Online reviews continue to grow in importance and usage. According to a recent survey, 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when buying services or products. When it comes to your business, this is both good and bad news. 

The good news is that you have the opportunity to leverage online reviews to drive more customers and get more sales. The bad news is that negative reviews can cost you, new customers, especially if they are unfair or inaccurate. If you operate a business that offers services or products directly to consumers, then you need to understand how online reviews work and how they affect your business. 

This blog post will give you everything you need to know about the pros and cons of online reviews and some tips on how to leverage them for your company’s benefit.

What Are Online Reviews?

Online reviews are written (or sometimes video) testimonials that people leave on your website, product, or service after they’ve used your product or experienced your service. Every online business has the potential to generate online reviews, but certain types of businesses are more likely to get them than others.

The first step to getting online reviews is to encourage your customers to leave them. The best way to do this is to make it extremely easy for them to do so by adding a “Reviews” or “Leave a Review” button on your website. 

Most eCommerce sites already have a section for reviews, but if yours does not, there are plenty of plug-ins that you can use to add reviews to your site.

Different Types of Online Reviews

Let’s take a look at the various types of online reviews that you might find on your company’s website.

Customer Testimonials

These are written or video reviews that previous customers have left about your company and its products or services. You can encourage your customers to leave these by including a “Review this Product” or “Leave a Testimonial” button on your website.

Customer Service Reviews

These reviews focus on how your company’s staff handled customer issues, complaints, or concerns. You can encourage your customers to leave these reviews by including a “Leave a Customer Service Review” button on your website.

Brand Reputation Reviews

These reviews focus on the reputation of your company and its products or services, regardless of individual customer experiences. You can encourage your customers to leave these reviews by including a “Rate this Brand” or “Rate this Company” button on your website.

Competitive Reviews

These are reviews that compare your products or services with those of your competitors. You can encourage your customers to leave these reviews by including a “Compare our Products” or “Rate our Services” button on your website.

Benefits of Online Reviews

Easy for Customers to Find

Whether or not you actively encourage your customers to leave reviews, a portion of them will do so anyway. The best part about this is that it’s incredibly easy for new customers to find them. All they have to do is type your company name into Google, Bing, or any of the other search engines and they’ll see reviews at the top of the page in the SERPs.

Can Increase Sales

According to a survey, more than 50% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company with online reviews. A high number of positive reviews can help you attract more customers, while low or negative reviews can drive them away.

Provide Social Proof

When customers read positive reviews about your brand, product, or service, it gives them a sense of trust and security in your company. There’s nothing more reassuring for customers than seeing other people who have done business with you say that it was a positive experience.

Offer a Chance to Correct Problems

If you have negative reviews, there may be something you can do to correct the situation. If a customer has left a negative review, they are required to include their name, reviews, and further information about the experience, so you can reach out to them and try to fix the problem.

Strengthen Brand Identity

Having a strong brand identity is essential in today’s business world and online reviews are a huge part of that.

Downsides of Online Reviews

Some People Might Leave False Reviews

With online reviews, as with anything else on the internet, there are a few issues to be aware of. One that you may encounter is false reviews. People sometimes leave false reviews either to help a company out or to hurt another company. Some people create fake accounts on review platforms (like Yelp or Google) to leave fake reviews.

Some People Might Be Dishonest

In addition to false reviews, you may run into a few dishonest reviews. While most people would never lie in an official review, there are a few people who may not tell the truth.

Reviewers May Be Biased

In addition to the above issues, some people may be biased in their reviews. If a customer leaves a review for a company but has a bias towards or against that company, their review may not be trustworthy.

Reviews May Be Outdated

This is the major problem with online reviews. While they can be helpful in the short term, they can hurt your business in the long term if they are old or outdated.

Reviews May Be Biased

In addition to the above issues, some people may be biased in their reviews. If a customer leaves a review for a company but has a bias towards or against that company, their review may not be trustworthy.

Reviews May Be Littered With Typos

Unfortunately, some people don’t know how to write well. If a customer leaves a review that is filled with typos or grammatical errors, other customers may not trust the review.

Reviews May Contain Spoilers

Do you remember when someone published the ending of the Sixth Sense on the Internet almost a year before the movie came out? That’s the type of spoiler that you can run into on your website if someone leaves a review that reveals the entire story.

Can I trust Online Reviews?

There have been some studies done that have found that as many as 10% of online reviews may be false or fake. If you only read the positive reviews, you might get a false sense of security about a company and its products and services. 

At the same time, you may miss out on the potential business that you could have had if you could have addressed the problems that those negative reviews highlighted.

You can’t just skim over the reviews as you might with a newspaper article. You need to read them carefully and try to look for any signs that they may not be legitimate. If you see anything that makes you suspicious, you should reach out to the reviewer and ask them if they were a real customer. If they weren’t, you should try to get their review removed.

How to Spot a Fake Online Review?

There are a few ways that you can tell if a review is fake or not. If the reviewer has a different name than the person who posted the review, there’s a good chance that it is false. While a person can have a different name than the one they were given at birth, it’s not very common.

If the review is very complimentary toward the business and there are no other details or problems that the reviewer has mentioned, there’s a good chance that it is false. If the same review is found on multiple websites, you’re more likely dealing with a fake review.

You can fight back against fake reviews by encouraging your customers to leave honest reviews and by responding quickly to negative reviews to try to fix any problems.

How to Leverage Online Reviews for Your Business?

As we’ve discussed, online reviews are an essential part of your online marketing strategy. The more online reviews you have, the more they will help your business succeed.

However, if you want to get more reviews, you have to ask for them. It’s easy to ask for online reviews. You can put a review button on your website or you can use an automated service like Yotpo that allows you to send an email to your customers and ask them to leave a review.

There are a few ways that you can encourage customers to leave reviews. You can include a review button on your order confirmation page, your packing slip, and your email receipts. You can also include a call-to-action at the end of your emails and on your social media posts.

Final Words

Reviews are an important part of the decision-making process for consumers, but they aren’t perfect. While reviews can provide useful information, you need to be vigilant about spotting fake reviews and responding to them appropriately. 

When it comes to reviews, you need to be responsible and handle them correctly. Consumers expect businesses to respond to reviews, and if you don’t, you will quickly lose customers. When you respond to reviews, be sure to address both positive and negative reviews and take action against any fake reviews. 

By leveraging reviews responsibly, you can gain more customers and increase your conversion rate.

Articles You Might Want To Read:

5 Ways How Online Reviews Help Businesses Grow

The 6 Biggest Problems With Online Reviews And How To Fix Them

The Value of Online Reviews: A New Perspective