Word count: 1,072 Reading Level: Year 11-12 Reading time: 3.9 Mins
Today, we have myriads of businesses offering both unique, common products and services. Competition is really stiff and each business is in an arms race, constantly battling to outwit their competitors.
The result? Potential customers are being bombarded and are living in a wash of adverts and offer noise. The typical response from business is to oversell to the point of out right lying. Consequently, as a customer you loose all trust in the offers that are often too good to be true on a daily basis. You are literally overwhelmed, so to maintain your sanity you just switch off and ignore them all. Don't believe us, noticed any TV, print or Billboards lately...do they even exist anymore. What was the last time you really watched TV, without a phone in your face the whole time?
Therefore the name of the game now as a business owner is capturing engagement and trust. Engagement is still the same game as in the era of Print and TV, however the mediums have change to being online. Trust now is being crowd sourced, just like many other things in clients lives online trust is networked or crowd sourced. Not to dissimilar to from real world face to face networks of trust that our Great Generation parents, Grand parents and for some great grand parents had.
In the time of the internets customers look to trusted third party sources for reviews to find trusted services. Research from WordofMouth.com.au says customers are many times over more likely to trust a review on a third party site and follow through with making contact or purchasing from a company with good reviews online. Users are also likely to pay more for certainty of quality from a company with good quality reviews.
What really counts?
The value to user from reviews is calculated on two distinct factors: quality and source. For instance, when you wish to purchase a product you would or you should definitely look into the number of people who have purchased it and the perspective of each of them. There are two kinds of reviews, within the retailer’s website and the ones on external websites, most probably review websites, such as, wordofmouth, yelp, truelocal, google, facebook, oneflare, seekservices, hirepages and industry forums. Studies have shown that customers research from both such sources prior to taking an action. The quality of the reviews also matters a lot; fake reviews most often sound sales-ish or have a lot of stage sales detail. A dead giveaway can be if it mimics copy of their own website. Note: This is not a sure fire tool for assessing truth, I know first hand very happy and long term clients have left a very vague, unverified review for us. This is why an independent website source, with verified reviewers can a better source. One thing I find compelling is the volume of reviews compared to others in the same space. Truly at a certain point some companies become standouts among others and this reflects in their reviews. A large number of reviews is definitely a good sign in my eyes and users eyes.
Additionally, most users find the odd negative review understandable and to be expected. So don't be put off asking for reviews if you have had a couple bad ones. After all some of the biggest and best companies in the world have some shocking reviews. I'd say if you are not getting a little kick back from customers you probably aren't pushing your business hard enough.
Review and conversion rate Statistics
Now, lets look into some of the statistics around the connection between user generated reviews and conversion rates.
As per the reports below, nearly 90% of the consumers rely on online reviews to make a decision to purchase on and offline.
Nearly 70% of the consumers agreed with the statement that positive reviews can improve their trust of a business.
Interestingly, a product with 50 plus reviews is associated with an increase conversion rate of in excess of 4.6%.
It is estimated that reviews can improve sales by more than 18%.
Anatomy of a quality review
A quality review can be easily identified from a fake one or so users feel. Let’s look into some of the traits of a quality user generated review. None of these points are a guarantee of genuineness, as we know, but if their is a pattern combined with forum and other negative reviews and doubt in the eyes of users/customers it will give people pause to not go ahead or not see the value in your business.
So the point of this section is not to be a guide for users. Rather a guide for business owners to keep manage their reviews. Bad quality positive reviews maybe as negative for your business and a really bad review.
A genuine user generated review is normally characterized by a balance of positive and negative feedback. While positive reviews tend to be solely positive, this is a better way to uncover fake negative reviews. You obviously want this type of review removed immediately. Most review companies have a means to appeal, complain or demand a removal.
Excessive small detail, is also often a give away of fakeness. You should also consider removing these. Sometimes a competitor or a click bait farm can leave these to cover their own tracks. Again possible not an issue, but in excess the can be very negative.
Ensure you leave a response to all your reviews. It shows you are engaged and allows you to add further to the content and value of the review. If the review is negative, do not get into an argument. Clearly state your case and leave it at that. If you are in the wrong take ownership and state what you did to fix the issue and what steps you have taken to improve things. This can turn a negative in to a positive, in some cases bringing more conversation that a positive review.
User generated reviews, presented in the best manner are ideal to boosting business sales. It should be considered as part of your marketing plan and a KPI for business growth. Customers are known to show an affinity towards their peers prior to taking the leap to purchase. Moreover, user generated reviews can be an ideal identifier of engagement from the brand to their customers.
Conversionxlcom. (2016, 25 May 2016). How User Generated Reviews Affect Conversion Rates. [Weblog]. Retrieved 17 July 2016, from http://conversionxl.com/user-generated-reviews/