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To fully understand a brand’s digital reputation, it’s important to learn and effectively use online review management strategies to their advantage. Even with a big marketing budget, brands rely on customer reviews to expand and maintain their customer base. As it turns out, it’s a highly effective strategy according to many customer reviews findings:
92.4% of consumers use online reviews to guide their ordinary shopping decisions.
67% said a “good customer service interaction” had an effect on their future buying habits. Specifically they recommended the product or service they bought to others.
53% see product ratings and reviews as the most important factor in the online shopping experience.
So, how do you take charge of your online review management strategy? Make sure that you’re using the following four tips to transform your business from just another storefront to a must-visit for loyal customers and newcomers alike:
Listen to the voice of the customer
Ask for feedback
Spread the word
Engage with your community
An online review management strategy goes nowhere if you don’t take valuable insights from it. You need to take the time and read what people are saying because the Voice of the Customer is more powerful than you think.
Customer reviews data shows only 48% of Americans trust businesses. This low number means many rely on unbiased, legitimate feedback from others to decide if a business is worth their time and money. Specifically, the three things other people look for in customer reviews are product performance, purchaser satisfaction, and product quality.
Once you take note of their feedback, take the time to respond to their review. Responding to their review shows you greatly value each person’s business. Responding also tells new customers you’re willing to engage with them outside the usual transaction.
Specifically, learning how to respond to negative reviews can have great benefits for customer acquisition and retention. Customer reviews data shows 44.6% of consumers are more likely to visit a local business if the owner responds to negative reviews. In a restaurant setting, this is even more powerful because responding to a 1- or 2-star review within 24 hrs offers a 33% higher probability of the reviewer returning and upgrading their review by three stars.
Keeping an eye out for those elements (or a relevant variation for your industry), making those insight-based changes, and then responding to feedback can lead to better experiences and returning customers.
The many changes that come with any business means that you should be asking for reviews regularly because their scores contribute to your overall rating. Before even diving into your customer reviews, consumers are looking first at your overall rating, 35% use a rating filter of four stars or higher.
Review count is also an important factor to consider. To confirm your rating, people need to see at least 112 customer reviews, and 77.6% of consumers need to read at least seven comments that confirm each other before they believe the common trend among your reviews.
To put it simply, you need more reviews to build trust and credibility if you want to stand out from the local competition.
From a reviews and SEO standpoint, customer feedback can also help your presence on search engines. Your average amount of yearly reviews and especially those in your Google My Business listing can help your local SEO chances, which equates to more exposure, and more conversions.
We’ve said before that the Voice of the Customer is a powerful tool for any brand, so make sure that you use it to your advantage. If happy customers are raving about your product or the in-house experience, be sure to share their reviews on social media. If you have a website or newsletter, carve out some digital real estate to tell more people about the experience of those who love your brand.
Even if it seems like you’re preaching to the choir, it’s important to use these channels to share your best reviews. People are always looking for more social proof to justify their purchase or as the final step before they decide. Taking the time to spread the word through reviews can make that process easier for someone looking to buy from you.
When you share reviews online, chances are that people will also use that opportunity to engage with you. Make sure you don’t ignore them. Their comments can range from a simple question to a complaint about your product, and you’ll need to address them with equal weight.
For those who haven’t bought from you yet, this can be a way for you to show your willingness to engage and build trust. In the same vein, your engagement with current or past customers can help keep them for future visits.
Whatever the situation may be, there’s certainly a case for effective community management. Taking some time out of a busy day to have 1-on-1 conversations with consumers goes a long way to show yourself as a trusted brand that takes the customer experience to another level.
When done correctly (and patiently), your online review management can be a massive boon for your operation. By heavily relying on customer feedback, you glean valuable insights into the buying experience and make the changes that people will notice when they shop with you. Engaging with customers and sharing their feedback online helps build credibility online and shows your willingness to build a community around your brand.
With time, using these tips can lead to more loyal customers, a powerful online presence, and a strong foundation of online reviews that can make you stand out from your competition.