Online reviews have become a key factor in consumers’ buying decisions. Research shows that 72% of shoppers find online reviews when researching a purchase, and nearly half (48%) say an ideal review is the most important piece of information before buying something new.
With just a few clicks, customers can leave an online review for almost any business or product they encounter online. The good news is that this trend has led to greater transparency about how people feel about various businesses and their products. The bad news is that there are many ways these reviews can be manipulated to mislead potential customers.
Trustworthy reviews are especially important given the prevalence of fake and incentivized reviews that we’ve seen in some industries like hotels and restaurants. Even if you don’t see it as directly applicable to your business, keeping your online reviews trustworthy will help build trust with your existing customers as well as future customers.
Why Are Online Reviews Becoming More Important?
Online reviews have been part of the buying landscape for a long time. However, the rise of social media has led to an increase in sharing that can enable reviews to become viral. This can be both good and bad in terms of their impact on the buying decision.
On one hand, it can lead more people to leave reviews after every purchase. This can be particularly true when people are disappointed with the product or service, which is helpful to other consumers. On the other hand, some consumers may take advantage of the ease of sharing to leave a review any time they have an emotional reaction to a purchase.
This can be done to punish a company, regardless of whether they are justified in the action.
Benefits Of Trustworthy Reviews
Attract More Customers
You can also try to attract more customers by reaching out to the people writing negative reviews. This is called “canceling the review”, and it can be an effective way to turn a negative review into a positive one. Another option is to invite the reviewer to write a new review.
While canceling a review or inviting the reviewer to write a new review won’t change the original review, it can help you make a positive impact on the reviewer, which may lead them to purchase in the future.
Improve Brand Equity
Reviews can help you build brand equity by showing your audience that you care about their experience with your business. This is especially important for B2-B companies, as most B2Bs operate on a more direct sales model.
B2Bs are much more heavily reliant on word of mouth than B2Cs, which means that building brand equity is even more important.
Reviews can also increase your revenue by bringing in new customers. You can boost your review volume by inviting your current customers to leave a review. You can also use review-generation campaigns, like email drip campaigns or pop-up campaigns, to ask customers to leave a review.
Lead To Earned Media
Reviews can lead to earned media, meaning that people other than your customers will see your reviews and bring them to the attention of their audiences.
This is especially likely to happen if you have high-quality reviews on reputable sites like Google or Amazon. Journalists and bloggers may even reach out to those who wrote the reviews to get more information about the product.
Fight Off Negative Reviews
Finally, you can also try to fight off negative reviews. You can do this by reaching out to the person who left the review and following up to see if there is anything you can do to help.
If the review is based on a genuine problem, try to fix it as quickly as possible. While this alone may not be enough to get the review removed, it can help you build trust with your customers.
How Do You Build Trust Through Your Brand?
Building trust through your brand is paramount to online reviews being trustworthy. Consumers will not leave reviews unless they’re completely satisfied with their experience, so the onus is on you to create an experience where they don’t have any reason to leave a negative review.
- Make sure your product or service is high quality. If it’s not, you won’t see any reviews.
- Make sure your customer service is exceptional. This will not only solve problems for customers, but it can also turn dissatisfied customers into satisfied customers who are likely to leave a positive reviews.
- Make sure you’re visible on review sites and social media. This is how most people find reviews, so you need to be where consumers are looking.
5 Signs Of A Trustworthy Review
- The review is from someone who has purchased your product or service.
- It is from someone who has used your service for an extended period.
- It comes from a verified purchase. This means the review is linked to a verified account, like Facebook or Google.
- It is written in a balanced and thoughtful manner.
- It is free of any language that could be considered inflammatory.
Why Are Fake Reviews So Prevalent?
Consumers leave reviews for a variety of reasons, but money is probably the most common. Many consumers are willing to write a positive review in return for a small cash reward.
Some business owners feel pressure to solicit positive reviews from their customers. While it’s OK to ask customers to leave you an honest review, pressuring them to do so can have a negative impact.
Not all consumers know that they’re engaging in fraudulent activity when they leave a fake review.
How To Handle Fake Reviews
The first step in handling fake reviews is to identify them. You can do this by monitoring online reviews, including negative reviews, and looking for signs of fake reviews. If you find a fake review, you can report it to the review site so that it can be removed.
You can also send a private message to the person who left the review asking them to retract it. If you find a fake review on your business that you didn’t leave, there are a few things you can do.
First, you can try to get the review removed. Second, you can respond to the review with a public statement explaining why the review is false. And finally, you can try to identify who left the fake review and reach out to them privately to try and get them to remove the review.
Online reviews have become an indispensable part of the modern shopping experience. When customers review the products or services they’ve purchased, they not only help you improve your business by providing valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses, but they also make online shopping a safer, more pleasant experience for everyone.
That being said, not all online reviews can be trusted. These days, online review fraud is incredibly common. To combat this, you should make sure your business is always meeting customers’ expectations, and that they are leaving positive reviews.
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