Success in managing online reviews and customer feedback — and therefore in building a solid, trustworthy brand reputation — depends on your ability to own the process.
Instead of ignoring Yelp reviews and Facebook ratings, tune in and stay on top of what customers are saying online about your brand.
Instead of stifling or censoring the voice of the customer, empower your fans and critics alike to speak up.
Instead of focusing exclusively on sales and conversion, work on how you can enhance the customer experience, improve retention, and foster loyalty.
Own the process and show fearlessness
“Fear of customer feedback is fear of the unknown: a terrible Yelp review waiting to happen, a negative comment on social media, an embarrassingly low Net Promoter Score,” we wrote in a recent blog post.
“It’s important for your organization to squash this fear. By leveraging online reviews and customer feedback, you can make your business more successful.”
One of the most effective ways to show this kind of fearlessness is by incorporating online reviews into your website. Brands in the beauty sector are already doing it.
Why add customer-written reviews to your website?
It’s another way to leverage the power of testimonial-based marketing. Letting happy customers make statements about the benefits of your products or services makes it easier for potential customers to trust you.
This explains why:
- Product page visitors who read and interact with online reviews convert at a 58 percent higher rate than those who don’t.
- Shoppers who read and interact with product reviews reflect an increase of 62 percent in revenue per visit.
- The average order value increases to 3 percent when shoppers engage with reviews.
Reviews on your website can also help improve your SEO performance. According to AdWeek, 800 words of review text can make up as much as 70 percent of fresh content for a website page, which search engines will reward with higher search results.
Moz, meanwhile, contends that online review signals (quantity, velocity, and diversity of reviews) are one of the top seven factors influencing local search results.
This isn’t to mention online reviews’ other SEO benefits, like improved content density, better content differentiation, increased triggers for search engine crawlers, and improved ranking for long-tail searches.
Even negative reviews and less-than-5-star ratings can be good for your business. 57 percent would be suspicious of your business if you only had positive reviews; they would think you’re too good to be true.
Today’s consumers obviously value authenticity over perfection, so it makes sense that a brand website incorporating both good and bad reviews is more likely to encourage user interaction and boost shopper confidence than a site that incorporates only the good ones, or a site that doesn’t have any reviews at all.
How to incorporate online reviews and customer feedback into your website
Displaying reviews on your website doesn’t necessarily mean copying and pasting blocks of text from your Yelp profile or TripAdvisor page. Here are some of your options:
Use review widgets or badges
Most third-party review sites offer widgets, badges, and similar other tools that enable you to add your latest reviews and ratings from those sources on your website.
Yelp: Yelp can provide you with a code for displaying your overall ratings and review counts through your Yelp business account. Or you can ask your development team to plug into Yelp’s API and enhance your website experience with Yelp ratings, reviews, photos and more. (Just remember to follow the site’s display requirements.)
TripAdvisor: If you’re managing a hospitality or travel brand, you’ll probably want to incorporate TripAdvisor review content into your website. The easiest way to do so is by visiting the TripAdvisor Widget Center. Some widgets display your latest reviews and awards, while others promote the best of your local area, link to your TripAdvisor page, or encourage customers to review your business.
Google: The search engine giant also displays reviews of local businesses on Google Maps and Google Search. While there is no official tool for adding your Google reviews to your website, you can, depending on your content management system, use third-party plugins or services to get the job done. WordPress users, for example, can download and install the Google Places Reviews plugin, which plugs into your Google API to create a website widget that displays your Google reviews, in customizable themes.
Use plugins to create your own review pages
If you prefer to have greater control of the reviews that appear on your site (instead of simply sourcing them from third-party review platforms), you can utilize plugins designed to help you build your own review pages, collect star ratings and testimonials, and display review content on your website pages (product pages). Here are some options for WordPress users:
WeReview and WP Product Review: These plugins enable you to create your own review site or turn your posts into in-depth product reviews, complete with ratings, pros and cons, affiliate links, rich snippets, and user reviews.
WP Review: This is a plugin that offers a customizable and lightweight way to build your own review widgets and create reviews, using stars, percentage or point rating.
WP Customer Reviews: This is a plugin that allows you to create a specific page on your website to receive customer testimonials for your business or service or allow users to write reviews of a product.
Bonus tip: Find a solution that supports valid reviews or ratings markup, so that Google search results that link to your reviews may show rich snippets that include stars and other summary information.
Create a testimonials page
If, for one reason or another, you’re reluctant to usher customers to your Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Facebook page, or if you don’t want third-party review content on your website, you can start with a testimonials page that displays reviews, ratings, and feedback shared directly to you by customers.
Testimonials pages are also a great way to leverage the voice of the customer. It helps establish credibility, overcome buyer skepticism, and deliver a compelling message without sounding too “salesy.”
Here are a few tips for creating effective testimonials pages:
- Choose reviews or testimonials that highlight the benefits of your product or service, instead of the ones that offer heaps of praise but no useful information.
- Choose reviews or testimonials left by customers whom your audience will be able to relate to. If available, include their photos to put a face to the voice of your customers.
- Did you receive an incredible E-mail from a happy customer? Ask them if you can use their comments on your website as a form of recommendation.
- Add a link or option for visitors to check out your third-party reviews (Yelp, Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, etc.).
- Add a link or option for visitors to leave their own reviews — either on a choice third-party review platform or through an online form or survey tool.
- If you’re going to be asking customers for reviews and feedback, consider using the Net Promoter Score and System (NPS), a widely used management tool for gauging customer loyalty.
How you incorporate online reviews and customer feedback into your website depends on a number of factors: your audience, your level of technical expertise, the level of support available to your business, your ability to collect customer feedback, what-have-you.
In any event, the first step is to own the process. Embrace those reviews. Show your love for feedback. At a time when consumers make purchase decisions based on others’ thoughts, opinions, and experiences, a website that showcases online reviews is a great tool for turning visitors into customers, and customers into loyal fans.