The Reality of Business Reviews

These days almost everyone reads reviews to help with their decision making in terms of making a purchase or indeed with engaging with a business. Indeed, it’s worth mentioning that 87% of people expect to see reviews with a staggering 65% saying if they cannot easily find them, they will quickly move on elsewhere.

 So, as business owners, we know we can ill afford to ignore the importance of reviews which quite simply must play an integral part of our overall marketing.

At no time should we forget where the feedback that forms our reviews comes from.  The reality is that all of our reviews are borne out of the goodwill that we share with our customers and this should set the tone for how we view and use what is a very precious resource.  A resource that you have worked hard to acquire and in effect own.

Now we know it makes absolute sense to provide our prospects with reviews for them to read and we know we have the ability to acquire the feedback required at no cost, it’s already there waiting to be used. Make no mistake you deserve to be able to make proper use of the relationships you have developed.

However, there is an issue that we need to be aware of that is capable of severely undermining the credibility and influence that our reviews deserve, I refer to the corruption that is endemic in the review world in the form of fake reviews. It is generally accepted that on average up to 40% of everything you read out there is fake.

If you were so inclined, which I’m sure you are not, you can of course ask friends and family to provide these for you or use the main search engines and find companies that will, at a price, provide you with totally fake reviews for your business in order that you can effectively cheat and mislead any prospects that might read them.

The art of writing fake reviews for which individuals are often paid or incentivised is becoming more sophisticated and they are therefore more difficult to spot.

Of course, I appreciate you would not entertain behaving in such a manner, but the truth is that this corruption is becoming more widely known and as a result it undermines the credibility of all reviews including yours which are genuine  and sadly the review industry in general seems unwilling to take any meaningful action to correct the situation.  

Having acknowledged the issue of credibility it’s important to remind ourselves of the potential power and benefits that our reviews have to offer. For example, it is well known that once someone has committed to you in writing, by providing you with a review and you go back to them and offer your thanks, that individual is averagely, 20 times more likely to recommend you to others. In other words, if used correctly, reviews can help to create advocacy within your existing customer base enhancing your ‘word of mouth’ marketing considerably. 

Another interesting and positive fact is that if we can ensure our reviews are seen as credible 68% of people say that they are then willing to pay more for our goods or services when compared to the competition.

How can we make the best of our reviews? well, here are a few tips that will certainly help:

Ask for them.  You will be amazed how many people don’t do this and of course to do so involves you with a great reengagement opportunity with your customer, a very positive thing in its own right.

If it’s appropriate to the way you work don’t always wait until the transaction or project is complete and you have sent your invoice before you ask, by that time your customer could well have psychologically moved on. So, consider asking the question – How are we doing so far?

You quite simply don’t need dozens of reviews, take a little but often approach with the odd new one dripping in to keep things fresh.

Remember whenever possible your reviews should help to convey the values and ethos of your business and the key people in it.  Let’s face it, people buy people.

Date your reviews, this helps in terms of their overall credibility.

When appropriate repurpose them for use on social media and promotional material.

Display a number on your website and if possible, ensure they are close to a ‘call to action’ button.

Wherever possible use the word ‘feedback’ particularly when requesting a review this is a much more open request and try and avoid the word testimonial which by definition implies – good. This also applies when using any heading for your reviews on your website.

I hope that helps and good luck.

PS: There is another big issue in terms of reviews but enough for now, we can discuss that another time.

Martin Firman (Founder) of Review Biz. 

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