I am always amazed when a business or brand doesn't respond to reviews left by users. One of my first thoughts is usually "What an amazing opportunity missed...", but more often than that it's "How could you not be?" Reviews are everywhere, from Google to Bing, Yelp to Foursquare, Better Business Bureau to Angie's List and so on, and it's important that we are paying attention to our reviews, collecting user's feedback to implement into our processes if valid and following up with customers who take the time to leave a review.

Below, I walk through four major reasons to respond to reviews and how you can begin to take advantage of the incredible opportunity that lies in front of you when a customer leaves a review...

Potential Customers See Reviews

I wanted to show you a few stats from a study on online reviews conducted by Vendasta:

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1 to 3 reviews
  • 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 26% of consumers say it's important that a local business responds to review

What this translates to is that potential customers read reviews and they put a lot of stock in them, so it's important that we not only keep track of how we are performing across review sites but that we are also engaging those customers leaving reviews and following up on them. This not only shows brand humility and integrity, but it shows potential customers that we are dedicated to our customers and wish to provide a stellar experience even after their purchase.

With stats like those listed above, reviews should be considered a major part of your sales process. For some potential customers, they could be the first thing they see about your brand or business, so make sure you're paying attention and engaging.

Customers Want To Be Heard

Responding to a user review says to the customer: we hear you, we are listening and your feedback matters. All three of those points are exactly what a user wants to think and feel, so when we oblige their reasoning for leaving reviews, we make them feel fulfilled. Taking the time to leave a review, no matter how small, takes effort on the customer's end, something we all wish we had more of. Leaving a review means that they felt strongly enough about an experience that they had to tell the world about it, that they wanted to be heard.

Listen to your customers. Read their reviews. Show future and potential customers that you are more than just the sale or service, show that you're actually listening when they want to be heard.

Reviews Are Opportunities

Every review should be viewed as an opportunity, positive or negative. Why?

  • Responding to a positive review: Reinforces
  • Responding to a negative review: Alleviates

What I mean by this is when you respond to a positive review left by a customer you are further reinforcing their decision to do so, you're adding a little extra to their experience that goes a long way in their minds. When you follow up to a negative review left by a customer you are attempting to alleviate their issue and turn their negative experience into a positive experience.

Going back to the study conducted by Vendasta, if a business resolves an issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers will return to your business. That's a huge opportunity and one that you should be taking advantage of with every review or piece of feedback a customer gives you.

It Humanizes Your Brand

Customers and potential customers want to interact with brands and businesses that they do business with and reviews are one of the many ways available to them to do so. When a customer leaves a review, they are creating a chance for a brand or business to directly engage them in an experience. When a person from that brand or business reaches out, it humanizes that brand and creates a genuine experience that goes beyond what a logo or colors could ever hope to accomplish.

We as humans want human interactions. We want to feel as though we are being noticed and validated in our decisions, so when a customer leaves a review, it's an opportunity for us as marketers to become more than a brand, to become more than a logo or more than a service or product provider. It's an opportunity to become human.

If you'd like more examples of why customer engagement and online reviews matter, check out our post Customer Engagement and Why It Matters.

If you're having trouble taking an inventory of where customers are leaving reviews and would like assistance, the digital experts at Marcel Digital would love to be considered. From Search Engine Optimization to Paid Media, Conversion Rate Optimization and more, we've created digital strategies for hundreds of companies since 2003. We look forward to hearing your story and how we can be a part of it.

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