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The Ultimate Guide to Online Reviews: Best Practices for Customers and Business Owners

Online Reviews Best Practices for Customers and Business Owners

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Online reviews have become one of the most important tools for establishing and maintaining consumer confidence as e-commerce has expanded. 95% of customers rely on reviews to judge a product’s worth or learn more about it, according to the Baymard Institute.

After photos, user reviews are the section of the product page that is most frequently visited. In this online review guide, we will explore them and learn the best practices for them.

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How Does Customer Review Work?

Online reviews significantly influence how your company is seen in the online marketplace. They can assist in your brand development, lead generation, revenue growth, and self-education about business expansion and improvement techniques. They are a valuable resource for your business, and their significance is growing day by day.

When you go to Google and search for any local business you want to visit, the first thing it will show is its reviews and star rating. People who have already visited that place can post their thoughts and share pictures of their experiences. 

There are neutral, positive, and negative reviews. Neutral reviews are usually the ones with a 3-star rating and not much to say. Positive reviews are the ones with 4 and 5-star ratings, and negative reviews usually come with a 1 or 2-star rating.

Why Does Your Business Need Online Reviews?

The worst error a company can make is to ignore the important component of online reviews. They truly have the power to build or ruin your internet reputation. You cannot afford to ignore them in the increasingly crowded and competitive digital world of today. Let’s take a look at the reasons why online reviews are so important for a business:

They’re One of the First Sources Customers Go to Before Purchasing a Product

Testimonial Engine discovered that 72% of consumers will not make a purchase decision until they have read online customer reviews. Reviews serve as the internet’s version of a personal recommendation. Potential customers will pay more attention to and place more trust in present customers than in your brand. Being naturally skeptical beings, we don’t just believe what a brand says.

Improve Search Engine Ranking Factors

Off-site signals are used by Google and other search engines to evaluate the authority, trustworthiness, and relevance of your brand. Reviews are among the most reliable marketing tools available for enhancing these signals.

Google changes, but reviews most certainly won’t disappear very soon. Third-party reviews and other off-site SEO-related variables like them account for more than half of the ranking factor weight, according to research from Moz.com. Building up your online presence with reviews can help businesses crush all three of those criteria, which will likely always play a part in a page’s ability to rank. 

Build a Closer Relationship With Your Customers

Thanks to Internet reviews, you have a forum to interact with your customers. You can answer both their compliments and criticisms. This presents an opportunity for you to address issues and demonstrate to other clients how much you value their business.

More reviews may result from improved communication through reviews as well. For instance, MedQuest was able to considerably raise its ratings and number of reviews by reacting to both positive and negative comments as soon as possible.

Build Customer Engagement

Businesses should seek strategies to encourage consumer feedback as easily as possible. You can ask for reviews through email when a consumer makes a purchase, share customer experiences on social media, have a dedicated feedback button on your website, encourage reviews through reward programs, and manage group engagement posts and feedback.

Reviews can also be used to improve unsatisfactory customer experiences. You can improve the customer experience and win back your customer’s trust by simply politely reacting to a negative review.

Affects Business Reputation

A solid brand reputation encourages recommendations. The voice of the customer must be amplified to achieve this, and a culture where reviews are valued must be created.

Your online presence is shaped not only by how you portray yourself online but also by what others publish about you. Reviews are one of the most important factors affecting your online reputation. They account for 10% of the criteria used by Google to display search results and can significantly affect how potential customers view your company. 

Boosts Sales

Products that have received more than five online evaluations convert at a rate that is much greater than those that have received none. According to Harvard Business Review research, raising your online review rating by just one star can boost your income by up to 9%. This study demonstrates that reviews contribute to higher sales and overall business expansion.

Conversion rates dramatically increase as soon as products start to display reviews. People’s likelihood to purchase a product with five reviews is 270% higher than the possibility of purchasing a product without reviews. For instance, if someone is indecisive about two products, they have a higher chance of picking the one with the most reviews.

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Gives More Visibility to Your Company

As it is one of the most important ways to raise your internet presence, you must make sure you gain a ton of high-quality reviews. You must be especially careful to create a favorable brand experience as the competition heats up. Businesses with many reviews and the highest average ratings typically receive more traffic than those with few. It is vital to attempt to increase the number of reviews for better visibility and traffic.

How to Effectively Manage Your Reviews

The advantages of obtaining more reviews will ultimately result in a base of devoted customers, a favorable company reputation, and higher conversion rates. But to benefit from those advantages, a strong review management approach is required.

Identify the Review Sites to Monitor

The quickest approach to do this is to conduct a review network audit of everyone you can think of and look at the number of reviews for your brand or industry niche. Review sites differ by industry, so examine which best fits your business and demographic to narrow down your alternatives.

