If someone asks you what is the most critical thing that keeps your business running and your spirits high, what would be your answer? Your customers, right?
Customers are an essential asset for any business. No matter how well-designed your website is and unique your products are, all of your efforts will go down the drain if there's no one to visit your site or buy your products.
But is having customers enough to get you the desired success? Certainly not. You have to ensure the customers you have are also happy and satisfied with your services.
Now how can you know what your customers think about your business?
That is where customer reviews step in.
Once a platform for starting a fancy website to promote your offers, the internet today has turned into a forum where customers compare and evaluate different products based on online reviews and feedback from other like-minded individuals.
In this post, we'll walk you through one of the most crucial yet often overlooked aspects of your ecommerce journey - the importance of customer reviews to your ecommerce business.
What Is Customer Feedback?
Simply put, customer feedback is information provided by existing customers about their experience with a brand and its products and services.
The purpose of customer reviews is to help marketing personnel understand where they are lacking and what they can do to improve their services.
Some stores exclude this feature from their social media profiles and websites to avoid negative feedback. But keep in mind, both negative and positive reviews contribute to your business's growth and success.
So, make sure you keep this feature enabled and face negative feedback with confidence. Also, don't hesitate to go the extra mile to turn that negative comment into a positive one.
Types Of Customer Feedback
Here are 4-common customer feedback types every ecommerce business should collect to analyze its performance:
1. Reviews And Ratings
Reviews and ratings are the most common type of customer feedback wherein the brand asks customers to write a review or rate their experience, usually out of 5 or 10.
Websites include an open-ended review segment, meaning customers can write as many words as they want. They can also add an image in that section to support their comment.
This works exactly the same as an offline review system wherein a company distributes a survey/feedback form to collect online reviews from their buyers.
2. Video Testimonials
As they say, a picture speaks more than a thousand words. Video testimonials are a great way to demonstrate how a product or a service has benefited a customer.
A positive review in the form of a video promotes customer loyalty and builds a long-lasting bond between a brand and a customer.
3. One-On-One Feedback
One-on-one feedback, also known as personal feedback, provides a clear picture of the customer experience to the brand.
Usually, this is in the form of interviews, but the channel mainly depends on the type of product or service you're offering to your buyers.
Also, businesses should choose a one-on-one platform depending on who their target audience is.
Another type of customer review that brands often collect from their existing buyers is 'suggestions.'
Companies generally collect suggestions when they're about to launch a new product or a service. The idea is to ask customers about issues they have faced earlier in their already available products.
Numbers Never Lie - Statistics You Need To Know
- According to research, more than 89% of customers read reviews before making a purchase online
- More than 76% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 57% of users read Google reviews, while 40% visit a business's official website to go through customer testimonials
- According to 47% of customers, they post online reviews of a product or a service every month
- 53.3% of buyers expect online businesses to address their negative feedback within a week
- And now the most exciting one. Businesses that leverage customer reviews enjoy up to 3.5-times a better conversion rate than those that don't
Still not convinced? Fret not! The following section explains why having an effective customer review strategy is unavoidable for the growth and success of your online business.
7 Reasons Why Customer Reviews Are Important For Your Business
1. Everyone Reads And Trusts Reviews
As the world switches from manual to digital, we no longer get to see newspaper and magazine reviews. Online platforms are a few of those sources where potential buyers can read what others have to say about a specific product or a service.
That’s perhaps the biggest reason why more than 95% of customers read customer reviews online before making a purchase.
Now, what does that mean for your business?
Look, if people read reviews before making any important decision, it is your responsibility to provide them with enough testimonials to help them make an informed buying decision.
And that doesn't take much of your time either. Sure, you have to invest in a few resources to gather genuine reviews, and by posting them at the right places, you can win customers for life. It’s a win-win.
Another benefit of customer reviews for your business is they're trusted by almost everyone. In fact, many people compare them with the personal recommendations they get from their friends and family.
2. Positive Customer Reviews Boost Revenue
Another benefit of positive customer reviews for your business is it attracts the attention of other potential customers. Since customers consider reviews as recommendations from their own family and friends, that lends an opportunity for your business to leverage review sites to bring in new clients.
Unlike in the past, when most new customers come from referrals, today, people turn to the internet and their smart devices to gather information about brands and their offers.
