5 Reasons Why Online Reviews Matter to Your Business in 2021
5 Mar 2021
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have become enormous platforms for people to do their businesses online. Because of this, the internet has established a new marketing strategy called online reviews. You can think of online reviews as an electronic word of mouth (EWOM), which is an evolving marketing tool of traditional word of mouth (WOM). The reviews made can be positive or negative by customers towards the products, services, brand, or company on the internet.
The advantage of customer reviews do not just help build reputation but also put trust in the business. Posting a review on the website can increase the conversion rate on the website by 270%. This is of course very profitable for a newly started business, the same goes for e-commerce that sells gadgets or other luxury items.
Some Statistics You Should Know About Online Reviews According to Multiple Studies:
- 88% of consumers in Southeast Asia (SEA) trust review recommendations from people they know (Nielsen)
- 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses (BrightLocal)
- 57% of consumers use Google as a source of review channel (Bizrate Insights)
- 53% of consumers expect businesses to reply the negative reviews in one week (ReviewTrackers)
- 97% of consumers say reviews help them in purchase decisions (Fan & Fuel)
Why Online Reviews Are Important for Your Business?
1. Speed up decision making
In business, customers who never hear or try your products or services before will have a difficult time in making their decision. On the contrary, if your business received a lot of positive reviews, customers will spend less time on deciding such as reading reviews or evaluating the products because good reviews indicate they are satisfied with the products or services. Besides that, reviews help to get better insights about the product specifications that are not described in the product page section such as size, materials, shape, and more. Let’s take a restaurant as an example, the food advertisement displayed in a video can attract audiences about how delicious and cheap their food is. However, customers may check the reviews for a better evaluation before they dine in so that they do not encounter problems that other diners faced such as long queues, dirty environment, and poor customer service.
2. Build trust
Consumer’s trust is established if companies are able to show their customer service capability, honesty, predictability, safety and privacy guarantees. In online platforms such as social media, the level of uncertainty is usually higher because of the high level of user-generated content (UGC) and communication often done in virtual rather than in person. The absence of face-to-face communication may lead to customers’ concern about the truthfulness in an online purchase and the lack of understanding about e-vendors can exacerbate the increased risk of online shopping. Trust is used by consumers to believe the reviews provided on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other websites. Generally, the intention to buy is expected to happen if consumers believe the promised action by a company will be delivered. Trust is not only crucial for decision making, but it is also important for valuable interaction and exchange information.
3. Recognizing business strengths and weaknesses
Usually, in the stage of post-purchase evaluation, your buyers will provide reviews or ratings of your business products and services, in the form of positive and negative. So, from the reviews given, you will be able to see if they are satisfied or dissatisfied after using your products or services. If consumers are satisfied, that means your products or services have met their expectations while for dissatisfied consumers, there could be problems with your products, services, or employees behaviour. For instance, a customer purchased an item online but received it in damaged condition, this would mean that the item was not handled carefully during transportation. Based on this complaint, you will need to think about how to overcome this issue to prevent it from happening again.
In addition, having negative reviews are actually good because they provide highly detailed feedback and help your business to improve more. A business that can grow is a business that can fix all the shortcomings that still exist. Don’t let your business sit there because you don’t analyze your business shortcomings carefully. If negative comments appear, try to handle them professionally.
4. Help to find out the most popular product
If you have numerous positive online reviews in your business, you can start to compare and analyze all the products you have and find out easily the products that are consumers’ favourites. The findings can then be used for the development of new products in the future with greater innovation than current products. An example of a successful story by Calego about how reviews can help them in new product innovations for their luggage products other than improving their brand visibility.
5. Reduce marketing budget
Yes, you heard us right! Remember that online review is part of the word of mouth marketing which you do not need to pay (totally free) to get reviews from customers. You will automatically receive reviews from customers if their expectations met or not met after post-purchase. But how does this help reduce the marketing budget of your business? Online word of mouth actually works as an advertisement for your business when consumers talk about your brand, products, or services to their friends, family, and online communities. This means the message spreads from one person to another through oral or internet. If most of your customers or clients found you from WOM sources, then you can cut down the cost of digital marketing such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads temporarily if you want to save budgets. With a low cost or even free, you can promote your product or service to customers even better because this kind of marketing strategy can target potential customers.
4 Ways to Get Customer Reviews for Your Business
Having a lot of reviews is certainly good for your business, but to get reviews from customers is quite challenging because not all customers are willing to leave reviews for their own personal reasons. Therefore, there are several ways that can be used to encourage customers to leave a review on your business.
1. Ask directly
One of the fastest ways to get feedback from them is ask directly via email, messages, call, or even meet them in person. It is very important to follow-up after customers buy and use our products to find out their level of satisfaction whether achieved or not achieved. For example, you can request to leave a review or star ratings on Google My Business if you have a physical business. If you do not have a website, you can use WhatsApp or Facebook as an alternative platform for customers to leave a review.
2. Maintain a good relationship
It is not rare for us to meet irritating customers occasionally. But as a vendor, there is a phrase that says ‘Customer is King’, so you need to handle them as effectively as possible when dealing with them. Do not hesitate to ask them what they really want, the complaints they are facing, their criticisms and suggestions. Even if it is irritating, they can still provide positive feedback on our products if we can answer properly.
3. Offer a reward or small incentives
Give small incentives to customers such as discounts, shopping coupons, giveaways, and other rewards can encourage customers to leave a review. For example, a contest giveaway is a good strategy to do every month in social media. What the audiences need to do is give an honest review of the business, product, or service and in exchange, some of them will be randomly chosen as a winner and receive the particular contest reward prepared by the company. Remember that when giving out incentives, you should not force all customers to give a positive review on your business because this shows that you are trying to cheat and potentially can tarnish your own business reputation if suspected.
4. Don’t ignore your existing reviews
It is highly recommended to respond to customer reviews as it can prove that you listen and care about their efforts in writing the reviews and you need to appreciate it. Even if the reviewers made a good or bad feedback, you should not ignore them because you need to make them feel valued and appreciated. When we respond, this also allows other people to leave more reviews on your business.
The Most Trusted Review Sites
There are many review sites where customers can voice out their opinions, but it is also important to know that not all review sites are trustworthy. High authoritative sites like Google and Facebook are the most influential because they have been around for many years and most used by the majority of people today. Apart from that, they provide feedback that is associated with real account identities.
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool used by businesses and organizations to display and manage their business information on Google Search and Google Maps. It also allows you to provide valid and reliable business information such as business name, contact information, operating hours, customer reviews, and more. A study shows that 70% of customers will visit businesses that have a GMB profile! The below image is an example of positive reviews and ratings from one of the customer’s on CR8 Consultancy GMB.
Facebook has been dominant among social media platforms for years. Users not only use it to share their daily activities but also use it to leave reviews on business pages. In addition, Facebook has announced that their review system will be replaced by recommendations instead. This means that Facebook will no longer accept review ratings from users, but instead will ask for recommendations from users. Another study also states that roughly 2 in 3 Facebook users will use Facebook to look for reviews and recommendations. The below image is an example of Facebook recommendations and reviews from one of our customers.
With online reviews, you can learn more about your customer’s needs and wants. Use every input for the development of your next business, including developing effective digital marketing strategies. Customer reviews will continue to grow and will be important as they can improve brand visibility and drive more conversions for your business.