Sunday 8 August 2021

The Importance of Good Reviews

As social creatures, humans look to their peers for advice and confirmation. Before the internet revolution, we would speak to our friends, our family, or our neighbours for their thoughts and experience. “Do you know a good plumber? Have you watched that new TV show?”, etc.

In today’s crowded marketplace, customers are spoiled for choice. A simple online search will often bring up hundreds of thousands of results and once you add flash sales and digital advertising into the mix, it can be hard for them to know where to begin. Who should they trust?

Understanding social proof

While peer-to-peer discussion is still an important part of our purchasing process, a great deal of our hunt for satisfaction is conducted without any verbalisation at all. We simply ask the internet. According to new research – 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their family and friends.

Reviews are right at our fingertips whether on TripAdvisor for restaurants and hotels, Rotten Tomatoes for movies, or Amazon Product reviews for gadgets and games. Vendors encourage us to leave our feedback and let the world know whether we endorse our purchase, or not. And that feedback now plays a vital role in how successful a product or business becomes.

Control the conversation

While this might all sound daunting, it is far better to be in the conversation than outside of it. Customers are hunting for the validation they need to make their purchase, and a lack of reviews can be a huge barrier to this process. A service or product with 0 reviews is always going to lose out to one with plenty of feedback. Customers want to see what other people think and what their experience has been.

Equally, customers want to be able to develop a relationship with the businesses that they love. Being able to add their endorsement helps to build brand loyalty and to give customers a voice. Particularly for new businesses, customers are often more than happy to take part and feel like they are supporting you in your path to success.

One of the deepest worries that businesses have about opening themselves up to online reviews is the potential for negative feedback. What if a customer is deeply unhappy, or worse has an axe to grind? Well, the truth is that if a customer has been disappointed then chances are they will be venting their feedback somewhere already. Once again, the question comes down to whether you want to be a part of that conversation or not. Opening up a channel of communication allows you to monitor and respond to feedback in a fair way, rather than not being a party to the conversation at all.

Adapting for the future

Finally, it’s important to understand that online reviews are here to stay. Therefore, the longer you hold off on incorporating them, the harder you will have to work to catch up with the competition. But online reviews should not be seen as a necessary evil. Whether through increasing your standing in search engine results, increasing brand loyalty, establishing relationships, generating new business or marketing material, they can be an excellent feather in your cap.