We’ve all heard the saying, “Any press is good press.” The same idea goes for customer reviews—any review, whether good or bad, is good for business. Yes, even bad reviews are good for your business. If you don’t believe me, jump down to #5, but come back here when you’re done.
Anyway, customer reviews are super important for any business, but especially small businesses. Word-of-mouth used to be king, but with the prevalence of online businesses, online reviews have taken over. One study found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust businesses more.
Now that we know how important customer review are, you should probably be encouraging your customers to leave reviews. And once you have those reviews, here’s how you can use those reviews to grow your business. Check out the top five benefits of—good and bad—customer reviews.
1. Easy Access to Customer Concerns
Sometimes third-party review sites can be a little bit scary—people can say whatever they want about you and you have no power over what’s published. The good news is that you can respond to negative reviews. While you can’t edit or delete mean things said about your brand on review sites, you can address customer concerns and appease unsatisfied customers.
And if a negative review is handled the right way, you can turn your biggest critic into your biggest fan. When responding to negative reviews, be honest and personable in your approach and genuine in your efforts to solve the problem. And when potential customers see positive interactions between your brand and your customers, you just may earn more fans…and sales.
2. Improved SEO Ranking
We often think about SEO and Google rankings in terms of content and coding on our own website. But did you know that positive reviews on third-party websites have a greater impact on your ranking than on-site reviews? So, make sure you encourage happy customers to write reviews on trusted review sites so search engines—and customers—can find you.
3. Increased Sales
When it comes to high-converting product pages, you want to have some user-generated content in addition to professionally written product descriptions. Not only do customer reviews make your product pages look more trustworthy, but they also increase conversions. In fact, Millennials trust user-generated content 50% more than other media. So, add some social proof—customer reviews, testimonials, videos, ratings, etc.—to your product pages and watch your sales rise.
You can also include a Testimonials page on your website. This allows potential customers to see how other brands, similar to theirs, used your product or service. By seeing others’ success stories they’ll be more likely to invest in your brand.
4. Better Marketing Strategy
Besides featuring customer reviews on your homepage and product pages, there are so many ways to use a good review as part of your online marketing strategy:
Free Advertising – Reviews on a third-party site are a great way to increase brand awareness. The more your name is mentioned on review sites, the more exposure you get to potential customers. The best part: it’s super cheap. Review sites are essentially free mass exposure.
Social Media – Use good reviews as social media content. Not only are you showing your audience you listen to and appreciate your customers, it’s an easy way to fill up your content calendar.
Case Studies – Expand positive reviews and create case studies or customer spotlight videos to feature on your website. This is a great way to go in-depth and show how you’ve helped customers succeed. When interviewing customers, be sure to ask for specific KPIs and results so you can give your audience a complete picture of the customer process.
5. Optimized Customer Experience
Negative reviews can be a great way to improve the customer experience. Often, customers don’t share candid reviews directly with the brand, but they will be super honest on review sites. Go through third-party review sites regularly and address any negative reviews as best you can, then see if you can make their criticisms into positive business changes.
Do they make valid points? Do they offer helpful suggestions? Are there any changes you can make that would improve your product or customer experience? You may find that some of the worst reviews lead to some of the biggest improvements to your business.
The moral of the story: you need customer reviews. Not only do potential customers appreciate hearing honest reviews about companies, but they’re integral in improving your own business practices. And don’t be afraid of negative reviews! Yes, we know, nobody actually wants a bad review, but they offer new opportunities for customer engagement and can help you make your products and customer experience better.