The internet has revolutionised the way we shop.
It’s easier than ever for people across the globe to find what they’re looking for and make a purchase with just a few clicks. But, on the flipside, it’s also easier than ever for consumers to give businesses their feedback, showing the world what they really think of your products and services.
As a business owner, the online customer review – where the consumers honest opinion is public to all – might seem daunting. However, reviews are hugely important to your business, so it’s essential that you treat them with the consideration they deserve, no matter how daunting that may seem.
In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at why reviews are so vital and talking through some customer reviews best practices essentials when it comes to handling them with care.
Why Customer Reviews Are So Important
According to research, a whopping 95% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase. This shows that the importance of customer reviews can’t be understated, here are just a few ways that they can benefit your online business:
Influence Consumer Behavior
This is because consumers trust other consumers above the word of business themselves. This means that displaying reviews on your website can really sway visitors, turning them from potential customers into actual customers.
Boost Customer Engagement
Another benefit of the customer review is that they present a unique opportunity to build rapport with your customers. By responding to reviews, you create engaged customers – and engaged customers are more likely to spend. In fact, stats suggest that engaged customers who feel an emotional connection to a brand can increase revenue by up to 23%.
Improve Your Online Visibility
Reviews can also provide a benefit when it comes to boosting your online presence. More written content related to your products, means fresh content to be indexed in search engines – boosting your SEO and helping you to climb those all-important rankings.
How to Handle Customer Reviews
Now you know how important customer reviews can be to boosting your online business, you probably have a few questions on how to handle them.
Should You Publish All Reviews?
One of the most important questions that business owners have is whether or not to publish all reviews – both positive and negative. Of course, it seems obvious that you would want to accentuate the positive and try to hide the negative, but in reality, this isn’t the best course of action.
You might be surprised to learn that displaying negative reviews can increase consumer’s trust in your business. In fact, 72% of online buyers say that negative reviews increase their trust. The line of thought is that a slew of only positive reviews makes a company look ‘inauthentic.’
So, in most cases, the answer to this question is yes – you should publish both positive and negative reviews you receive from customers.
However, it’s important to ensure that any reviews you publish are genuine. Unfortunately, fake reviews are a growing problem on the internet.
In some cases, rival businesses can target their competition by hounding them with unfavourable reviews in the hopes it will damage their rival’s reputation. And, on the other hand, you might be tempted to enlist loved ones to post favourable reviews to inflate the positive perception of your brand. Of course, both of these options should be avoided.
You should ensure you have safeguards in place to monitor spam comments and reviews on your website, as they can be harmful for both you and your customers.
How Do I Respond to Negative Reviews?
When it comes to responding to your reviews, handling negative feedback can be the most challenging.
It’s only natural that you might be hurt by a negative review. When you put your heart and sole into your product and service, it can be hard to hear that someone is unhappy. Reviewers can be cruel, so it’s important that you write your response when you’ve had time to cool off from the initial shock and hurt.
Once you feel ready to respond to the review with a level head, generally you should take a three-step approach:
- Start by thanking them for their feedback, just like you would with a positive review.
- Apologise for the experience not matching their expectations.
- Offer them a way to contact you privately to resolve the issue.
Of course, each review should be taken on a case-by-case basis, but by loosely following these three steps you can cover all of the major basis.
When it comes to responding to reviews, you might find it helpful to write out a template to follow, where you can insert the name of the reviewer and change lines depending on the situation. This can cut down on time, and give customers the timely response they want.
How Can I Display Reviews?
Google and Facebook are the two most popular places for customers to leave reviews, but what if you could offer your customers a way easily leave reviews directly on your website?
The Customer Star Reviews and Rating Plugin from CreativeMinds is the perfect way to do this. The plugin, built specifically for WordPress, lets customers rate and review your products or services, and lets you display them anywhere on your website.
As with all CreativeMinds plugins, the plugin allows full customization. It’s also compatible with Google Schema Rich Snippers, which means that your reviews will appear in Google search results alongside the star rating awarded by your reviewer – perfect for extending your reach, building trust, and improving your SEO rankings.
Customer Reviews Best Practices: Final Thoughts
Customer reviews are essential to your online business.
As research has shown, reviews are a sure-fire way to build trust and increase conversions – and this is regardless of whether they’re positive or negative. Because of this, it’s really important that you engage with them quickly and in a civil and constructive way.
For more advice and the latest news in online retail, check out the rest of the CreativeMinds blog.