As a customer, what’s one of the first things you do when trying to decide whether or not to buy a product you’ve never used before? If you’re anything like most shoppers, you read customer reviews. From a business owner’s perspective, you need to make sure you’re maximizing the value of customer reviews to drive revenue for your company. 

Why Reviews Matter 

The importance of customer reviews in business can’t be understated – especially in today’s internet marketplace where credibility helps businesses rise above the competition. How important are they? Just check out these stats:

  • 9 out of 10 customers read online reviews before visiting a business.
  • 88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 72 percent of customers say positive reviews make them trust local businesses more.
  • The average customer is likely to spend 31 percent more on a business with “excellent” reviews.
  • 58 percent of customers read between 4-20 reviews before trusting a business. Just 8 percent read no reviews at all.
  • 86 percent of people hesitate to buy from a brand that has negative online reviews.

Clearly reviews matter. In fact, they’re often the deciding factor in whether or not a customer makes a purchase decision.

Take interior design as an example. When a homeowner wants to find a professional interior designer, they aren’t just going to select the first company that shows up on Google. They’re going to use an interior design review site like Hometrust, which allows them to read reviews and find the perfect match. Without reviews, an interior design company would miss out on these leads.

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Companies with positive reviews in the right places also get a boost in the search engines, which increases visibility.

“Popular online review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor have been around for a long time and have extensive databases of information,” ThriveHive explains. “Search engines like Google give favor to sites with a presence like this, so it’s not uncommon for a small business’s Yelp or even Facebook page to rank higher in search results than its actual website.” 

4 Tips for Leveraging Customer Reviews

It’s obvious that online reviews matter. The question is, how can you properly leverage them in order to grow your business? Here are some suggestions:

  • Do a good job. The best piece of advice is pretty simple: offer value to your customers. If you go above and beyond your customers’ expectations, they’re naturally going to feel compelled to share their experiences. If you fail to meet expectations, no amount of coaxing will get them to leave positive feedback.
  • Ask the right customers. Certain customers are more likely to leave a review than others. Your time and energy is much better spent targeting these customers, as opposed to chasing down the ones who are unlikely to help you out. Generally speaking, repeat customers and/or those who have directly interacted with someone within your company are the ones who are most likely to publish a review.
  • It’s perfectly fine to incentive customers to leave a review. You may offer a discount, free product, or even recognition – anything that motivates people to say something. Sending a follow-up email a couple of days after purchase is the best way to present these offers.
  • Finally, be sure you interact with the customers who leave you reviews. If it’s a positive review, tell them thank you. If it’s a negative review, be empathetic and ask the right questions. This latter scenario shows other prospective customers that you care about negative experiences and work hard to fix shortcomings and wrongdoings.
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There’s no secret formula for obtaining positive reviews, but following these tips will allow you to collect more than your fair share. Keep this the back of your mind and prioritize the collection of positive reviews. Then, once you gather these reviews, maximize them by sharing them on your website and via social media. The more exposure you can get, the better.

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