When building your online review presence, it’s easy to focus on your star rating, how many reviews you have, or how often you have reviews coming in. All of those things are important and have an impact on whether your business is found and considered. But if you want customers to choose your business, you should place more emphasis on online review content.
Consumers crave social proof
Consumers want to know they’re making the right decision. It is frustrating for them when experiences don’t match up with expectations.They’re looking for social proof that they made the correct choice. For those unfamiliar with what social proof is, it’s the psychological phenomenon where individuals look to the actions of others to justify their behavior in a given situation.
One of the most powerful forms of social proof is online reviews. The content of an online review can have a significant impact on purchase decisions (as we will discuss later in this post). However, the power to convince is amplified considerably if the review includes pictures.
When looking for social proof, customers want to read reviews that show, in-depth, what the experience is going to be like. To accomplish this, businesses need to ask for feedback on areas they would like to improve. This will help your customers gather their thoughts, which often results in authentic reviews that build trust with potential customers.
Content is king
According to a recent survey of 2,005 consumers conducted by Podium, the content of a review was cited as the most influential factor that determines whether or not a consumer would engage with a business.
One reason many businesses neglect review content is it can be hard to measure its effectiveness. You can see what your star rating is. You can see how many reviews you have coming in and how often, but at first glance, it’s not as apparent how good or how authentic your review content is.
Just because it’s harder, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put the effort in. That is because online review content does more than move businesses into the consideration phase. Online review content can push consumers into making a decision. In fact, 82 percent of those surveyed also indicated that the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase.
The key to improving the quality of feedback is by engaging in meaningful interactions with your customers. Don’t just ask them to leave a review. Ask them how the service was and what you can do to improve. But if you’re going to ask for that level of feedback, make sure you’re using that input to gain valuable insights that can improve the customer experience.
Online review content also gives consumers a transparent view into how your business operates. As important as traditional marketing is at getting a customer’s attention, for the most part, it isn’t going to be what convinces them to do business with you. What will convince them are their peers telling them whether or not your business will offer them a good experience.
Robert Craven, CEO of MegaFood, notes in an article on Entrepreneur.com that transparency isn’t just about owning up to a mistake when you’ve done something wrong. It’s about being open and honest at all times. That’s how you can build trust and loyalty from consumers. To achieve transparency, businesses should actively encourage customers to post authentic feedback publicly.
Learn More About Online Review Content
Download the Podium 2017 State of Online Reviews to gain a better understanding of how today’s consumer is interacting with online reviews. The report will give you insight into why customers leave reviews, which online review sites are most important, and how online reviews impact the customer journey.