If scaled correctly, customer reviews can bring a massive boost in your conversions. Especially if you're a small business with limited resources, you can benefit from customer testimonials to expand your customer base, build trust, and drive revenue.
3. Customer Reviews Build Credibility And Trust
Having multiple 5-star reviews on different platforms is a foolproof way to get your brand noticed.
It builds trust and loyalty when you get a review (positive or negative), and you respond to it.
While positive customer reviews make your brand stand out in the crowd, you must not fear the negative ones as they validate your brand's authenticity.
Also, it increases your odds of earning a long-term customer when you take a step forward to make your customer's experience right.
So, having a mix of negative and positive comments is a MUST as it helps you excel as a brand and builds credibility and trust.
4. Reviews Attract More Reviews
Having glowing customer reviews on your site and other review websites encourages other customers to share their opinions about your brand. The more reviews you have over the web, the better.
5. Gives Your Customers A Voice
Modern customers are not just concerned about buying a product. They look for an all-in-all great customer experience.
Customers prefer to collaborate with the brands that allocate their resources to knowing them and offering a personalized shopping experience.
The thing is, no matter how hard you try, poor experiences are part of the process. You can't make everyone happy.
But what matters more is how you handle those experiences and think of out-of-the-box ideas to turn your unhappy buyers into happy ones.
Requesting your buyers to share their honest feedback will not only give them a voice but also make them feel empowered and special.
They'll feel their opinions matter. And who doesn't want to be heard? Of course, we all do.
6. Helps You Better Understand Your Customers
Knowing your customers is the most critical part of your marketing funnel.
Customer reviews provide you with an opportunity to know more about your buyers.
What do they think of your brand? What specific areas do they want you to work on? Are they happy with your customer service? Do they want you to revise your pricing tactics? You can learn this and a lot more by collecting feedback from your clients.
Customer reviews aren't only beneficial for the buyers but lend an opportunity to your business to identify loopholes in your strategies.
7. Helps You Build A Relationship With Your Buyers
There is nothing more essential for your business than building long-lasting relationships with your buyers.
Acquiring new customers isn't easy. Also, it takes businesses a lot of time, effort, and money to have new customers onboard.
By responding to the reviews of your existing customers, you can win their trust and improve your chances of getting repeat business from them.
Creating A Robust Customer Review Strategy
Creating an effective customer review strategy isn't rocket science. In fact, it's a simple 3-step process that any online business can follow to generate reviews for their brand.
Step 1 - Collection
The first step to creating a customer review strategy is deciding on the sources from where you can collect reviews for your brand.
Many dedicated review sites, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp & Yell, and Reviews.io, allow you to collect customer feedback to build your reputation.
Apart from that, you can also use your social media channels to gather customer reviews for your brand.
Step 2 - Management
Collecting reviews is just one part of the process. Learning to manage your customer reviews can do wonders for your brand.
Spend time analyzing reviews as it will help you identify your business's pain points and keep improving. You also need to know how to manage fake reviews.
You must also respond to each review in the best possible manner to leave a lasting impression on your customers.
Step 3 - Publishing
The last step in your customer review strategy is publishing. Many third-party websites allow customers to publish reviews online.
A simple Google search will help you reach those sites. Apart from that, you can use customer reviews in your online marketing strategy.
For instance, you can publish some of your favorite reviews on your social media pages. You can also post them on your site, in your ads, and even in your email signature.
Ways To Promote Positive Customer Reviews For Your Brand
Ask At The Right Time
This step is critical. It's important to request feedback at the right time of your customer's journey. You should ask for a review when a buyer experiences success with your brand.
Also, when a customer revisits your site to make a purchase, you can ask them to submit a review of their previous purchase.
If a customer has referred someone else to your website, you can also ask them to drop their personal experience with your brand.
Make It Easy For Customers To Review Your Service
Your customers will only review your work if you allow them to do so without any hassle. Include multiple options so that the buyer can choose whatever seems convenient to them.
Always show a prompt just after the completion of a transaction to remind customers to leave feedback.
Respond To Every Review
While positive reviews motivate you, negative ones help you improve.
We all make mistakes at some point. But that doesn't mean you hide from them. Remember, each review you get for your brand is valuable, and you must invest your time in addressing them appropriately (even the negative ones).
According to Harvard Business Review, brands that acknowledge and respond to negative or poor reviews witness better ratings than those that don't.