Online reviews can be foreboding for any business. More often than not, it seems like customers only write a review when they have something negative to say.
That may be true, but according to Jeev Trika, Founder of CrowdReviews.com, a buyer's guide which ranks products and services based on user reviews, there's actually a lot of ways transparent online reviews are good for business. I asked Jeev for some ways transparent online reviews can help business owners grow their companies and he shared these 7 with me.
1. They show transparency and encourage trust.
If you allow uncensored reviews about your business on your website or other platforms, it comes off as a sign of transparency for visitors.
Potential customers can read the reviews, and weigh the pros and cons of your products or services based on information they trust. Eighty eight percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
And building a volume of positive reviews (sprinkled with a few negative ones here and there) will serve as social proof for the merits of your business.
2. They're good for SEO.
If you claim your website on third-party review sites like CrowdReviews, Yelp or Yahoo, it's great for SEO. The listings will give you more backlinks for your website, and more web pages about your business for search engines to crawl.
And when Google vets businesses to display in their local search results, they cross-check with third-party sites like these to check your business' authenticity. So the more authentic listings you have, the more authority you'll have in local search results.
3. They give you an opportunity to respond to negative experiences.
Any business can admit to some slip-ups in customer service. When it does happen, and you get a negative review, look at it as an opportunity to rectify a wrong.
Responding to the reviewer and publicly trying to fix the problem will be a sign of diligence and accountability for anyone else reading along. And if you manage to make the customer happy in the end, they might just take down the negative review anyway.
4. They help drive conversions.
Perhaps one of the most important reasons to have honest reviews available for potential customers is your bottom line.
Ninety percent of customers say their buying decisions are impacted by online reviews, and reviews can lead to an 18% increase in sales.
The transparency that reviews bring, combined with valuable product or service information, can set your business apart from competitors who don't share honest customer experiences.
5. They show you how to improve your business.
Feedback is feedback. Sure, a lot of negative reviews out there are unhelpful or even unjust, but every once in awhile, you'll get a review from someone that can really help you improve your business.
If you notice that negative reviewers tend to complain about similar problems, you can use this information to come up with ways to improve your customer service for future customers.
Transparent reviews aren't only for the benefit of potential customers. Businesses can use constructive criticism to grow and improve over time.
6. They give you an opportunity to engage with customers.
Engaging with customers and having a personal relationship is one of the most important ways brands can broaden their reach and increase customer loyalty. That's one of the main reasons businesses make use of social media, but they often don't think of the opportunity to engage with reviewers.
As mentioned above, businesses can respond to negative reviews, but they can also follow up with highly positive experiences as well.
The ability to do this also has an impact on sales. When visitors engage with reviews, customer questions and answers, they're 105% more likely to make a purchase, and spend 11% more than those who don't.
7. They make great User Generated Content
User Generated Content (UGC) is an important component of any business' content marketing campaign. It's the only content you can display on your website that highlights your business' strengths that doesn't come directly from you. UGC is valuable--most people I know want to see recommendations from others more than branded content.
Having transparent reviews on your website or third-party platforms makes it easy to find testimonials to feature on other web pages. You can also reach out to particularly satisfied customers to put together case studies that further highlight your business' strengths.
Know of any other ways honest online reviews can help your business grow? Comment below!