the-importance-of-an-effective-review-management-workflow

Whether it’s finding accommodation, booking a restaurant, choosing a new car or upgrading software for your business, reviews will impact your purchase decision.

Indeed, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, which will have a huge impact on website conversion rates. It’s therefore vital that marketers know how to harness usergenerated reviews to their advantage through a proactive review management workflow.

Customers are reading your reviews – don’t ignore them

With the rise of social networks and online review platforms, customers are now more informed than ever before on brands and what others are saying about them. There’s now a plethora of information available to users conducting a quick Google search for “[A BRAND] reviews” which will impact their decision to either get in touch or make a purchase.

Third-party review websites covering various topics are businesses in themselves. Trustpilot, HomeAdvisor, Feefo, Yelp and many more review aggregators make money from businesses who pay a small fee to actively manage what customers are saying about them online. Add to this the fact that most online stores feature customer reviews of any given product and you start to appreciate the impact they can have on customer trust and website conversion rates.

Indeed, 93% of customers are now using reviews to assess the quality of local businesses (BrightLocal), while 72% of customers reportedly don’t take action until they’ve read reviews of a product or service (Testimonial Engine). Instead of leaving review management to your customer service team, reviews should be treated as a marketing conversion lever and managed accordingly.

How then can you keep tabs on what users are saying about your business? All companies are to a certain extent at the mercy of third-party review management sites, so it’s important to monitor and manage this process as best you can. Not forgetting the techniques you can employ on your own web properties to boost trust in your brand through displaying testimonials, client logos and so on.

Create a proactive review management workflow

The review economy relies on consumers willingly sharing their experiences. For customers to write reviews, we need to understand why any consumer would take the time to provide their thoughts on the experience they had with a product or service.

Most reviews are triggered by exceptionally positive or negative customer experiences. These customers will look for a place to share their experiences if they’re not addressed by the company in question to their satisfaction.

Oftentimes, customers just need a gentle push to leave a review. According to BrightLocal, 68% of customers have reportedly left a local business review after being asked to do so. Power Reviews finds approximately 80% of reviews originate from email requests for customer reviews.

Proactively requesting reviews is one way of negating the risk of negative reviews happening in the first place while at the same time encouraging positive customer reviews.

As an example, the following review management workflow could be used to funnel customers into a post-sale or service first-party review process. This means you manage the collection of the ratings as a first step, enabling you to funnel negative customer experiences directly to your customer service team, and encourage customers who have left favorable ratings to go online and spread the word.

alerts is a free tool used to monitor a selection of keywords, which in this case (review and reputation monitoring) would be your brand name.

While it’s not as refined as many paid for reputation management tools, it’s another costeffective method of keeping on top of what people are saying about your brand online.

Review Trackers) and your lack of response could have a negative impact on your brand perception, especially on social media.

Sign up to review platforms

As the volume of dedicated review platforms expands, it’s important that you claim and maintain a presence on each of the major platforms in your location and niche.

Major platforms such as Yelp and Google My Business are necessary for all types of businesses and should be claimed and updated as a basic first step for all business owners.

You’ll notice that Google My Business dominates the review landscape for the vast majority of navigational and local queries on Google. Just type your brand and a local keyword into Google and you’ll almost always see Google My Business listings (the “local pack”) complete with reviews returned first.

trust signal that you should utilise wherever possible on your website to boost your conversion rate, and there are a number of different review formats you can utilise to do this:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Service specific reviews
  • Product specific reviews
  • Third-party reviews and ratings

Don’t forget that 73% of consumers have more trust in a local business after seeing positive reviews, so don’t just rely on off-site reviews, ensure that potential customers have visibility of your reviews directly while browsing your site.

Responding to negative reviews

However well you manage your reviews, inevitably a few poor reviews will make it into the public domain. But don’t fear, the important part is how you respond and manage to them.

Responding to reviews gives the perception that you really care about your customers, and you should be prepared to not only thank customers for their positive reviews, but respond publicly to negative reviews in a proactive manner.

If you’re wondering how to respond to negative reviews, it depends a lot on the severity and nature of the review, but there are some guiding principles:

  1. Never be confrontational
  2. Address the root cause of the issue (listen to what your customers are saying!)
  3. Always respond and apologize
  4. Offer to make things right
  5. Say thanks
  6. Respond in a timely fashion

Conclusion

If you weren’t proactively managing your reviews before reading this post, hopefully some of these stats have changed your mind.

No matter what else you do to attract customers to your website or how much money you spend on advertising, customer reviews will play a role in your customers decision making process, so ignore them at your peril!


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.



About The Author

Hallam. Ben specializes in SEO, paid search and web analytics. In his spare time, Ben is an experienced ice hockey player, currently representing the Nottingham Lions in the English National League.




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