Imagine that you’d seen a star rating of this article before you decided to check it out: 156 readers gave it an average rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars. Would you have bothered to click? How about if its rating was 4.2 out of 5? Or 4.9?
Customer reviews can make a world of difference to a company’s brand perception and, ultimately, its bottom line. In this article, we’ll look at which review platform is most relevant to your business, and how to cultivate positive feedback to boost sales and customer satisfaction.
Finding the right review platform for your business
The simple answer is: wherever your customers leave public feedback on their experience. However, there are dozens of review sites, each with its own culture and industry focus. Step one is deciding which is the most relevant and if you can build a large number of positive reviews, most beneficial to your specific business.
Google Reviews can have a powerful effect on customer decisions, as they’re integrated into a familiar environment (next to maps and search results) that they trust to give them important information on any given topic.
Google Reviews are particularly useful if your business has a physical presence and targets local customers. You need a Google My Business account before you can collect reviews, and customers need a Google Account to leave feedback.
Facebook recommendations are valuable if your product or service is community-led and relies heavily on word-of-mouth-style endorsements (e.g. petsitting, catering, independent stores, and suppliers). That’s because recommendations from your potential customers’ closest friends are shown to them first.
Whereas users once gave a star rating, they now choose to endorse you using a "Yes or No" option, along with an option to comments. According to data shared by Facebook, one in three users use the platform to look for recommendations and reviews.
Trustpilot attracts almost one million new reviews each month. It prides itself on its trust mark and has published independent research that shows 87% of consumers find advertising more trustworthy when they have the Trustpilot logo and stars.
Trustpilot is used across a wide variety of sectors, including B2B and service-based companies. It offers widgets, social sharing, and split-testing tools to turn your reviews into effective marketing tools.
Niche review sites
There are also dedicated review platforms designed for specialised products and services. For instance:
- Travel - Airbnb, Booking.com, Hotels.com
- Cleaning - UK Cleaning Company
- Trades - MyBuilder
- Food, drink, and experiences - TripAdvisor
Search for your industry and "reviews" to unearth sites that your target audience visits in the research phase of their customer journey. You can also search for a competitor with "reviews" to see where customers review similar products or services.
When you advertise a role hoping to attract the best talent, what do candidates see?
Your Glassdoor rating can make a big difference in how future hires perceive your company’s culture, mission, and benefits. 84% of job seekers said that a company’s reputation was important when deciding where to apply for a job (and half prefer finding job opportunities on online job sites, such as Glassdoor).
How to improve brand perception through customer reviews
- Select the most relevant review sites for your business based on your product or service, competitor research, and current customer behaviour.
- Make it as easy as possible for customers to leave reviews. Use embedded badges and widgets, request reviews by email, and, if applicable, directly ask stand-out clients if they’d mind reviewing you.
- Pump up your numbers. Don’t slow down after achieving a handful of four or five-star reviews. Research by Brightpearl showed that to trust a retailer, shoppers expect to see at least 30 positive reviews.
- Incentivise customer feedback. Your customers’ time is valuable, so give them a good reason to leave a review by offering discounts, coupons, or entrance into a competition for a bigger prize.
- Ask for a review at the right time. Seeking a review too early or too late can confuse or annoy customers. Give them enough time to have tried your product, but not so long that they’ve forgotten how great it was.
- Be an active participant. 76% of shoppers expect brands to respond to reviews. Reply to as many reviews as possible, including negative ones, to show you care about customers’ opinions. Google may even reward your business listing with better rankings if you actively manage and respond to reviews.