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Jon Munnery

Customer Care

Get Consumer Reviews Under Your Control

You can influence where prospective customers get information

Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 13:01

When choosing to spend money, customers will likely investigate the brand behind the name to get an idea of whom they’re building ties with as well as an impression of service quality. Customer reviews must point to a genuine interaction with the company to be valuable and influence purchasing decisions, and businesses must play an active role in driving and maintaining reviews to sell their services or products.

Countless customer reviews, both verified and unverified, can be found across the web, so potential buyers need direction. Where can they turn for feedback about a product or service, and why is maintaining reviews beneficial for a business?

How prospective customers source feedback

The beauty of customer reviews is that they can be found everywhere online and offline, from traditional directory reviews, forum comments, and social media mentions to word of mouth. As such, businesses must actively invite customers to leave a review on their preferred platform, such as Trustpilot, Feefo, Reviews.io, Google, or Facebook.

This way, businesses that sell products and services can control where prospective customers get their information. For example, the Trustpilot business profile is actively managed, comments receive replies, and reviewers post regularly. You’ll want to push potential customers in this direction to judge your brand’s worth.

Here are some platforms that businesses must consider when inviting customers for reviews.

Review platforms
Dedicated review platforms such as Trustpilot, Feefo, and Reviews.io standardize the way businesses invite customers to leave a review. They provide features such as star ratings, comments, replies, and rankings to help businesses open a conversation with satisfied and unsatisfied customers.

Businesses can use these reviews by incorporating them into their website and advertising campaigns. Name-dropping the review platform on a sales call can help push prospective customers down the sales funnel and secure a sale. This improves customer experience and creates a strong impression of your brand from the first interaction.

Online directories, such as Yell or Yelp, have reviews for all types of businesses, including contractors. So, no matter how small or large the business, customers can leave a review recommending or criticizing a service.

Although dedicated directories like these often attract less traffic than the likes of Google My Business, it’s worthwhile tracking your ratings because these will appear when a customer searches for your business. Positive reviews on more than one review platform or directory will only help drive more customers searching for a reputable service provider.

Social media
Business social media pages attract reviews that are then extracted by search engines such as Google. These can complement your business in search engines and help people buy into your business.

Social media reviews are easy to maintain and can almost generate themselves if customers are pointed in the right direction. Businesses that run social media ads, such as remarketing, may integrate these reviews in their ads to help convert customers. So, it’s important to maintain social media accounts and post occasional updates.

Online forums are dedicated safe spaces where individuals with mutual interests can share their views, opinions, and recommendations. Trusted forums can help generate business because they can attract significant views (for example, Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert or Mumsnet).

Keep tabs on forums, and if there’s chatter on a particular topic where you can add value, post a reply and share your expertise. In return, you can raise brand awareness and benefit from helping hundreds and thousands of forum users—any one of them could return as a future customer.

Businesses often cherry-pick their strongest reviews to display on their homepage with the hope of attracting new customers or closing the deal with those farther down the marketing funnel. To support this, review platforms offer marketing collateral such as widgets and badges to promote the star rating of businesses.

Trustpilot for Business provides tools to help increase conversions and sales. These tools include Trustpilot widgets, micro-review counts, and ratings to add brand credibility. According to Trustpilot, 73.6 percent of Trustpilot visitors say they’re more likely to purchase from a website that’s displaying Trustpilot reviews onsite.

Word of mouth is an understated power tool for recommending a service. Businesses can use traditional business development practices to raise brand awareness and share customer reviews through the likes of industry exhibitions and face-to-face interactions. Print advertising, such as magazines, newspapers, or leaflets, can also be used to push reviews.

Judging the value of customer reviews

A survey by Yelp found that 70 percent of respondents say it’s rare for them to go to a new business without first checking the reviews, and 75 percent say they read more online reviews now than ever before. When asked what they valued most in a review, respondents voted for quality over quantity, unbiased reviews, and transparency.

Brand reviews must be legitimate and value-driven to influence prospective customers. Here are some of the ways users judge the credibility of a review.

Time frame
Are reviews concentrated within a particular time frame, or are they naturally scattered over weeks and months? This may show an active effort on your part to invite customer reviews, whereas reviews outside of a concentrated time frame may occur naturally.

Verified review
Is the review verified? A verified reviewer is a verified customer; therefore, the review is likely to be legitimate.

If you reply to reviews, this shows a genuine relationship regardless of whether the reviews are positive or negative.

Profile claimed
If you claim your business profile, this shows that the feedback relates to the correct business.

Although there are measures in place to prevent cherry-picking positive reviews, these can often be circumvented. Is there a variety of positive and negative reviews?

Customer feedback leads to purchase decisions

According to Trustpilot, 66 percent of consumers say they’re “often” or “very often" influenced by customer reviews while shopping, and 62 percent say the same of customer star ratings.

Almost three-quarters (71%) of U.S. consumers agree that a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to buy from a brand, compared to only 3 percent who disagree. An even higher proportion (73%) agree that a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to trust a brand (including consumers who hadn’t previously heard of Trustpilot).

To test the theory, Trustpilot tested the power of introducing reviews into advertising campaigns, such as the effectiveness of a Trustpilot co-branded ad compared with a non-Trustpilot co-branded ad. The co-branded ad featured the Trustpilot logo, Trustpilot stars, references to the brand’s trust score, and the number of reviews.

Trustpilot concluded that U.S. consumers are 38 percent more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad—with a five-star customer rating, more than 3,000 reviews, and a customer testimonial—than a Google co-branded ad showing the same information.

The power of customer reviews undoubtedly makes them a powerful barometer of service quality.


About The Author

Jon Munnery’s picture

Jon Munnery

Jon Munnery is an insolvency and restructuring expert at U.K. Liquidators, a company liquidation provider to businesses in search of a company closure route. He specializes in all types of company liquidations, including Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) and Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL).