Product Name + Review”. Search engines monitor this which, as a company keeps updating this page content with new reviews, makes achieving higher search rankings a little easier. Great!
Why Current Content Works?
The fact that content is fresh and new to users, plays a large part in their impact on the customer.
Did You Know?: 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant. That means, potentially, 73% of your customers may find you an unreliable source and hence will venture elsewhere to buy a similar product.
Having lots of old reviews no matter how great they may be, won’t generate the success that fewer but more recent reviews will. Neither will hundreds of only 5 star rated, excellent customer experiences. Studies show that around 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before deciding whether or not to go ahead with their purchase. As I’m sure many of you have heard before, when it comes to testimonials, it’s about quality, not quantity, with “newness” of the review, factoring into the review’s quality.
Remember: It’s good practice to collect positive, current reviews to post throughout the year. Start by making monitoring customer reviews a priority, especially if you have a dedicated sales team. This can help to make real use of their time!
Being Honest With Your Buyers
Many companies will go all guns blazing to delete a bad review when they see it. However, as buyers, most of us realize that even the best of products will get some negative feedback over time. Sharing these reviews adds significant weight to customers; knowing that you’re being honest, makes you a trustworthy, go-to seller.
Cater To Negative Review Hunters
There are customers out there who look specifically for bad reviews. These tend to be customers who are in the final stages of the consumer buying journey and hence are searching for the final factor that may change their mind from making the purchase.
If you can show them a scattering of negative reviews, all which have been successfully rectified, they will no doubt respect your honesty and be on their way to placing that order.
Good To Know: If every review you obtain is negative, although you may show you’re great at resolving them, it’s probably best to rethink showing additional reviews without making changes based on the feedback you’ve collected.
Whether it’s poor delivery detailing, difficulty with menu navigation or the mobility of your site that’s frustrating your buyers, it’s best to make these changes before you decide to keep displaying bad reviews – especially if they’re on a similar subject!
Keeping it short and sweet with 8 key takeaways from this article:
- Unless your reviews feature nothing but 0-1 star ratings, it’s good practice to include them somewhere on your site.
- Customer reviews play a key role in persuading prospective buyers to make a purchase, assuming it contains positive reviews and/or negative reviews that have been resolved.
- Use customer reviews for social media posts to help give your followers some current content (that’s also a great persuasive piece to encourage sales!)
- Share reviews that are straight to the point. Include interesting content such as shortened quotes, images, video footage and so on.
- Customize every review response by including their name where possible. It’s also worth engaging with them using a question or emojis to be playful where it suits.
- Continuously update any dedicated review pages to keep them current and useful to both customers and for SEO purposes.
- Respond to reviews in a timely manner. For larger organizations, it’s worth dedicating an employee to complete this task, to ensure responses are almost immediate and made without complications such as multiple responses.
- Don’t delete every negative review. Show customers you are honest when promoting your products by including a scattering of negative reviews that have all been resolved.
Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.
Watch keynote speaker Seth Godin
Bestselling Author and Entrepreneur, Seth Godin spoke at #SMWNYC. Watch his talk + hundreds of others on SMW Insider.
Watch SMW Live
SMW Insider is a premium video platform that streams more than 300+ hours of talks, presentations, and interviews from leading industry experts.
Write for Us
Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.