When you’re just starting or trying to get more visibility for your business, online reviews may seem like the perfect solution. They can provide a much-needed boost in visibility, and with Google continuing to place increased emphasis on the trustworthiness of search results, any business that has an active online presence is going to stand a fair chance of getting found.
In short: yes, it’s a great way to get your foot into the door of potential customers. But are you ready for everything that comes with it? If you’re reading this article right now, then you most likely have an eCommerce business that sells products and services directly to customers without the need for retailers as resellers or distributors.
You also have a good idea of who your ideal customer is and what they’ll be willing to spend on your product lines. So let’s talk about five things you need to consider before trusting online reviews for your business.
1. Know Your Audience
The first thing you should do before trusting online reviews is to take a step back and see if you know who your potential customers are. Businesses with an online presence certainly exist, but most of them are geared toward specific industries or audiences.
What’s more, the majority of these businesses have a more limited reach than more traditional types of enterprises like eCommerce retailers. There’s a reason for this: while consumers are much more willing to trust online reviews, they’re also much less likely to shop at these types of businesses.
That means that while they may trust the reviews they read, they’re going to be much less likely to visit your storefront.
2. Build a Community
The next thing you need to realize is that the people who leave the reviews aren’t the only ones who deserve to be heard. Customers also have a voice, and if you want to get a better sense of what your ideal clientele is like and what they’d be willing to spend money on, you need to listen to them as well.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating a genuine community around quality reviews. The best way to do this is to start by creating a forum or Q&A section where customers can post questions and interact with one another in a structured environment.
From there, you can use various techniques like peer-to-peer review sharing, peer-to-peer curation, and other factors to help create a sense of community around the reviews you post.
3. Look for Commonalities In the Reviews
One of the best ways to see if the reviews you’re trusting are worth trusting is by looking for commonalities in the reviews you hear about. This may be the most obvious thing to do, but it’s also one of the most important.
If you’re getting reviews from just one or two places, then how can you be sure that they even reflect the general feeling of your audience? The best way to do this is by looking for patterns and commonalities in the reviews you hear about.
The easiest way to do this is by using clustering and other methods to group reviews based on the topics they cover.
4. Beware of Bogus Reviewers
Another thing you need to keep in mind when trusting online reviews is that not every customer who writes a review is happy with their experience. With so many opportunities to write a review, some reviews are inevitably going to be less than genuine.
This may mean that they’re just venting their frustration with the product or service they received, or it may mean that they purposefully gave you a bad review just because they didn’t want to spend their money with you. The best way to see if this is the case is by looking for reviews that sound too fake, too angry, or too much like someone just trying to lash out at a competitor.
5. Don’t Forget About Trust-Building
Now, if you want to make sure that the reviews you’re trusting are worth trusting, you need to make sure that you’re also building trust with your customers. The best way to do this is by taking an active role in the trust-building strategies mentioned above.
The best way to do this is to create a structured environment surrounding the reviews you post and make sure that the community you’re building around them is genuine. You can also use various trust-building strategies to help mitigate the risk of customers posting fake reviews.
One of the best ways to do this is to use both human and machine-learning aspects of filtering to help identify fake reviews and make sure that your customers can’t game the system.
Customers May Also Have Trust issues
Even though you have worked very hard to earn a customer’s trust, don’t assume that they’re going to continue trusting you once they receive the product. Despite your best efforts to ensure that the products you ship to your customers are of the highest quality, there’s always the chance that they might arrive damaged or not at all.
Customers might be willing to overlook minor issues with the product if they trust you enough to exchange it for another one, but if they feel deceived or taken advantage of then you may have just lost a sale.
Factors That Can Diminish Customer Trust
Several factors can diminish your customer’s trust in online reviews. These include:
What’s the best way to maintain trust in your online reviews? With negative reviews. A business owner can get upset when reading a negative review, but the correct response is to learn from it, not let it knock you off your game, and assume that you’re a bad business because of it.
Negative reviews are an important part of online reviews because they can help you identify any potential issues with your product or service that can then be addressed before they grow into larger problems.
Fake Online Reviews
Online reviews can be very beneficial, but they can also be completely faked. This may sound a little far-fetched, but it’s something that many scammers are now taking advantage of.
Often, a business owner will hire a service to create fake online reviews for them, and this practice is definitely on the rise. The best way to avoid being deceived is to only work with reliable and trusted online reputation management services.
Data Privacy Concerns
Online review sites are often powered by software that can be used to gather information such as a customer’s email address and IP address. This information can be used to create detailed profiles of your customers, which can then be sold or traded to other businesses through a data brokerage service.
Lack of Personal Interaction
Online reviews can also be flawed since they don’t include a personal touch. While this isn’t a huge issue for most businesses, it’s a significant factor for new and smaller eCommerce companies, which may struggle to find time to meet every single customer in person.
Online reviews are great for getting your business out there, but they’re not the only thing that you need to worry about. You don’t even need to trust all of the reviews you see. You just need to make sure that the ones you trust are worth trusting.
With that in mind, make sure that you know who your potential customers are, build a community around quality reviews, look for commonalities in the reviews you hear about, beware of bogus or shady reviewers, and don’t forget about trust-building strategies like human and machine-learning filtering.
If you do these things, then you’ll be well on your way to trusting online reviews for your business and getting the visibility you need from them.