Whether you actively manage your visibility on these review platforms or not is irrelevant. No matter what, people will write reviews. Finding out which ones matter the most is the tricky part. Among the most relevant ones we can find are:

Google Reviews

The most infamously challenging reviews to earn are Google reviews. To begin with, if a consumer wants to review you, they must have a Google account.

However, they are most likely to help your business profile. Along with your average star rating and reviews, your website will show up in the right-hand “Google Business Profile Box” when it appears in search results. It provides a clear indication of why customers should visit your website.

When you join Google My Business, a brief overview of your company’s online presence appears in the Knowledge Panel to the right of the search results. The same information is displayed while searching Google Maps as well.

Yelp

One of the top review websites with a wide range of niches is Yelp.

Although Yelp discourages companies from soliciting reviews, it is still crucial for them to reply to customers, whether it be through a comment, a direct message, or both. If you aim to run a successful business, Yelp review management is essential, and answering inquiries on the platform is good practice.

TripAdvisor

Millions of reviews about specific establishments in the tourism industry (restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, hotels, cruises, etc.) are gathered on the Tripadvisor website. More than ever, the tourism industry depends on its online popularity. That is the review that their clients leave for them. Tripadvisor has a massive online presence in this regard, and it shows:

More than 460 million unique users visit Tripadvisor each month, and more than 760 million reviews are left by visitors.

Ask for Feedback

If you have satisfied clients, don’t be hesitant to inform them that you are listed on review websites. Let customers know that submitting a review can be a highly beneficial long-term strategy for your business if they want to express their gratitude. Most businesses will realize that this strategy will result in significantly more reviews.

Be Polite

Never debate with someone who posted a critical review. When they don’t receive the perfect rating, many people become quite defensive, and their responses might be aggressive. If you do that, people who read your response will be disappointed, and you will lose potential clients. Keep it professional, and try to handle criticism in the best way possible.

Create A Tracking Strategy

It is crucial to designate someone to monitor and manage reviews because they are one of the first results in a Google search. You can respond to feedback, whether favorable or not, by maintaining insight into it.

You might also purchase review management software, which compiles all evaluations from all platforms and sites into a single dashboard. 

Respond to All Reviews

Regardless of the feedback’s tone, every comment requires a response because, despite a nasty social media post or review, you can still win back clients. Consider responding to reviews, whether favorable or unfavorable, as an opportunity to increase audience trust.

People believe a firm is caring and motivated to address problems when they see it actively involving everyone. It can lessen some of the harm a bad review might have done. Having a positive response to criticism can foster closeness.

Keep the Reviews Flowing

Customers are more likely to trust your company when they see a steady flow of positive evaluations. That gives the impression that your company is well-liked. That also positively affects your local search ranking, and the higher you are in local search, the more accessible you are to your target market.

Best Practices to Leave A Review

If you’re a customer who recently visited a place or purchased goods or services from a company, follow the recommendations below before submitting a review.

  • Offer readers enough information to understand what went on. Describe the elements that made your experience good, bad, or indifferent. You might also share your thoughts on the company’s strengths and areas for development. But remain cordial and respectful.
  • If you’ve had a bad encounter, speaking in a sober, quiet manner is more credible than accusing someone or raising your voice in rage. Just describe what happened and let your review’s readers come to their own conclusions. Additionally, it may imply that the company will be more open to working with you to resolve the issue.
  • Before publishing your review, it’s good to ensure it is readable, coherent, and grammatically correct.
  • Don’t mention personal information in your review. Remember that the information you share online is public. If you have something to say about a specific employee, contact the company to address it.
  • Don’t forget to edit your review if you change your mind about a company.

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FAQs

Do Online Reviews Affect Consumer Behavior?

Reviews offer crucial social proof that can affect consumer behavior and purchasing choices. They provide social proof for deciding what to think about a particular company, product, or service, in addition to helping consumers decide what is and is not worth buying.

What Should I Do If I Get a Fake Review?

The quickest method to address a fake review is to contact the person who left it and politely ask them to remove it. If it does not work, every review site has a reporting option. Flag the review and specify the details of why you consider it fake. Publicly responding to these reviews is also a good idea, as people will see that you care about your reputation.

Are Review Networks Reliable?

You should rely on reviews because, most of the time, they are the genuine thoughts of those who have purchased the products or services. Unfortunately, some evaluations are fraudulent, misleading, or distorted, which is bad for customers and trustworthy businesses. Learning how to identify these reviews is a good trick.

The Wrap-Up

The days of mouth-to-mouth recommendations are in the past. As technology evolves, we can find everything on the Internet, including reviews. We hope this guide to online customer reviews has helped you, as a customer or business owner, to know everything about them.

Alex Contes

My past experience is as a Senior Full Stack Developer/Tech Lead. I have 16+ years of experience working in web development. Now I’ve transitioned to a SaaS product owner. Successfully launched my first product ReviewGrower as a Co-Founder after working on it for almost two years.

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