Today, companies are striving to build a strong presence and strengthen relationships with customers through transparency. Especially now that reviews online are visible to potential leads; whether it is a comment about customer service or the rating of their overall experience, there is no shying away from the fact that reviews influence your company. The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a local business, therefore monitoring what can impact their trust is of great importance.
85% of consumers believe reviews older than three months aren’t relevant. So, businesses should consider having new reviews coming in if they are to influence possible customers.
To stress the value of reviews, we breakdown the various aspects that they can cater to and also what platforms are thriving.
Customer service and experience expert, Shep Hyken will be providing us with some of his indispensable expertise and knowledge also.
Who is reading online reviews?
Reviews have transformed the way consumers make purchase decisions. Customers value feedback from other customers. So much so, that 95% of shoppers are reading online reviews before making a purchase.
Consumers who are shopping online or even ordering for instore collection will consider how a store shapes up. Does it have knowledgeable customer service? Is the shop well located to their current location? Or if a product needs repairs or is faulty, did the store exercise excellent customer service and exceeded expectations previously?
Therefore, businesses that do not monitor reviews or reply to them are missing an opportunity to grow their business.
Reviews add value to your business
Better Customer Engagement
Customers welcome your interest in their feedback that shows you are listening to them. It can build loyalty if done correctly. The more reviews that can stem from responding quickly and appropriately, then the engagement level soars and becomes more straightforward. It also shows a knowledgeable workforce to customers who may feel dissatisfied about the initial experience before resolving the issue.
[c_comment comment=”Whenever a customer engages with the company, you have to answer them, no matter what channel they are on. They are especially important when it is a review, as it is public where all other customers have visibility. More importantly, the customer who had taken the time to leave the review will love to know that it was acknowledged. If it is a positive review, they like to be appreciated and if it is negative, then simply thanking them will not suffice. They want to know what you have to say about it, they want to know that you heard them and what you are planning to do about it.” author=”Shep Hyken” position=”Customer Experience and Service Expert”]
An important criterion for customers is not only the review in itself but also the business reply. 89% of consumers read the replies to reviews, showing that businesses should not leave any unanswered. Your replies are an opportunity to show publicly how excellent your customer service is. Especially since only 6% of consumers don’t trust customer reviews at all.
[c_comment comment=”You don’t want to miss the opportunity by not replying. When it comes to reviews, it is like a spectator sport; everybody is watching. A customer complains, but how does a company handle it? They want to see how they handle it, and it is that simple.” author=”Shep Hyken” position=”Customer Experience and Service Expert”]
Keep your review pages updated
Remember to claim your listing and ensure your details are up-to-date. Make sure your opening hours and phone number are up to date. Check the business images you are using and consider refreshing them or uploading higher–resolution versions.
[c_comment comment=”What company wouldn’t want to claim their listing on websites? It is what you should be doing. There are numerous ways to ask customers for a review ethically and remind them to do so. If they leave a review or respond to a survey, you can ask them to accept that it can be published for other members of the public to see.” author=”Shep Hyken” position=”Customer Experience and Service Expert”]
Local SEO is essential for businesses, especially regarding the digital society we live in. SEO in localized areas is highly targeted, suggesting users are generally looking for a specific company or a product or service in a particular area. It helps local businesses, who need to be found when searched for, notably on mobile.
[c_comment comment=”Online reviews do boost the visibility of your company, but more importantly, they boost credibility, assuming they are good reviews or how they are handled. For a brand, it is important to have the opportunity for customers to leave reviews, if they leave those on other sites, then obviously they’re going to pop up and become SEO optimized.” author=”Shep Hyken” position=”Customer Experience and Service Expert”]
What channels can be used?
One such channel that can help grow an online presence is Google My Business. It allows a business to show a presence in their local area with ease. It can offer a wealth of information about your company to potential customers, which will help drive your online presence upwards.
Why? Well say you are looking for something nearby – a coffee shop, ramen bar, sports store – then after the initial search for the place or item you want, proximity to your location is likely to be the next criteria. This is where Google My Business can give businesses a spot on the map for customers to find you, given that 63.6 percent of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site.
[c_comment comment=”For reviews, their public nature means that customers get to see how your company manages reviews. The customer likes to know if it’s positive or not, so just saying, ‘Thank you, we loved that you had a great experience and we are glad you are happy with the product’ is enough. Make sure it is not a robotic, repetitive response for each one, but easy to acknowledge. For negative reviews, it is more difficult as nobody is perfect.” author=”Shep Hyken” position=”Customer Experience and Service Expert”]
Surprisingly, around 40% of Google My Business listings go unclaimed. This means they aren’t valuing the impact of customer reviews for their business, and they aren’t managing their visibility to customers.
[c_comment comment=”Recognizing that every once in a while, you’re not going to hit it out of the park, seeing the response and how the company handles it gives the customer a feeling of trust and credibility. It is more powerful to show how you respond to their problems even if you don’t have five stars reviews across the board and show customers the type of company they are.” author=”Shep Hyken” position=”Customer Experience and Service Expert”]
Another platform that can be valuable is Google Play, which can be used for content and app reviews and to influence the number of downloads they receive. You can manage the reviews and make a comment in the section; you can also review the ratings on the service through an omni-digital platform.
Ratings are intrinsically part of reviews too and should be monitored closely, as 53% of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars, meaning the 47% would not.
Using these channels or the integration of them with a digital customer interaction platform can have a positive effect on your companies’ reputation. If you can be where they are, respond rapidly, have clear visibility of all posts, and respond to users facing technical issues.
Equally, reviews provide credibility. Demonstrate that you value customers’ comments, be they positive or negative, listening to their concerns, and taking necessary action to resolve them.
Customers and leads make decisions based on reviews. If you place a need for reviews, then they can mutually benefit both sides.
Centralize all reviews with one platform and manage them with ease
For retail chains with local stores, the number of review pages to monitor can be high, and individually managing pages is not practical. The right approach is to centralize all reviews through a single engagement platform. That way, the brand makes sure to see them all and to answer quickly.
[c_comment comment=”Just as it is vital to have somebody managing the phone when the customer needs to call, just as it is essential to place ads if you are going to do advertising and marketing, Centralizing reviews are part of the whole business strategy. It is an important part that you can’t leave it out.” author=”Shep Hyken” position=”Customer Experience and Service Expert”]
If you are managing multiple stores on a platform such as Google My Business, then consolidating them and having a unified view of the reviews for each one is more efficient than individually managing them.
Search results and those concerning geographical proximity are growing in value each year, and updating and maintaining an authentic and engaging local listing is critical for businesses.
The potential of the online review is growing, proving more beneficial for both businesses and customers. Customer engagement is more valued than ever since price and product have been outweighed by customer experience. After all, consumers are talking, and people are listening to what will impact them the most.
Originally published Dec 11, 2019, updated Jul 20, 2021