Speaking about customer reviews and customer experience in general, we are all well aware that the digital sphere is the perfect playing field when it comes to any form of business marketing. However, what we tend to forget about is the importance of word of mouth.
Online customer reviews provide you with the ultimate insight - you get to read about the genuine experience of people regarding everything from food quality at restaurants to fashion and beauty products. They are a very powerful tool that can make or break your business.
If you want to learn how to harness that power and understand why customer reviews are important - read on! Below we provide you with several reasons that will help paint a picture of how important customer reviews are for online marketing and what impact they have.
What is a customer review?
A customer review, or customer feedback, is information provided by the customers about how satisfied (or dissatisfied) they are about a product or a service.
Their opinions matter!
This resource is great for helping you to improve the overall customer experience and also give you insight as to where you might need to adjust your actions to better fit your customers’ needs.
The feedback you receive can be prompted or unprompted. The prompted customer review is collected through different surveys that are initiated by you, while unprompted reviews are those that can be collected through internet monitoring tools such as social wifi.
Both of these are important if you want to truly understand how your clients perceive your brand!
Does anyone read customer feedback?
Of course, particularly the unprompted sort!
Unprompted customer reviews deserve special attention mainly because they represent the environment where customers’ issues usually appear.
This is where you are more likely to hear something important that you need to pay attention to, rather than trying to find elicit information through a short survey with multiple choice answers.
The impact of customer reviews
Simply put - customers are doing your marketing for you and they deserve the best customer experience by default.
Positive online customer reviews are worth a great deal as they offer benefits that a simple marketing campaign cannot. They essentially work as micro-marketing campaigns that keep working long after the customer review was posted.
This is how they ensure a constant positive image to potential customers and create continual brand awareness that benefits your business. However, be aware that the same can be said for negative reviews and their impact. You need to pay close attention to those and make changes where change is due.
How can your business get more reviews
While you surely will get customer reviews without even asking for them, getting more customer reviews through various tactics is necessary in order to see increased growth. Some of the existing tactics are very useful if you want to skyrocket your reviews, regardless of your budget.
Customer engagement insight
Keeping in mind that the market is changing faster than ever before, getting real-time reviews from customers is imperative if you wish for your product to stay relevant. The customer review insight implies finding the best possible channels to keep up-to-date with your customers’ feedback to allow you to tailor your product for the best results.
With the everlasting presence of social media, customer reviews have an increasing importance, though they can be complex to navigate. For that reason, businesses are constantly finding new ways to increase customer engagement in order to build loyalty and shorten the feedback loop.
A healthy and sustainable engagement environment is where customers/clients enjoy, and are rewarded for, being proactive and participating in the improvement of their favorite products.
Negative reviews have more impact than positive ones
There is no denying that negative online customer reviews are important.
They are important because they ultimately lead to much desired product improvements. Negative customer reviews provide a necessary counterbalance to positive reviews and help create credibility and trust among your customer base.
Keeping customer reviews authentic is highly important, but ultimately - it depends on you how you will handle them. Some businesses are quick to embrace negative reviews, while some others cower at any negative feedback they receive.
Either way, it is important to acknowledge all forms of negative feedback and appreciate that authentic feedback from customers gives you an opportunity to improve your products or services.
The bottom line is - if you engage with customer reviews and manage them, you will be able to benefit from the information you receive.
Replying to your customer reviews is essential
Responding to customer reviews is essential, mainly because it increases your visibility in search engines, or in other words - in order to get more reviews or to build your search credibility, you need to engage more.
This is especially important for localized searches, as when Google ranks a business it looks into both the nature and volume of reviews, as well as their consistency.
Are there any limitations for customer reviews?
Unfortunately, there are some limitations when it comes to customer reviews:
- In order to build strong customer loyalty - review consistency matters. Your reviews always need to be up to date, otherwise they will become irrelevant.
- One negative review is enough to skew a potential customer’s view of your product or service.
- A lack of negative reviews can potentially affect customers’ opinion on the credibility of your business, which might influence the decision to make a purchase. Some research has shown that customers trust companies more if they include both positive and negative reviews, while some believe that reviews are fabricated or censored if they don’t see any negative ones.
- If you want to use third-party review sites in order to get more reviews - keep in mind that most of them charge for their services, so you must determine how much (and if) it will benefit you.
- Third-party sites allow customers to say pretty much whatever they want, which may have a damaging effect for your business.
Customer reviews should be the front and center of your business
If you wish to stay on top of the game, you should treat your customer reviews as the most valuable source of information you have.
So, why are customer reviews important? Your customers are people who actually use your products and services, and in order to obtain a loyal customer you need to listen to their opinion and do your best to improve everything that needs improving.
Use customer reviews at all corporate levels, because their insight is what is going to help you develop your products, improve your services and manage customer satisfaction (helping you to obtain the most loyal customers).
Whatever you do, don’t ever ignore your customers!