Online reviews are a critical part of consumers’ purchasing process. Nearly all people read reviews before making a final decision whether they are looking for products online or in a physical shop. Some estimates suggest that between 90 percent and 97 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
This powerful method of consumer feedback can make or break your business reputation. Business owners need to be fully aware of how to leverage reviews to their advantage. Before beginning your online review strategy, let’s take a look at some of the common myths surrounding digital online reviews.
Myth #1 — You must have 5-star reviews
It’s a myth that only a list of 5-star reviews will do to boost your reputation. A company that only has 5-star reviews may look like they are the best and can do no wrong. But in the real world, this is almost impossible. A company with only positive reviews could mean that they are buying fake reviews—which is entirely illegal. Other unethical practices include writing reviews for your own product or service.
In reality, many lower star ratings have valuable suggestions that can improve your service. By taking these suggestions on board, you increase your revenue and stay ahead of the competition.
Logically, you will want more 5-star ratings than others. But it’s vital to have a balance, as this will encourage readers to have more trust in your business.
Related reading: Why you don’t always need 5-star reviews.
Myth #2 – The average star rating is all that counts
If you only focus on the star rating, you are missing the bigger picture. Looking at the number of stars you have instead of the content of the feedback means you don’t see the valuable recommendations your customers are making. You are also not paying attention to what customers like about your product—a vital tool for your marketing strategy.
Online reviews also elevate your local SEO. Search engines pick up on keywords and phrases terms connected to your brand.
Myth #3 — Most online reviews are fake
Consumers are not stupid and can often spot a fake review. Not only this, but many review websites have strict review policies that prevent this behavior.
Of course, some companies try to write fake reviews about their seemingly fantastic product. Or, you may get unethical businesses trying to damage the reputation of their competition. And, of course, fake reviews will slip through the cracks. But some studies show that around 1 in 10 reviews are from genuine customers. So, this means that approximately 90% of the reviews you read online are from real people.
Some of your competition may try to leave a fake review, which emphasizes why you must have a marketing strategy to get more reviews. At the end of the article, you’ll find out about one of the easiest ways to get a ton of genuine reviews from your customers.
Myth #4 — Online reviews don’t show up on search results
It is a common mistake to think that when somebody is looking for your business, they will only type in the business name. When in fact, they will probably type in the business name followed by ‘reviews’ or ‘opinions.’ Now, think about it—what happens if you don’t have any reviews? It will be difficult for readers to trust the legitimacy of your business. These consumers will likely click on similar companies that do have reviews.
With five reviews or more, ratings will appear in a Google search. Google My Business goes several steps further and lists a business and its ratings at the top of the search results. If reviews don’t show up on a Google search, you may need to verify your business on Google My Business
Related reading: How to optimize your business to rank in Google search.
Myth #5 — Only angry people bother to write online reviews
It is more likely that a happy customer leaves a review than an upset one or an angry one—in fact, 75 percent more likely. The main difference is that an angry customer will leave a comment on their own accord. A happy customer may need reminding. If you are providing an outstanding service, ask your customers to share their experience and leave a review.
You can ask customers in a post-service email, a follow-up phone call, or even a message included with their products. Make it easy for people to leave reviews by giving the link to your website and show your gratitude.
There is a 95% chance of winning an angry customer over if you can resolve the problem quickly. Encouraging reviews provides further opportunities to increase your sales-
Myth #6 — It doesn’t matter if I reply to reviews or not
A 2016 report showed that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. In the same year, 74 percent of consumers said that positive reviews make them trust a business more.
It’s not just the review that leads to higher levels of trust. Consumers pay close attention to how the business responds to these reviews. How you respond to both positive and negative reviews speaks to the dedication to the customer experience. It shows that a company wants to improve.
While reading through product reviews, you may notice that some genuine customers have a valid complaint. In many cases, when you address this issue, your customer is more likely to increase their star rating and write a new, positive comment. So, you have turned potential negative feedback into a way to provide excellent customer service and get more positive Google reviews.
Myth #7 — People don’t trust online reviews
You may be surprised to learn that the majority of people trust online reviews. Due to robust review policies, consumers realize that most online reviews are genuine.
Of course, almost anything online could be fake—from online dating to news. And, this used to be the case with online reviews. It was tough to determine which were real and which weren’t. But things have changed, and with this, so has our trust in online reviews.
Today, consumers trust online reviews more than in the past. Recent studies show that 84 percent of people believe online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation. Sixty-eight percent of people will make a purchasing decision based on the comments in one to six reviews. Word of mouth used to carry a lot of weight. Still, in a digital world, we depend more on the opinions and feedback of online communities.
