Review Management Platforms- Yes Or No?
As a business, you hope to impress people every time they step foot into your location or interact with your team. You also hope they will tell other people about the fantastic service and experience they had. According to Oberlo, 54.7% of consumers surveyed said they read at least four reviews before they buy a product. Having reviews helps encourage people to interact with your business. An estimated 79% of people say they trust the online reviews they read just as much as a friend recommending a product or service to them.
Reviews are a necessary component of doing business. The internet makes it easy for consumers to read such reviews. The question is, how can your business gather those reviews, and what happens when not all of the reviews you receive are positive?
Where You Can Collect Reviews
There are a number of places to get reviews for your business. Many business owners believe that using as many of these sites as possible is a good thing. (We don’t, but more on that in a minute.) Some of the most common platforms for reviews include the following:
- Google Business Profile
- Better Business Bureau
Let’s say a customer comes into your location to purchase something. They receive fantastic service and want to let others know. They head to Facebook to find your Facebook page (which, if you are doing social media marketing, you have one ready to go), and they leave a few comments. If they have something to say, they may google your business, notice your Google Business Profile, and leave a review. Or, in the case of a restaurant experience, they may have used an app like Yelp to make a reservation. The app then requests that they leave a review after they visit.
Focus on Google My Business
There are numerous ways people can leave reviews. However, the most important site to build reviews on is your Google Business Profile. Previously referred to as Google My Business, this is a tool that allows you to provide customers with a wealth of information about your company, your website, photos, and phone number. It is also one of the easiest and most important places for customers to leave you a review.
It’s a valuable tool for many reasons, but most importantly, getting reviews on your profile helps increase your visibility and helps drive more customers to your business. And, since optimizing your Google Business Profile is an essential part of local SEO, all of this works together to help your business make money. Isn’t this what it’s all about anyway?
It’s well known that responding to reviews is part of what Google is looking for to help your profile rank better. Not only is that a primary reason why you should respond to all reviews, but your customer gets an email with your review, so it’s another touch point for your business.
Just keep that in mind when responding to negative reviews. Never try to win an argument with a customer that leaves a bad review. You should always keep in mind that your response to a negative review is more for future customers to read than the one that is complaining.
How Do Reviews Help with Conversion?
The more reviews you have online, the better. There’s a direct correlation between companies with a significant number of reviews and their conversion of website visitors into buyers. Why is that?
One reason is the value consumers place on reviews. As noted, consumers use reviews as a way to determine which company to call or which product to buy. Without reviews, your competition is going to get more leads that turn into buyers. Someone typing a keyword phrase into Google to find what they need is going to go to the company’s website with the most reviews. That gives them confidence this provider is one they can trust. Satisfied customers lead to more sales through new customers and repeat customers.
For example, let’s say you type in “Plumbers near me” and you get these results:
As you can see, you have the “3-pack” where three plumbers nearby are displayed. The first has a 4.8 rating and 20 reviews. The next has a 4.5 rating, which isn’t bad and has 31 reviews. The last plumber has a 5.0 rating and 109 reviews. Which one are you going to choose here?
Most will click on Miley for the best rating with the most reviews. It’s funny how browsers all become amateur statisticians when looking at reviews. It’s not all about the 5-star ratings here. The plumber with the most reviews with the highest rating wins.
This is how getting more reviews can convert more customers.
What Is a Review Management Platform?
Managing reviews can be an overwhelming process. There are numerous sites, good and bad reviews, and the need to get customers to leave them to worry about, but a review management platform may help.
Review management is the process of building your company’s public image using reviews. A review management platform or system is a tool that helps you manage your company’s online reputation. Depending on the system selected, the review management platform will help you with:
- Requesting reviews from your consumers
- Monitor for new reviews that become available for your company on various websites
- Responding to reviews on those sites (again, you should respond to the good and bad reviews to further increase their reach)
- Presenting your best reviews on your website to encourage consumers to purchase from you
- Getting your reviews on your other media channels, such as social media
This type of system monitors for reviews left online about your company and then makes it easy for you to manage them. It also allows you to efficiently log into one platform to manage many other places you may need to respond to a review.
Advantages of Review Software
Why use review software like this? In many ways, review software may make it possible for a business to manage its reputation online in one single place. Most companies don’t have people dedicated to searching the internet for these types of reviews on their own. Time is too valuable for that. However, with review software, you get information quickly.
Since most people shopping for a product or service read online reviews before they engage with the company, it’s critical to have reviews. Not only does it help with visibility in search engines, but it also gives your business a clear idea of where you can improve to continue to meet your client’s expectations.
By contrast, if you ignore reviews about your business (and they will still show up), that could negatively impact your brand’s reputation. That leads to problems with customer acquisition. With review software, you can reduce any impact negative reviews have and boost how reviews work to increase your conversions and leads.
In short, you cannot ignore reviews. You need to do something to help pull in reviews and provide an efficient way for you to find them.
But Are Review Platforms A Must?
While these software systems may give you some bells and whistles, we don’t think they’re actually worth the money.
That may sound shocking, but the key here is that any investment you make in your digital marketing and website design has to bring back a solid ROI. To us, paying anywhere from $200-$1000/month to log into one platform just isn’t worth the bang for your buck.
The main reason is that we’ve worked with businesses around Atlanta as well as the rest of the country to put in place a system where they do the following:
- Put a consistent process in place where you ask for reviews. We suggest at least two requests.
- Ask for customer reviews at a specific point in your interactions where they are the happiest with your business (Happy customers are the reviews you want the most after all!)
- Make sure you have the review link to quickly send them with a pre-written email requesting a review to make it super easy for people to leave reviews. Just make it easy for them to review you.
- Decide whether or not to incentivize the customers, however, keep in mind this goes against Google’s policies, so never put anything online about this. For example, some businesses send gift cards to customers that leave a review as a thank you. Others may add the names of people who give reviews to a monthly drawing for a gift card.
What’s the Right Move for You?
Reviews are incredibly valuable. You need them, but you don’t have to pay for software to manage them. Instead, simply put a system in place that works for your business. By putting in a process where you ask for reviews, you’ll eventually get more.
Will every customer review you? Nope. And, that’s perfectly ok. The goal here is to simply increase the number of reviews you do get and if you don’t ask, that number is much lower. The key is to find the best places to ask, and you may have to try some things before you find the best part of your customer interactions to make the request.
If you need help with your Google Business Profile or any aspect of your digital marketing, just give us a call. We’d love to talk with you.