Consumers increasingly seek rich, insightful, and updated information when they look for information on maps, search engines, and smart devices.
Today, consumers want information such as “What is the best pizza place open now?” rather than merely being satisfied with “pizza near me.”
Every site and service uses a unique algorithm to answer such questions appropriately. However, they all check reviews to provide the search results. Star ratings are being prominently featured in these results.
Steer Clear of Fake Reviews
With increasing competition for more reviews, some companies have been found selling false reviews, enhancing their own business ratings with fake content, or asking only happy customers for feedback. Such practices destroy consumer confidence in online reviews.
For instance, Amazon is bringing cases against sellers for purchasing fake reviews. In the US, the FTC even levied a fine on a car dealership group for $3.6 million for dishonest practices including fraudulent digital reviews.
Building a Successful Reviews Strategy
Some guidelines to remember while building a reviews strategy are as follows:
Do not copy reviews from another website to your site. Now, Google requires you to generate your own, unique reviews directly from your customers if you want to add stars to your organic search results.
While it may be tempting to copy and markup 5-star reviews from platforms such as Yelp or Facebook so they feature in the search engine results page (SERP), it is a violation of the guidelines instated by Google.
Do not ask only satisfied customers for reviews. This can lead to biased ratings. Rather, to acquire first-party reviews to use on your site, the ideal approach is not to pre-screen your clients prior to seeking a review. If you ask, nearly 70 percent of customers will leave a review!
Moreover, negative feedback from customers can help you identify and address your areas of improvement. In addition, customers tend to mistrust a perfect 5-star rating. Purchase likelihood peaks when the average rating ranges between 4.2 and 4.5 stars.
Do not offer customers incentives to provide reviews. It may seem like a prudent idea to offer customers’ services or coupons for a review, but people can see through this exchange.
Do not use cookie-cutter review responses. In the responses are all similar, the business risks experiencing more harm than advantages. Jay Baer at Convince & Convert elaborates that contrived and tone-deaf responses are equivalent to no response at all. Customers are individuals and should receive unique and relevant responses.
Assessing the Big Picture
Companies usually try to address only the superficial problems ascertained from online reviews. They do not try to understand the cause of the problem. It is important to closely analyze each review to understand which business policy or department is creating to the issue.
Problems with customer service, User Experience (UX) of the business site, online presence, the products and services themselves, or another area can adversely impact your profitability. Addressing the issues pointed out in reviews will require your operation to work comprehensively to devise solutions and enhance the big picture.