Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
How many online customer reviews does your business need?October 2nd, 2019 by
Do you know what your company’s customer satisfaction surveying results say about you? If you have only a handful of online customer reviews (or none at all), then the answer is likely “not enough.”
Online reviews are one of the primary ways that consumers decide which companies to purchase from or hire for important services. In fact, more than 90 percent of people read reviews before doing business, and 23 percent say they need reviews to be recent to matter.
What does this mean for your company?
It means you not only need reviews, but you need to bring them in consistently to ensure you have the right amount.
The problem with a low review count
With online reviews featuring so heavily in a consumer’s purchasing decision, a low (or nonexistent) number of reviews can hurt your company’s reputation.
A business that has zero online reviews is just as suspect to customers as a company with only vague five-star reviews. Consumers want to know they’re dealing with a real company, which is why soliciting and displaying all customer feedback—even when it’s less than positive—is so important.
Timeliness of reviews matters to customers, too. If your most recent online review is from ten months ago, for example, potential clients are going to wonder why you don’t have more relevant feedback.
To get more reviews, you’ll need to request feedback from every customer—no cherry-picking! And be sure to publish every review. Negative reviews don’t harm your ranking on search engines, so as long as you respond promptly and respectfully, you have nothing to fear.
Online customer reviews that consumers trust
The benefits of reviews
Online customer reviews of any kind have several benefits, so don’t ignore this important part of managing your company’s reputation.
Use positive reviews to:
- Highlight products and services on your website
- Create social media content
- Develop an influencer outreach program
Take advantage of mediocre or slightly negative reviews to:
- Understand the services and products your customer really want
- Identify areas of improvement
- Determine what your customers like about your company
And even purely negative feedback is helpful. Use negative reviews to:
- Identify serious missteps in your company’s processes or services
- Humanize your brand
- Respond in a way that demonstrates your care and concern for every customer
Responding to negative reviews
If you think you can just allow negative reviews to hang out until they get shuffled down the page by newer, more positive feedback, think again. After all, most review websites offer the option to “sort by star rating,” which allows users to view negative reviews no matter when they were left.
Instead, you need to embrace the feedback and try to spin it into something more positive for the customer and, in turn, your company.
Check out our recommendations for responding to negative reviews respectfully and in a way that shows your company’s care and responsiveness.
The right number of reviews
So, exactly how many reviews do you need for them to be beneficial to your company’s online presence? There really isn’t a hard and fast answer to that question, but the general rule of thumb is the more, the better.
Keep in mind that if you have a good balance of descriptive reviews from real customers (and are committed to gathering more reviews on an ongoing basis), you probably won’t need to worry about your company’s exact number of online reviews.
If, however, your company had a particularly rough time that resulted in a spate of negative reviews, you’ll need to focus on both addressing the cause of the negative experiences and gathering more (hopefully positive) reviews.
GuildQuality can help streamline your customer satisfaction surveying program by ensuring that you hear from every customer. This will boost your total number of customer reviews and get you the honest feedback you need to take your business to the next level.
The key to getting the reviews you need
You probably won’t get the number or the quality of reviews you want unless you ask for them. This doesn’t have to be awkward; in fact, most people are happy to tell you about their experience with your company as long as you’re open and transparent about how the process works and why you value their feedback so much.
Consider letting your customers know about your customer satisfaction surveying program before their project has begun. This way, they’ll know what to expect, and your survey response rate will probably be higher than it would be otherwise.
Don’t fall into the trap of purchasing reviews or offering financial incentives in exchange for positive reviews. Doing so is unethical, and you risk being heavily penalized by Google.
When you work with an objective third party for reputation management and review gathering, you can rest assured in the knowledge that your customers will be surveyed in a timely, organized fashion and that you’ll get ongoing honest feedback to optimize your business.