If you have ever worked in retail or hospitality then the saying ‘the customer is always right’ probably sends a faint shudder down your spine, but, whether you like it or not, a business naturally relies on the recommendation (and criticism) of it’s patrons. This is exacerbated online too – due to the overspill of websites for every niche you could think of, your everyday internet-goer has grown distrustful of what a company tells them online. According to BrightLocal, this has led to nine in ten consumers reading online reviews before purchases.
But, it’s not just about sales. Reviews are a multi-faceted tool to be used like any other aspect of your business and having them on your website, the good and the not so good, is going to benefit you in more ways than one.
Your reviews will no doubt have a healthy impact on your sales. ReviewTrackers found that visitors who read and interacted with online reviews converted at a chunky 58 percent higher rate than those that didn’t and shoppers that did the same reflected an increase of 62 percent in revenue per visit. If you’re late to the party on this one, hopefully you’re beginning to get the gist of it.
Reviews are gold dust as a means of improvement to your service or product. As Forbes rich list number 1 and renowned super geek Bill Gates has said, ‘Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning,’ and having a reviews section on your website is a fast-track to this information.
If your customer’s input isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, then use it to your advantage. Iron out the kinks in your service that consumers were less than complimentary about and use testimonials to clear up common misconceptions they might have had for future visitors.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) scours the internet, behind the scenes, silently judging your websites, ready to knock you down a peg at any moment. Fortunately, it’s much less ominous than it seems, and according to AdWeek, just 800 words of juicy review material can make up as much as 70 percent of fresh content for a site. Something the SEO police will reward with higher search engine rankings for your website.
Authenticity & Credibility
Reviews reinforce a customer’s trust in your service, including the negative ones. Most have likely experienced that sense of suspicion when scrolling through takeaway reviews and finding that places previously shut down for cholera outbreaks are still 5 star rated. No wonder then ReviewTrackers state that 57 percent of customers would be suspicious if your business only had positive reviews.
The answer – let people be honest and whatever you do, don’t delete bad reviews. Instead, enquire further into their claims and learn from their criticism. Write responses and show that you are remedying the issue for the future. It goes along way to show the human side to your business and that you care about your customer’s opinion.
The gist of this post overall is this – own the process. Utilise reviews like you would any other aspect of your business and always draw the positives out of it. Embrace feedback and use it as a tool for turning visitors into customers, and customers into loyal fans.
By Oliver Roche
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