The importance of online customer reviews

Created by Bold Eye Media on January 1, 2020
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the importance of online customer reviews

Are online reviews important?

The fact is, statistics show that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.

Reviews are critical to purchasing decisions. They can be the difference between your business doing okay and doing great, particularly if you’re in a competitive marketplace.

Reviews are also called social proof. Customers use forms of social proof to compare the experiences of people similar to themselves to judge if they would like the product or service. Customer reviews and testimonials are one of the strongest forms of social proof. You only have to look at Amazon to see the difference that great reviews make.

Products with a high number of good quality reviews on Amazon are generating more sales so they are showing up higher in the search algorithm when other people look for that type of product. Same with your Google My Business page. The more positive reviews, the better your search positioning.

” The average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision. ”

– Bright Local

How do you get started with reviews?

It has never been easier to get started with collecting reviews from your customers. Here’s the #1 secret to getting reviews. It’s revolutionary. Are you ready for it?

You ask! That’s right, all you need to do is ask for them.

Whether you have 1,000 new customers each week or you work with just one customer each month, you need to have a streamlined process in place where you are asking your customers for a review after you have delivered your product or service.

The length of time in between the sale and the ask will vary depending on your particular product or service.

For example, if you sell shoes – you’ll want to give your customers an opportunity to have worn them a few times before you ask for a review. Whereas if you’re an emergency locksmith, you can ask for a review much sooner as you’ve performed your service in-person and obtained an immediate result for your customer.

When you’re starting a drive for reviews, remember to never incentivize the process of leaving a review. This practice is discouraged as it results in low-quality reviews and the view that you’re buying reviews. You can, however, run a contest and make leaving a review as one way to get an entry.

Benefits of online reviews

  • Buying Decisions Are Based On Customer Reviews: A recent survey shows that 93% say online reviews do impact their purchasing decisions. That means when a customer reads a positive review, they are significantly more likely to make a purchase.
  • Reviews Boost SEO
  • Reviews Have a Clear Impact on Sales: A Harvard study found that one-star improvement on leads to a boost of 5% to 9% on sales in the short term.
  • Reviews Allow Customers to Start a Conversation With You
  • Constructive Criticism (Reviews) Can Even Help Your Business Become Better Overall

How do you ask for online reviews?

So how do you ask your customers for a review?

The most basic and simple method, which will work well if you serve a limited number of customers, is to send a personal email asking them to review your business.

This could be a request for them to write a written review or testimonial that you will feature on your website, or you could point them towards a specific location such as your Google My Business page, Facebook page, or an online property such as Trustpilot.

For businesses that serve more than a handful of customers each week, it would be too time-consuming to send out a manual email to each customer. This is where an automation process will come in handy.

Email automation is quite simple, especially if you already have an email provider such as ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, Drip, MailerLite, or MailChimp. It’s important to create a new review automation sequence consisting of one or more emails asking for a review. Then, you can add new customers into the sequence in just a few clicks.

Always respond to customer reviews.

Now let’s talk about how you can stand out among your competition. There are two very important words in this world that aren’t always used enough in business – “thank you.”

If you can take the time to thank people for leaving you a review, you help to cement the relationship that you’ve created with your customers and add a human element to the process. When you thank people publicly for their reviews, it also allows prospective customers to see that you care about what your customers think.

You should be responding to negative reviews as well as positive ones. In these instances, you probably won’t be thanking the reviewer. What you will be doing is acknowledging their experience, trying to figure out what went wrong and if there’s a way to fix it, and inviting them back for what hopefully will be a better experience. This shows that your company cares about its customers.

Also, and this may sound weird, but don’t get upset at negative reviews. You WANT some negative reviews. If a business has 100% of its reviews as 5 stars and no one has ever said a bad word about them, it can be a red flag to consumers.

” Among consumers that read reviews, 97% read businesses’ responses to reviews. ”

– Bright Local

Why are negative reviews good?

Reviews are so key to boosting your business that even a negative review has its pros. For one, a negative review affords you the chance to respond. You must, after all, respond to both negative and positive reviews. When you respond, offering your sincere apologies, you show the customer and everybody else on the internet reading the review that you actually care about your customers. You value their business so much that you will apologize in a public forum AND work to right your wrongs. That goes a long way in building trust and confidence in both current and future customers.

How do you respond to negative reviews?

When responding to negative reviews, you should always begin by apologizing. Then, you may want to offer the customer a discount or a free product, like a dessert if you’re a restaurant business. Anything you can do to entice the customer to come back for a second chance. Never get into a fight with an online reviewer. We know things can escalate quickly behind a keyboard, but trust us, apologize and try to make amends, then move on.

How to respond to reviews

There are three recommended methods:

  • Reply to the review – Most review platforms will allow the business owner to reply to reviews. So you, or a member of your team, can take the opportunity to say thank you and follow up with any reviews that are left for your business.
  • Email the customer – If appropriate, you can send an email to the customer that left a review. It’s a great way to say thank you and it allows you to keep a personal touch that specifically talks about the product or service that they purchased.
  • Use a tool like Bonjoro – Now this one is a lot of fun. Bonjoro allows you to record a personal video message via your smartphone, which is then emailed to the recipient. You can use Bonjoro to record a quick 10-30 second thank you message, which is personalized to the user. Can you see how great this would be for your business?

Repurpose reviews to help attract new customers

Repurposing a review gives you a great opportunity to take the comments from your customers and use them to promote your business in other areas. This can be as simple as creating a social media post that showcases the review or as in-depth as using it in your next printed brochure.

It’s worth mentioning that it’s always a smart (and polite) idea to ask your customers if you can share their reviews in other locations, such as your website and social media. You can add a blanket mention of this practice in your initial email to cover your bases.

With that said, let’s run through 5 different ways that you can repurpose the reviews that your customers leave for your business:

  1. Your Website – It’s a great idea to make sure that the reviews you receive for your products or services are featured prominently on your website. This would include your homepage and/or any other relevant pages, e.g. those that talk about your offerings in more detail.
  2. Case Study – One popular way of repurposing reviews is to use this as part of a case study to show the problem that your customer had and how you were able to solve it. Case studies are an excellent way of showing your expertise and the review from your customer serves as the final chapter of the story.
  3. Social Media – Create graphics that feature reviews from your customers and post these on your social media accounts. It’s an easy way to repurpose content and make sure it’s in front of both existing and potential new customers.
  4. Promotional Videos – When you create a promotional video for your business, you can feature reviews from your customers. Even better if you’re able to ask them to be part of your video.
  5. Printed Brochure / Leaflet – For your next brochure or leaflet, leave some space for customer reviews so you can share the thoughts of your customers and why they chose to use your company.

Gatherup Review Widget

Make your business stand out with customer reviews!

Great reviews can massively enhance the reputation of your business and help potential new customers to trust that you’re able to assist them with their needs. They offer new customers social proof of your offerings and help boost your visibility in search engines. If you’re not asking for reviews, today’s a great day to start!






Bold Eye Media was started in Bellingham, WA to help small business reach their goals online by collaborating and reducing their stress along the way. Currently, our main office is located in Ferndale, WA but we serve clients across the United States with our Website Design & Development, SEO, and Digital Marketing Services.

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