The idea for Word Of Mouth Online first came about when I was doing some home renovations and wanted reviews of builders and other trades to help me choose reliable businesses to work on my project. It turns out I wasn’t alone, and since then consumers have well and truly embraced the concept for all kinds of businesses (see what consumers say about WOMO here). But many businesses don’t quite understand how or why customer reviews will help their business, so we’ve put together a brief overview on how customer reviews benefit businesses.
1. Customer Reviews get you Found in Google
Any SEO expert will tell you to get listings on local online directory sites and create original content about your business. Customer reviews cover both bases and are naturally SEO gold. Google likes fresh information so each time you get a new review, your page is given a little more weight. What’s more is that your customers describe your business using highly relevant words and phrases – usually a close match to the phrases potential customers are search for. Even if you already have a strong web presence, your reviews will get you found under more words and phrases and get you found by more people (remember, it’s not just about being found when people search for your business name).
2. Customer Reviews Build Trust
Whether people find your reviews through Google, directly from the WOMO website, a link or widget on your website, or you otherwise direct them to see your reviews, it’s a clever move because reviews are the best way to get customers build customers trust. Reviews are ‘the proof’ customers are looking for. A recent Nielsen survey found that online reviews build trust more than a television advertisement, more than a newspaper article and more than any other form of media. And guess what? Customers buy from businesses they trust.
3. Customer Reviews Shortcut Your Sales Process
Once customers see positive reviews for your business, you’ll spend less time and energy selling – leaving more time to actually provide the service. Many businesses instruct every customer to read their reviews before they even start any serious discussions. The reviews themselves do the selling and once they get to you, they’re ready to purchase.
4. Customer Reviews Safeguard you from Poor Feedback
Even the best businesses have some unhappy customers so yes, it’s true that you might get a negative review. But while one negative review on its own can have an adverse effect on business, one negative review amongst several positive reviews is unlikely to have much impact. Building a bank of positive reviews is the best way to offset any unfavorable feedback that comes through in the future (whether that’s from a review, or comments on Facebook, Twitter, or somewhere else). It’s about building an online reputation – before you have a problem to deal with.
5. Customer Reviews Attract the Best Kinds of Clients
Just like marketing with steep discounts gets you price-shoppers; marketing with customer reviews gets you quality-shoppers. These are often the types of customers that value quality and service above price (meaning they’re more profitable), plus they’re also more loyal types of customers that will stay with you for longer. Why spend money attracting tyre-kickers, when you could be attracting quality customers (see this electricians experience using customer reviews).
6. Customer Reviews Impress Your Current Customers
People enjoy a bottle of wine more when they know was expensive or has won prestigious awards. Likewise, customers appreciate and value your business more when they realise how popular your business is by seeing feedback from fellow customers. Plus, the mere act of asking your clients for feedback shows them that you value their opinions and increases their satisfaction.
7. Customer Reviews tell you how to Improve
It’s almost ridiculous that this item is number seven, but unfortunately many businesses are not really that interested in improving, and consequently miss significant opportunities. The insights gained from both positive and negative reviews can help shape the direction of your business (and it’s a lot easier and cheaper to do than commissioning a market research project).
8. Customer Reviews help Save Disgruntled Clients
Did you know that most unhappy customers won’t even let you know they’re not satisfied? They just don’t come back! By asking customers for a review, you give them an opportunity to communicate, and the business gets an opportunity to respond. No business is perfect, but the sign of a good business lies in what happens when things go wrong. We’ve seen hundreds of examples where businesses have turned unhappy patrons into loyal customers – simply by communicating and resolving the situation. Without the review, they would never have had this opportunity.
9. Customer Reviews Create a Customer Service Culture
What better tool to manage your team than through direct feedback from customers? By focusing your attention on customer satisfaction, you automatically align everyone’s interests. Make a big fuss whenever you get positive reviews and treat any negative feedback seriously (here’s some tips). You don’t need to be an HR guru to do this!
10. Customer Reviews make it Fun!
Have you forgotten why you went into business in the first place? Wasn’t it something to do with serving customers and creating an awesome experience for them? It’s easy to lose motivation in the day-to-day grind of keeping on top of it all! Many business owners tell us they use customer reviews as their personal source of motivation – you’ll be amazed at the lovely things people will say about you! It’s a great way to keep focused and remember why you bother with all the blood, sweat and tears.