Why You Should Be Proactive About Online Reviews

Last week, we explored the value of proactive customer service and why that winning strategy pays off for savvy brands. Here’s a closer look at a specific proactive strategy that can make a real impact on a business.

Online consumer review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor can make or break a business with their star-based rating system. Whereas in days past word-of-mouth advertising was golden, today’s online reviews are platinum. While one or two bad reviews won’t destroy a business, multiple red marks could make potential customers hesitate.

Fortunately, users will generally take a few negative comments with a grain of salt, realizing that some customers could simply be having a bad day. A company can also reach out to the author of a negative comment and offer a resolution to their issue, either publicly or in private. In some cases, if the user is satisfied by this follow-up interaction, they may opt to remove or edit their comments.

Conversely, a larger number of positive reviews can be very powerful; consider these sales statistics:

  • Sixty-eight percent of Americans report that positive reviews make them more likely to visit a business and use their services or products.
  • When offered two products with similar ratings, customers are more likely to purchase the item with more reviews.
  • More than four reviews increase the likelihood of purchase by nearly four times.

Is it possible to optimize online reviews in a proactive manner? Is there a way to take steps to use these ratings to your advantage? Absolutely, by actively displaying your reviews. For companies showcasing their online critiques, conversion rates increase by up to 270%, with higher-priced products reaching almost 400% in these persuasive sales.

We see it all the time on websites with direct requests for consumers to interact with a business on social media. Just as we’re often besieged with requests to “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter,” we’re often implored to leave a review by following a link to Yelp or another review site. Realize that while it is acceptable to directly request reviews from consumers online, tracking experts remind businesses not to incentivize with special offers, discounts, or freebies that could land them in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission.

The free marketing and consumer insights generated by online reviews can be a huge benefit to online businesses. By adding your own voice to the conversation and showing your involvement and commitment to engaging and supporting your customers, you’ll be well-placed to compete and thrive in today’s marketplace.

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