According to research 92% of consumers read reviews on products or services and 74% of people rely heavily on word of mouth and what friends are saying to make purchases. An abundance of dedicated review moderation sites such as Trustpilot, Feefo and Yelp together with the likes of Facebook and Amazon all provide popular platforms where individuals can both voice and share their opinions online.
The trend for consumers to tell and share their stories not only represents a massive untapped opportunity for customer engagement but also a huge and powerful source of brand endorsement and higher sales. Here are 6 key benefits of investing in effective review moderation.
Humanise your brand
Shockingly, many companies are still underestimating the effects of reviews and are either unaware of what customers are saying about them or simply choose to ignore them. By the very viral and lasting nature of online content, a â€˜burying your head in the sandâ€™ approach is likely to fan the flames rather than extinguish them.
Instead, take a proactive stance and enter into a dialogue, whether it is to thank someone for positive comments or address a problem or issue. By empathising publicly you are not only enhancing the customer experience but also giving a human face to your brand that helps you reach out to a wider community.
Enhance your reputation in search
One of the bonuses of responding and interacting with customers is that review content is valued by search engines, so mentions for your brand are often highly visible on page 1.
In particular more and more consumers are looking at 10 or more pieces of information before they commit to a large purchase, so if they add â€˜reviewâ€™ to the product or service they are looking for, then reviews are likely to dominate the page of results.
Turn your customers into brand advocates
As todayâ€™s consumers are becoming more reliant on what their peers or real people are saying, reviews left by customers are often prized more highly than the organic content created by marketers. Anonymous quotes from â€˜Mrs Jones of Manchesterâ€™ that appear on company websites are no longer believable, as audiences are unsure whether they are fabricated. In contrast, comments on the likes of TripAdvisor are taken at face value and positive testimonials are frequently replicated on a hotel or restaurantâ€™s own website.
If the customer has had a happy experience then ask them to shout about it. Online reviews give your customers the opportunity to show their gratitude and at the same time provide a deep pool of on-going testimonials for use in marketing material.
Market your organisation with lead generating reviews
If you are investing substantial amounts on marketing or advertising campaigns whether in local papers, on TV or online, the type of reviews you are attracting can either dramatically magnify or nullify that expenditure.
According to research when utilising a 5 star review ranking, 94% of consumers would use a product with 4 star reviews or above, whilst only 14% would consider using a company that has 2 stars or less. By maintaining a 3 star and above scoring you will maximise your chances of converting advertising spend into real sales.
Convert negative sentiment into positive
Whilst many companies may shy away from tackling posts by irate customers, these customers can actually be a source of potential further goodwill if treated in the right way. In many cases the reason that many take to social media and review sites to vent their frustration in the first place is because they have not been able to speak to the supplier about their grievances. The first step is to reach out, empathise with their concerns and find a solution.
One example that we managed recently was on behalf of a well-respected UK shoe manufacturer. One of their customers had complained that, although out of warranty, their shoes had worn out. By offering the customer a new pair of shoes, we completely reversed the situation and they then tweeted a delighted picture of themselves that was then retweeted many times.
Build and grow a loyal social media community
The more time and effort you spend on nurturing your fans or detractors online, the more dividends you can expect from an ever expanding community of loyal followers who will share their love of your brand with others. Over half of young people aged between 18-24 say they trust online reviews more than the opinions of friends and family, plus the presence of reviews is estimated to add an 18% uplift in overall sales.
By embracing the possibilities of review moderation you will open your brand up to gaining greater customer insight and also enhance the customer journey before, during and after the purchase has taken place. You will also separate yourself from the competition by visibly acting in the interest of the customer to make sure that they are satisfied with your brand, products and service.
by Dino Forte, Managing Director at Ventrica
Article originally published in Direct Marketing Magazine: