A study published a couple of years back by a marketing software company found that nearly 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is not just true for online businesses, but also for small and local businesses. The BrightLocal study found that nearly two-thirds of customers read at least 4 reviews of a business before trusting them enough.
These statistics are damning proof of the significance that customer reviews play in the sales cycle. Thanks to platforms like Yelp and Zomato, you no longer need to have a website to start needing an online marketing strategy for your business. Internet and social media can impact your business even without one.
Negative Reviewers Are Louder
No matter how good your business is, you will always face your fair share of unhappy customers. While this is a given, it is important to acknowledge that these unhappy customers have a greater incentive to review your business on platforms like Yelp. In effect, unless you actively nudge your happy customers to review your business, you are likely to see more negative than positive reviews on third party review sites.
Customers Are Not Interested In Positive Reviews
One solution to this problem is to make use of surveys to find happy customers and only push them to third party review sites. This can however backfire. When the number of positive reviews are overwhelmingly high compared to neutral or negative reviews, customers can get suspicious. There are two things that matter – the absolute number of reviews your business garners, and a fair distribution in the number of positive, neutral and negative reviews. Customers too understand that a business cannot satisfy all customers and so a fair bit of negative reviews contribute to the genuineness of your business profile.
Building Trust Through Encouraging Neutral Reviews
The ideal strategy for any business looking to build trust through customer reviews is by encouraging all kinds of customers to review your business online. Appliances Connection, an online appliance ecommerce company tried this strategy by encouraging their customers to review them on third party websites and report a nearly 5% improvement in conversion rate.
Partner With Influencers To Build Trust
Reviews do not always have to be on third party review aggregation sites. One way to build trust is by working with influencers from your industry. Who you work with depends on the industry you are in, and the kind of customers you are targeting. A carpet cleaning company for instance, could request endorsements and recommendations from a highly reputed client they have worked with and this can be showcased as a badge of trustworthiness. If you are an online business with a global clientele, your influencer too should be someone who can appeal to your global customer base. Blue Host, a web hosting company recently partnered with Neil Patel, a celebrity marketing guru to help them drive trust among their new customers.
Showcase Reviews As Testimonials
If you have an online payment channel on your website, perhaps one of the best ways to build customer trust and consequently conversions is through testimonials. The sole objective of a testimonial on an online store is to provide reassurance to new buyers on the trustworthiness of your product or service. By showcasing reviews, testimonials and endorsements from real-life customers and large media outlets, you provide customers the nudge they need to trust your site and make their purchase.