When you start collecting Google reviews for your business, it’s not always clear what you should be focusing on. Should you emphasize the quality of review and only ask your happiest customers or should you focus on collecting as many reviews as possible? Are reviews that happen organically better than ones you have asked for?
To help you decide, we’re going to channel our inner Ted Mosby and make a pros and cons list.
Quality vs. Quantity
Quality: Whether subconsciously or consciously customers want to be associated with the best, but if your business only has five-star reviews they might think you are trying to game the system and could be on guard. That’s why instead of focusing specifically on loading your online review sites with five-star reviews, you should focus instead on delivering a stellar customer experience.
If you are focusing on customer experience, then the quality of reviews should take care of themselves. Customers rely on reviews to let them know what it’s like to do business with you. That’s why it is important that your reviews are representative of that experience. If it isn’t, then consumers could lose faith in the accuracy of online reviews.
Quantity: But people don’t JUST want to be associated with the best of the best, they also want to be associated with what is popular. And one way they can determine the popularity of a business is by the number of reviews. When I’m in a new town looking for a place to eat, I would be much more inclined to eat at a restaurant with a large number of reviews and a lower rating than a more highly-rated restaurant with fewer reviews. My reasoning is that place is more popular and has been vetted by more people so the rating is less likely to be skewed one way or the other.
Consumers want to see more than just a star rating when making important decisions like choosing a doctor or buying a car. They want to be able to dig deep and find out specifics of what the experience is like, and that’s not something you would necessarily be able to discern from a star rating. Businesses with more reviews will be able to provide potential customers with more validation that they are making the right decision.
Verdict: Deciding between quality and quantity of reviews is akin to deciding which of your children is your favorite. You probably have a preference but it’s probably best not to choose. I know that sounds like a cop out, but because both are so important, you should focus on collecting a large number of high-quality reviews.
Organic vs. Proactive
Organic: The biggest knock on letting online reviews trickle in organically is it takes the control out of your hands. Oftentimes only your most happy or most upset customers will take the time without any prompting to leave a review. This will result in an inaccurate depiction of your business, which could result in a loss of trust in online reviews in general.
Additionally, if your business only receives online reviews erratically it will be hard for customers to determine whether or not the service you provide is consistent. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 44 percent of respondents say the don’t trust reviews that are older than one month. So even if you have a lot of reviews on sites like Google and Facebook, if they aren’t current they aren’t as valuable as you might think.
Proactive: Proactively inviting your customers to review your business by using an online review management platform like the one offered by Podium is an excellent way to ensure your business is not only receiving the high-quality reviews it deserves but is also receiving them on a regular basis.
Verdict: If you want to have more control over your online reputation and what your customers are saying about you online, we suggest proactively inviting your customers to review your business. This will make sure you are getting valuable feedback that will help you improve your business as well as providing customers the information about your business they need to make an educated decision.
Feedback vs. Star Rating
Feedback: We’ve gone into great detail about the value having a high star rating can have on a business, but one of the most valuable assets a business can derive from online reviews is the actual feedback it receives from its customers. Having the ability to track feedback in real time will give your business a huge advantage. It allows you to identify processes that aren’t working and improve them, while also reinforcing successful processes.
Online reviews can also act as a good motivational tool for your employees. Everyone likes to get praised for doing a good job, and if your employees know they are going to ask the customer for a review after helping them, they will be more focused on delivering a good experience to avoid negative feedback.
Verdict: While star ratings can help with your online reputation, having real-time feedback will do more good for your business in the long run.
Keep in mind that these are just suggestions. Because every business is different, it will be up to you to decide what the main goals and focus of your online review program will be.
Let Podium Help Secure Google Reviews for Business
Watch a demo to see how Podium’s cloud-based solution can help your business use text messages to invite your happiest customers to review your business. Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help your business collect 15x more reviews than traditional platforms, which in turn will improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.