Customer reviews are a persuasive sales tool. Far more informative than product descriptions and professional imagery, they give an unbiased opinion from someone who’s been there first. But what is it consumers look for in review content? And how do you build a strategy that delivers?
In a world where the buying public is spoilt for choice, the brands that stand out are those using consumer opinion to drive their reputation. Businesses that collect reviews build trust at a far greater rate than those that don’t, so it’s important to share them even if you’ve only got a handful.
Because 90% of consumers read online reviews before they visit a business, and 88% trust them as much as personal recommendations.
They’re also likely to spend around 31% more with a business that showcases excellent customer feedback.
And finally, 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review.
So, now we know what they’re worth, what is it they need to convey?
Are your reviews authentic?
Authentic reviews are a lot of things. First and foremost, they’re genuine - left by people that have actually had an experience with a product or service and are happy to share it. Spotting a fake review isn’t always easy, but consumers are pretty good at seeing through them.
They’re also detailed and engaging. Feedback with photo and video content is far more powerful than a standard text review. As an example, an anonymous five star review that simply says ‘Great bike’ isn’t authentic. A video review of a real person having a real experience on that bike is.
There’s an extra bonus to this too. Video review content is driving UGC for brands, allowing them to collect content that’s otherwise pretty hard to come by. As today's most popular medium, consumers want more video from businesses, and video at its best shows an experience from the user’s perspective.
Customers are far more likely to engage with your brand if your review content brings this added value. That’s not to say text reviews don’t have their place though. They too can drive brand awareness through:
Social proof - you can give consumers a more authentic experience by turning reviews into branded social content. By combining text with images and video, you can create powerful visual graphics easily shared across all your marketing platforms.
SEO - as your review count increases, you’ll get a boost to your SEO, as Google crawls this content for relevant keywords relating to your business, products or services.
How believeable is your review score?
Authenticity applies here too. Yes, you want to collect positive reviews, but a perfect 5 star rating is seen as too good to be true.
A lot of consumers filter for 1 star reviews to see what kind of company you really are. They’re looking for signs of how you deal with customer complaints, what kind of issues you regularly encounter, and if they’re resolved effectively.
These less than favourable reviews, when handled right on your end, can actually create more trust than positive reviews that are sparse on detail. So, to give consumers what they’re looking for, you need to embrace the negative.
And on that note…
Are review responses important to the customer?
When reading reviews, consumers aren’t just looking at what people have to say about you - they’re also looking at what you have to say in return. How you respond to both positive and negative reviews says a lot about what your brand stands for, and the level of customer service you provide.
For a positive review, customers won’t necessarily expect a reply, but taking the time to give one shows you don’t take their custom for granted. A simple acknowledgement adds another touchpoint between you, and if you can throw a little brand personality into the mix, all the better.
Negative reviews take more consideration. Never take them to heart and make sure you address whatever issue the customer raises with a courteous response. Use it as an opportunity to show service levels at their best. It’ll give those reading the interaction confidence that you can be trusted.
How To Publish Reviews on Your Website?
Now you know what consumers are looking for, you need to help them to find it.
REVIEWS.io has a comprehensive widget library that makes it easy to integrate reviews on your website, all in line with your brand identity and site design.
What Do Our Widgets Include?
REVIEWS.io widgets allow you to show (or hide if you wish):
The name of the customer that left the review
Any images included as part of the review submission
Your review count (how many reviews you’ve collected)
The date on which the reviews were left
The type of reviews (1 to 5 stars)
Your response to the review
One of our most popular styles is the Product Floating widget. This sits to the side of your product pages, showcasing item specific reviews without changing any other layout on the page.
The Product Floating widget shows star ratings, the name of the customer, their review, and the date on which it was left, with the most recent reviews shown first.
What customers ultimately look for in a review?
Overall, what consumers look for in a review is far more than a star rating stamp of approval. They’re looking for real authenticity, transparency, and engagement on your behalf. Essentially, they’re looking for a vicarious experience of your brand before they embark on their own. Keep that in mind as you plan out your review strategy, and you’ll soon start seeing the rewards.