We live in a time with endless choices. Whether it’s what restaurant to choose for dinner, what brand of shoes to buy, or the best hairdresser in the area, our options are virtually unlimited. But with all that choice comes the pressure to make the best decision. While many people think that more options move our decisions along, it actually forces us to make decisions more slowly. We ask friends and family about their experiences, neighbors for their opinion, and more recently search engines for the most highly rated goods and services in the area.
Product and brand reviews are quickly becoming the scale which determines the value or quality of businesses. According to Yext, an award-winning location cloud service, over 90% of consumers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. With so many people turning to reviews to make purchase decisions, it’s critical for businesses to have current, positive, and many reviews. But it’s not so simple. To promote customers to give reviews, businesses need a specific strategy that accounts for both velocity and freshness of reviews. If your business is lacking credibility or struggling with a lack of reviews, consider these tips:
- Ask at the inflection point: Don’t ask your customers to review you the second their service is complete or delivered, but also don’t wait too long. Allow them enough time to process their feelings about your business, but not enough to forget the quality of the service.
- Ask without strings attached: Bribing your customers will only skew your results. They shouldn’t feel forced or spammed into providing you with an honest review.
- Ask with humanity: Ask simply and kindly. A personal ask goes a long way.
- Follow up and thank them: Make sure that your customers know that you have received and listened to their opinion. They should feel like their review was valued and appreciated.
When looking to improve the credibility of your business online, it’s important to understand the difference among reviews – not all are created equal. There are three different types of reviews to consider:
These reviews consider your company as a whole. They take into account your values and culture and can either positively or negatively impact the reputation of your brand.
Specific product reviews can directly impact product demand. For 87% of customers, a business with a low rating won’t even be considered.
Location reviews are unique to each physical location of a business. With 36% of consumers beginning their local purchase path with an online search, it’s essential for your business to have strong local reviews. There are two-types of location reviews, each being critical to the credibility of a business and impactful on customer behavior.
- Third Party Reviews: When customers rate your business on a third party website such as Google, Yelp, or TripAdvisor, it’s considered a third party review. No matter how successful your business is at marketing, bad reviews on third party sites can kill your marketing dollars and the credibility of your business.
- First Party Reviews: These reviews are posted by customers directly to your website. Having these reviews makes your site more trustworthy and can also improve your organic ranking. Google uses these first party reviews in their organic algorithm, so having a wide-range of positive reviews is extremely helpful for your SEO.
Having a variety of third and first party reviews can make or break your business. These should be consistently updated and monitored for recurring problems or successes. According to Yext, 73% of consumers say reviews older than 90 days are irrelevant, which is why having a review strategy will help keep your business reviews up-to-date and relevant to potential customers. Yext has tools that enable you to execute this strategy by easily syncing with CRM systems and schedule emails requesting reviews from customers. Having successful reviews strengthens your reputation, so the best way to encourage reviews is to ask every customer to write a review regarding their experience. In today’s digital dialogue, the stronger your online reviews, the more trustworthy and appealing your business will be to customers.