Social media has seen phenomenal growth in the last year and is now playing a significant role in consumers’ purchasing decisions.
A recent Nielsen study focusing on the Asia Pacific area found that online product reviews are the third most trusted source of information when making purchase decisions, behind family and friends.
Given that users tend to trust other users’ opinions, enabling existing customers to review your products and services is a great way to establish trust with potential new customers. Direct customer feedback is a valuable tool for assessing the performance of your staff, and gives insight into how your business is perceived. Any concerns can be quickly identified and factors that are impeding the growth of your business dealt with.
Businesses can sometimes be reluctant to take advantage of the benefits of user ratings and reviews for the fear of receiving a negative comment. Research has shown feedback that follows a legitimate trend towards the negative can be used as a research tool to improve your business and identify the areas that need your attention.
User reviews are also a great way to drive people to your business. Increasingly is it user generated content that shows up in Internet search results. The more content that exists online about your business, and the more unique that content is, the more chance you have of being found online.
In exchange for giving customers a forum to share their product experience (positive or negative) you benefit from unbiased “voice of the customer” feedback that will enable you to provide better solutions and experiences for your customers.
According to Forrester research, internet shoppers rank reviews as the most desired feature of a website, and 71% of online shoppers read reviews, which makes them the most widely read of all consumer generated content.
Consumer reviews have the added benefit of attracting former clients back to your business; customers who post positive reviews are more likely to use your services and products again. By encouraging satisfied customers to post positive reviews the need to market your business via more traditional methods is reduced, saving both time and money.
Remember that consumers do not just purchase products anymore… they sell them too.
Reviewing products and services is a fun and easy way to talk about local businesses. Participating in open discussions about your products and services shows transparency and builds credibility and trust with potential customers, and can turn complainants into brand advocates simply based on the way you handle the issue.
A company that can be humble and listen to customer feedback and respond appropriately will ultimately provide a better service, which in turn will translate into glowing reviews.