Online public review platforms are now very common, popular and easily accessible. They are subsequently found by customers in practically any market place. The reviews offer a very public place for customers to share their thoughts about a product or service. And even add an extra decibel to their voice.
We are now at a place where the frequent use of social media to interact with corporations is the norm. This adds value to the platform with the exposure that customers are able to offer. In a digital age, word travels very fast.
Pro’s and Con’s of Third Party Review Sites
But what are the positives and negatives of companies making themselves readily available on customer review type sites? Is it right option for everyone? So let’s start from the top…
In highly competitive markets; it is becoming more and more difficult to build a credible brand. A brand that customers can relate to, connect and trust. Consumers are constantly bombarded by messages and visuals. Creating a population of smart and savvy consumers who may not be susceptible to old marketing tricks. Hosting customer reviews is a great way to bring credibility to your website. It must be set up and managed correctly. Otherwise, it could bring damage to companies. It certainly needs thoughts and planning behind it.
A reliable source seen, shows up to 30% of customers use online review(s) as their primary source of information and reinforcement. Before ultimately make the buying decision. Inviting reviews is great way of leading users away from the competition. Ensuring they visit you instead! Also from the hosting company’s perspective, it’s a great way to initiate conversation.
Interestingly, sources show that 68% of users trust a company’s credentials more if they see both positive and negative reviews shown. 30% suspect reviews to be fabricated if they see no negative reviews. It goes to show that even with overwhelmingly positive comments, users can still possess a degree of scepticism.
The concept of using and managing a review tool is not necessarily a quick route to success per se. The content must be accurate, up to date and even relevant to the hosting company. If not then there isn’t much value in the function. If the review function isn’t managed well, then it can lead to a PR issue. The subsequent response can be an unnecessary and avoidable task.
It’s worth being mindful, that a user will often be more receptive and keen to comment on your company, if they aren’t happy with an aspect. This is where you will want to reiterate the ethos of managing expectations.
How to Respond to Customer Reviews
So what if a customer does experience or have an issue? Then you will need to be ready to respond immediately. This is what the other users will expect a company to do, and of course the specific user will want to hear back so the issue can be resolved.
Ultimately from a company’s point of view; running a review facility provides another tool to personalizing the company, and bringing a more interpersonal approach to the customer. In the long run, online word of mouth and customer reviews can help you gain trust, build the brand equity (see previous blog entry) and add credibility to the proposition that is being sold.
To utilize the tool to ensure its most effective, it’s beneficial to strategize the use of it and ask yourself how can this information and data collected, be used to make a positive difference to the company. Just be sure to listen to what your customers are saying!
This post was written by Chris Beck