It’s becoming increasingly hard to stand out amongst the competition. The Internet has made it a free-for-all, with brands no longer limited to their local area. This new wealth of choice makes it harder than ever to convince new customers that you’re the business for them.
Reviews help on-the-fence customers make a decision and give them the confidence they need to choose your product or service over a competitor’s.
You probably already know that reviews are pretty important for a brand, but they are actually one of the most important drivers of success.
1. Social Proof Drives Purchases
Reviews form an integral part of the buying process and help consumers make important buying decisions. Think about it: if you’re having a hard time choosing between two restaurants and one has a handful of positive reviews while the other has none, chances are you’ll go with the one that has reviews.
This is common. In fact, 88% of consumers say reviews influence their purchasing decisions, since they can tackle objections and any last-minute concerns. Even better, incorporating reviews on your product or service pages, homepage, and other key touchpoints in the buying cycle can generate up to 62% more revenue.
This antique store proudly displays more than 250 customer reviews on its homepage.
2. Boost Search Engine Rankings
The higher you show up in search engine results, the more clicks your business will get and the more chances you’ll have to convert potential customers.
Climbing up Google is a top priority for many businesses, and rightly so. With top search status comes more visibility and more sales since the top three results get 75% of clicks.
Google has a number of different factors that play into the search algorithm, and reviews are a major part of that. In fact, they account for about 15% of the method Google uses to rank local businesses - and, the more positive reviews you have, the better chance your business has of ranking higher. Even having just 10 reviews can lead to a dramatic increase in search traffic to your website.
The top listings on Google for a local cocktail bar all have more than four stars and a large number of reviews.
3. Build Trust and Credibility
Trust is more important than ever for consumers, and they now seek out authentic, credible brands. And what better way to show that you’re trustworthy than by sharing the stories of past happy customers?
Positive reviews show you’re a well-loved brand with committed customers, which instantly builds a layer of trust for new buyers. According to research, a whopping 72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business before they’ve even made a purchase.
This gardening service uses reviews to cement brand trust with new customers.
4. Tackle Objections
All customers have a number of objections that run through their mind before they make a purchase. They might be worried about the price, the quality, or whether they’re going to enjoy the product or experience they’ve invested in.
Either way, it’s important that you understand these objections so you can tackle them early on and remove any friction from the sales process. One of the easiest ways to do this is to collect and respond to reviews.
Doing this gives you a deeper insight into the objections future customers might have, as well as a chance to alleviate any concerns.
And, when you consider that 75% of businesses don’t respond to their reviews, you’re already miles ahead if you take the time to listen and reply to your customers.
This plumber makes a habit of replying to customer reviews.
5. Improve Product or Service Development
Launching new products or making sure your service is the best in the market is hard - especially when there’s so much competition. Luckily, you have your customers on hand to help.
Reviews let you know what your existing customers like or dislike about your offering so you can improve it in the future. For example, if you run a salon and several reviewers admit they wish you added a head massage into the hairwash experience, you can consider incorporating it into your service moving forward.
This response from this dentist shows they have learned from this review and put measures in place to improve the experience for future customers.
This dentist review on the other hand doesn’t have a response, which means the dentist might have missed out on improving their service and turning a dissatisfied customer into a happy one.
6. Improve Customer Service
Customer service is not like it used to be. Expectations are higher than ever before, with consumers demanding brands reply to their questions in less than 60 minutes.
The most important thing to remember is that good customer service shows you care about your customers and their needs. Responding to reviews does this too. 41% of customers say that they feel like a company really cares about them when the brand replies to their review.
A simple response can really improve the customer’s overall experience with your brand.
7. Enhance Marketing Efforts
Reviews are ready-made content you can share on your social channels, in ad campaigns, and in your email marketing efforts. On top of this, they’re essentially the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing, which is still incredibly powerful.
You can implement reviews in your email campaigns, your social media ads, and other forms of marketing without the need to create new content from scratch.
Your customers become your marketing department which, when you take into account the fact that consumers trust each other more than brands, is a far more effective approach. It’s the reason why 85% of people find user-generated content (like reviews) more influential than brand photos or videos.
Implementing a positive review in their social ads gives this brand credibility.
8. Establish Customer Loyalty
Loyal customers are the bread and butter of your business. They keep coming back for more and refer your products or services to their nearest and dearest. But, more than that, existing customers spend more than new ones. In the long run, loyal customers are far more profitable for your business. According to research by Bain & Co, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a brand’s profitability by 75%.
Reviews play a big part in this. Replying to customers shows you value their experience with your brand, which means they’re more likely to invest in you. In fact, people spend around 49% more money at businesses that respond to their customer reviews.
Responding to reviews shows the empathy and respect this veterinary surgery has for its loyal customers.
Increase Brand Success With Reviews
Reviews are incredibly beneficial for every type of business. They instill trust and credibility, inject a hearty dose of social proof, and provide customers with the information they need to make important purchasing decisions.
With such fierce online competition, it’s never been more important to collect and display positive customer reviews - or, at the very least, learn some valuable insights from the bad ones.