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Harnessing the Power of Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Coral Drake | February 13, 2024 |

online reviews Featured
Harnessing the Power of Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials are pivotal to building a robust online reputation. Gathering social proof garners loyalty from customers, and even establishes good search engine optimization (SEO). Here are some essential tips for gathering and utilizing customer reviews. 

Why Do Customer Reviews and Testimonials Matter?

Customer reviews and testimonials are key influences on consumer behavior and decision-making, serving as modern-day word-of-mouth that can amplify a brand's reputation or cast shadows of doubt on its credibility. 

When researching local businesses, 98% of consumers “occasionally” read online reviews and 76% “always” or “regularly” read online reviews (Brightlocal study).

Research from the Spiegel Research Center found that displaying reviews can skyrocket conversion rates by up to 270%. In a similar vein, Harvard Business School's findings indicate that a mere one-star uplift in a Yelp rating can boost revenue between 5 and 9 percent. 

So reviews matter. But how can you collect them and display them optimally?

How to Collect Customer Reviews

Collecting reviews from busy clients isn’t easy, especially while maintaining review authenticity. Here are some tips for getting social proof from your customers:

1. Simplify the Review Process

Eliminate barriers deterring a customer from sharing their experiences. You want to make it as easy as possible for them. Offer direct links to your LinkedIn page, Google Business profile, or other relevant review platforms so your customers don’t have to search too hard in order to leave feedback.

Want meaningful and detailed testimonials? Provide your clients with a simple framework or set of questions to guide their responses and give you the kind of information you want from customer reviews. Example questions could include:

  • What led you to seek out our product/service?
  • How did our solution address your needs?
  • Can you share any positive outcomes or results from using our product/service?
  • Would you recommend our offerings to others, and why?

This approach encourages clients to reflect on their experiences and share specific details that highlight the strengths of your products or services. It also shows clients that you’re thinking deeply about your brand reputation. 

2. Incentivize Reviews

Offering incentives can motivate clients to take the time to leave a review. Discounts, loyalty points, or entry into a giveaway can significantly increase engagement. Leaving a review is boring. Competing in a contest is fun!

A personal connection can also be a stellar way to motivate customers to leave reviews. Encourage your customer service team to request reviews following positive service interactions and reward them for reviews made about them. 

It's crucial to emphasize to customers and staff that customers should leave authentic reviews, not just positive ones, to maintain review authenticity. 

3. Maximize Review Collection Across Channels

  • Website: Review widgets or plugins on your website are an easy and accessible way for customers to leave feedback directly.
  • Social Media: Platforms like Meta, Twitter, and Instagram are goldmines for reviews. Prompt feedback in post comments or via direct messages and run social media campaigns focused on user-generated content.
  • Review Sites: Register your business on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and any other review sites relevant to your business. Regularly monitor and engage with the feedback received to maintain an active online reputation.
  • Email Campaigns: Send follow-up emails to customers post-purchase asking for their review. Include direct links to make the review process as straightforward as possible and consider incentivizing to leave a review with a contest or prize.
  • SMS Requests: Request reviews from customers by text, offering a quick and mobile-friendly option to share their experiences.
  • In-Store Review Station: For brick-and-mortar businesses, set up a review station with a tablet or laptop where customers can leave feedback before they leave.

Claim and Use Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is so important that it stands on its own. Your GMB listing is a direct channel to engage with customers and gather feedback. It also allows you to highlight that feedback on what may be the most referenced review source there is.

In fact, Google has the most reviews, at an impressive 73% of ALL online reviews (Review Tracker).

Your GMB profile provides a platform for your business to appear in local search results and on Google Maps. Your profile will likely collect reviews whether you manage it or not, so claiming it and responding to reviews is a must. 

A well-maintained profile with a good response rate on reviews can significantly elevate customer trust and brand reputation.

Furthermore, customers are more likely to find your business if you use GMB. Google considers the quantity and quality of reviews as a ranking factor for local search, so actively collecting and responding to reviews on GMB can improve your search engine rankings.

4. Engage and Follow-up

Collecting customer reviews is an ongoing effort involving consistent engagement and follow-up. Don’t just ask for a review once. Follow up with customers to see if they’re still happy with your product or service over time. 

Sales testimonials or e-commerce reviews about products from years ago can be incredibly valuable for proving the long term value of what you have to offer. 

How to Harness the Power of Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Strategically using customer feedback across all of your platforms and marketing channels exponentially amplifies a brand's credibility and appeal to potential customers. Here's how businesses can make the most of the reviews once they have them:

Showcase Reviews Everywhere

Display reviews on as much of your website as possible. A scrolling review box in the footer is a good option. You want customers to see those positive reviews while they’re reading about your products or services. 

Incorporate positive reviews and testimonials into all forms of marketing materials, from print ads to digital banners and social media posts. Choose specific reviews highlighting the benefits or features you want to emphasize in marketing material. 

Share detailed customer success stories or case studies to illustrate the real-world impact of your offerings as compelling content that also builds social proof of your product or service’s value.

For instance, a review about how a customer saved money with your service can be turned into an entire advertisement about how future customers can save money, just like the reviewer did. 

Integrate Reviews into Your Branding Strategy

Weave customer testimonials into your brand's narrative to create an emotional connection with your audience and humanize your business. Stories of real customers who have benefited from your products or services can be incredibly persuasive.

Showcasing genuine experiences shows you listen to and value customer input.

Respond Respond Respond

Regularly monitor reviews and feedback across platforms—social media, review sites, and your own website—and respond to all of them as quickly as possible. 

Employing online reputation management tools like alerts when reviews are made can streamline this process, ensuring you don’t miss any new reviews. 

Acknowledge and thank customers for positive reviews while professionally addressing negative feedback. 

Harness the Power of Customer Reviews

When it comes to managing your brand reputation, customer reviews can’t be overlooked. With diligence and intention, you can ensure your brand is well represented to your prospective customers.