5 Tips to Effectively Leverage the Power of User Reviews

By Alex Moss

power of consumer reviews

There’s been a quiet shift of company/consumer power balance going on under our noses over the past decade. In an increasingly noisy world, it’s getting harder to grasp the attention of a potential buyer with every passing day and small business is left with two choices – adapt or perish.

The modern market is a dog-eat-dog environment and those with the best understanding of their customers are the pit bulls of the today’s marketing game.

So, let’s dive right in and look at how the importance of user feedback has changed over the last decade or so and how you can use it to your advantage.

Online consumer feedback is the new word-of-mouth

In 2011, Cone Inc. conducted a study of influence trends and one of the key findings was that four out of five(that’s 80%) consumers changed their minds about buying a product or a service based solely on finding negative feedback online. In 2010 the number was 67%.

Local consumer review survey conducted yearly bu BrightLocal only confirmed the upward trend.

growth chart of user reviews

Latest surveys revealed a few new facts that indicate changes in the ways a decision to buy is made:

  • 92% read online reviews (compared to 88% in 2014)
  • Opinions are formed faster (40% users read 1-3 reviews, whereas the number was 29% in 2014)
  • 44% of users deem a review relevant only if it was written within 1 month
  • Just 13% of consumers said they would consider a business with a 1 or 2-star rating
  • Fake reviews are an increasing concern for the average consumer

How to leverage the user reviews to your advantage

Yes, you can leverage even the negative user reviews. In fact, you should look at a negative experience a user has had with your product or service as an opportunity to go above and beyond. If done right, you can turn a disgruntled customer into an advocate.

Below are a few tips on how to leverage consumer feedback.

Tip 1: Share the best reviews through social media to spread the word

social media

Most modern social platforms have recognized the trend we’re talking about here and offered tools to make the most of it. For example, Facebook now has a section dedicated to reviews on all the pages of local businesses and LinkedIn even allows you to request a recommendation.

Most modern social platforms have recognized the trend we’re talking about here and offered tools to make the most of it. For example, Facebook now has a section dedicated to reviews on all the pages of local businesses and LinkedIn even allows you to request a recommendation.

So, when you see a review that you think would have a positive impact, share it!

A good example of how to do it right is Stitch Fix, a women’s styling and clothing subscription service. What they do is ask their customers to make selfies in their Stitch Fix clothes and share them online with a hashtag #StitchFix. The company then chooses the best ones and posts them across all their social outlets.

Tip 2: Don’t shy away from getting into a civilized argument

responding to negative feedback

It might be true in a restaurant (or most brick and mortar businesses for that matter), but the old “Customer is always right” should be taken with a grain of salt if you are running an online business.

In other words, if you don’t believe in your product, the customers won’t either.

So, while legitimate negative feedback should be dealt with utmost humility to showcase your commitment to the customers, do not shy away from engaging into a rebuttal if you truly believe the feedback is unfair or unsubstantiated. If you apologize for everything, you come off as needy and that hurts your bottom line every time.

The secret of doing it well comes down to three things:

  1. Making sure you’re right before getting into a rebuttal
  2. Having valid and clearly articulated arguments
  3. Staying civilized and respectful

The conversation in the heads of potential customers reading the exchange will be, “These guys are not afraid to lose a customer, they must have a superior product and a high demand.” On top of that, if they feel like you’re right, it strengthens your credibility.

Tip 3: Make your reviews obvious

If you are proud of what people are saying about you, don’t be afraid to show it off. In real life, this simply means having some sort of mechanism in place to bring attention to the reviews when a potential customer lands on your website.

It can come in a number of forms (like a top or a sidebar), just make sure it’s above the fold of your landing page.

The space above the fold is a crucial piece or your website’s real estate and should only be used for high-impact elements, and they don’t come any higher than clean, well-placed user reviews.

reading online reviews

Tip 4: Reviews of the reviews

There’s a reason all the major e-commerce sites ask you if a particular review is useful and it’s simple – it works. This approach generates most attention for the reviews that are most insightful, well-written and (why not?) amusing.

The visitor is more likely to spot them and take a moment to read them, the value of information and trust rises and as a side benefit your “time on site” metrics increase.

It’s a win-win.

Tip 5: Surveys – get to know your customer and adapt

Although they’re a powerful marketing, the reviews are not there just to tell people how awesome you are. They are there to tell you how you can be better.

Use them!

Identify your strengths and emphasize them, identify your weaknesses and make them your strengths, learn what your target audience wants and give it to them. Along with A/B testing, this information should be your bread and butter in improving your product or service and optimizing your website for conversion.

Adjusting to Feedback

The best way to get answers is to ask (duh).

The best way to ask in through a well-crafted survey. It might seem easy to compile a survey, but many marketers get it wrong.

Here are the 4 most common mistakes marketers make when they conduct surveys:

1. Biased questions

The problem: Your business is not politics. In politics, surveys are often crafted by phrasing the questions in a way that can have no negative response. It’s how they rid of “wrong answers”.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the same with your business survey and ask self-serving questions that would be a road map to avoid hearing any unpleasant truths.

The solution: Hire an independent professional to compile the survey or at least proof read the one you wrote. The value of the information you get supersedes the cost by far.

2. Reaching out to the wrong group

The problem: The most common route marketers take when they conduct a survey is to ask past customers and friends. It’s also an approach that will give you compromised data to work with, simply because most of these people will be subjective.

The solution: Instead of collecting data from people that already like you, make an effort to get the questions in front of people who have no previous attitude about you, people who represent a valid sample of the population.

3. Crafting an online survey like you would an old-school pen and paper survey

The problem: The main problem with the old-school pen and paper surveys (apart from the fact that they are a pain regarding logistics) is that the questions are one-dimensional and close-ended. If you are not using the flexibility an online survey provides to ask different types of questions, you are probably missing out on a mass of useful information.

The solution: With online surveys, the sky is the limit. For example, you can place an image in front of people and ask them to click on it and then use the heat map to pinpoint what appeals visually to your target audience. The easiest way to do it, especially if you are not that tech-savvy, is work with a professional survey company.

4. Not digging deep enough into the data

The problem: One of the gravest mistakes when analyzing survey data is also one of the most common ones – looking at just the top line data.

What is top line data?

Let’s explain it with a simple example – if you ask a yes or no question top line data is the % of people that responded “yes”.

The solution: Dig deeper and squeeze more “juice” out of your survey data.

Here’s how digging deeper might look:

  • What percentage of people that answered “yes” to question two also answered “yes” to question six?
  • Of the participants who answered “no” to question number three, how many are men over the age of 35?

This kind of in-depth analysis might seem like an overkill at times and it’s up to you to decide which answers are relevant to your business. It also takes more time and a lot of the information might never be used, but when you stumble upon a gem and make meaningful conclusions, it will be worth it.

Wrapping it up

The trends in the shift of the power balance between the user and the provider are obvious, and the gap continues to grow year in year out.

For you, this means that the faster you react and get ahead of the game, the better off you’ll be. Realizing what kind of a massive leverage online feedback can be gives you an (almost) unfair advantage over your competitors.

Be smart and use it.

The post 5 Tips to Effectively Leverage the Power of User Reviews appeared first on Blogtrepreneur – For Busy Entrepreneurs.


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