Myth #8 — Getting more reviews doesn’t help my rankings in search results
Wrong—getting more reviews is a great way to boost your rankings and beat the competition. Search engines like Google use data in your reviews as part of their algorithms.
Google indexes your website and extracts any relevant information. It then matches this with keywords that people use in their search. When you add more customer reviews for SEO or Google My Business, it provides Google with more text and specific vocabulary to read. Many reviews will describe parts of your product or service that may not even be on your website, which essentially adds more data for Google to use.
When Google is left to do its magic, this abundant amount of content and keywords increases your rankings. Your reviews allow Google to reward you with higher rankings, increased visibility, and a competitive edge.
Myth #9 — Negative reviews will damage my reputation
Some business owners can brush off the negative comments, but for the vast majority, we take them personally. It’s easier to ignore them than to face them. What we need to do is to use negative reviews as a learning experience. Read precisely what was said and take what you can to improve.
Negative reviews may point out things that the customer didn’t understand properly. Or, you may see patterns in negative reviews about a particular area of your service. This is why you must thank people for both the positive and the negative reviews. Each piece of feedback gives you insight from the customer’s point of view. They’ve taken the time to leave a review, so you should take the time to respond. You will show readers that you care about their experience and your product. Negative reviews will only damage your reputation if you don’t respond to it respectfully.
Myth #10 — A negative review must show that my business is right
There are two ways to think about this. First, you are right, and it must be the fault of the client. Second, it was not your fault but a supplier or other member of your team. Blaming the client will make them feel stupid. They may not have read the instructions correctly, but you don’t need to point this out. Instead, find a way to rephrase the instructions so that they resolve the particular problem.
The blame game is not attractive. Other readers will value you and your business if you take the responsibility, no matter who may have been to blame.
Myth #11 — I already have enough reviews
So, you don’t want to increase your revenue? Are you sure you’re okay with your competition creeping past you in the list of rankings? The fact is this—you can never have enough reviews, regardless of your experience, industry, or product.
The other problem with this mentality is that you forget about relevant reviews. Studies show that 44 percent of consumers only pay attention to reviews written within the last 30 days. A few reviews left six months or a year ago isn’t going to cut it with consumers.
Myth #12- There is nothing I can do about negative reviews
Many business owners feel this way, but it isn’t true. What is probably true is that you are unsure of how to handle negative reviews. First of all, accept the fact that negative reviews will happen and follow these steps on how to deal with them.
- Thank the customer for their feedback and apologize. This response will gain you respect from other readers. Encourage the customer to discuss the issue further offline if necessary.
- Once you have resolved the problem, encourage them to update their review, star rating, or both.
- If you notice any fake reviews— for example, no name, or someone not on your client list—report them to Google immediately.
Related reading: How to respond to fake Google reviews.
Myth #13- People will pay more attention to a product description rather than reviews
More and more people look to reviews for advice and recommendations rather than slick advertising gimmicks.
Here’s an example. If you want to buy a hose for your garden, you know that it is made of rubber and will transport water from A to B. The only thing you may gain from a product description is the length. A review, on the other hand, will cover the quality of the product, the delivery, the customer service, and a whole range of other factors.
Statistics suggest that a consumer is 12 times more likely to trust an online review than a product description.
Myth #14- Reviews won’t help my business
If you have already paid attention to the previous myths, you will naturally assume that reviews won’t help your business. If your marketing strategy isn’t as strong as it could be, and you aren’t managing your reviews correctly, this myth could be true.
Great reviews will help your business with little effort from you. Negative reviews will help you improve certain aspects of your business, as long as you take on board what is being said and make the necessary changes.
Myth #15- Getting more reviews is difficult and takes time
In the past, this may have been true. Still, with today’s technology, several solutions can automate the review process.
For example, the automated review management software by Starloop helps businesses like yours get more reviews with less of the effort. After entering your customer’s email address, they receive a simple request, inviting them to leave feedback. You can then sit back and watch the positive reviews roll in.
What’s the incentive for your customers to leave reviews? In this respect, Starloop is unique in the industry because we plant one tree for every review that you receive. Your customers are more inclined to leave a review, knowing that they’re doing something for the environment. This process creates a win-win situation for you and your customer. You get a valuable review, and the planet gets one more tree.
Please contact a member of our team today to find out how Starloop can help you get more genuine, positive reviews.