SMBs: Are You Collecting Reviews? You Should Be
Have you ever checked reviews for a company, product or service before? Yes? Thought so. It’s easier than ever nowadays to find reviews - a simple search online takes seconds. Businesses should be conscious of this. And not just the big companies. A local search presence, backed by reviews can be extremely valuable to small businesses, potentially the difference between success and failure. Reviews should not be seen as a threat, reviews should be seen as an opportunity - and here’s why.
A lot of research has shown that consumers frequently check online reviews before opening their wallets for a product or service, and that positive reviews influence buying decisions. A study by Bazaar Voice found that visitors who read good reviews had a 6 percent higher average order value than visitors who didn’t read reviews. Positive reviews can ‘seal the deal’ and provide confirmation to consumers that a product is right for them.
Furthermore, collected reviews can be used to help you stand out on search engine result pages and gain more organic traffic to your site. If the main topic of a page is about a specific product or service, Google supports review rating display in rich snippets i.e. the few lines of text that appear under a search result. A yellow star rating can be added to your search result which stands out and gets you noticed. There’s a number of ways you can add this information via markup, as outlined here. If you’re a WordPress user, there are some good plugins for this too, for instance All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets.
Google also supports rating and review integration for Google Shopping and AdWords. This information is taken from Google’s own review systems and a number of independent review websites, including TrustPilot and Reviews.co.uk. Having a presence on at least one of these review sites is a good idea. Not only does it enable stars next to your Google ads, it additionally provides a fully independent and legitimate source for potential customers to check up on your business. Reviews.co.uk is one of the lowest priced review centres for businesses.
But what if you get a negative review? Could this actually be really damaging? Funnily enough, a negative review can sometimes be an opportunity to further enforce your reputation and appearance, if dealt with properly.
First of all, never, ever be rude in a response, even if you get called every name under the sun. Be reactive and proactive. Respond and thank the customer for their feedback. If you do not agree with the comment or it’s not accurate, do not outright say they’re wrong. Instead, clearly outline your counter argument and let other readers decide for themselves. If there’s an element of truth in the bad review, this is valuable to you. Take it away as something to rectify and respond to the reviewer with the exact steps you will take to improve. Be honest and put these steps into action. Always give the negative reviewer a way to contact you if they wish to discuss the issue further, and lastly, invite them back, possibly offering some sort of discount or complementary x.
Negative reviews can provide you with the opportunity to identify where you’re going wrong, so you can improve and enhance your offering. Also, a negative review within a pool of healthy reviews is more convincing to readers, as it indicates the reviews are real.
Reviews are valuable to both consumers and businesses. Consumers increasingly search for reviews and consider them during buying decisions. In return for your business, the feedback provided can help you serve your customers better, improving your offering which in the long run can increase your revenue and profitability. To really feel the benefits of reviews, you need to ensure you’re proactively monitoring, and reacting to the reviews you receive. Soon they will become an asset to your business and a means of attracting more custom.