Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Best use of online customer reviews

Many companies are reliant on word of mouth or referrals to drive new business, yet online customer reviews are often overlooked as a sales tool.

A 2010 survey by BIA/Kelsey and research firm ConStat revealed that 97% of consumers research future purchases online.

Local service providers and businesses in Ireland need to start taking notice of the potential market that could be opened up to them, simply by increasing the ability of their website to facilitate customer reviews of their products and services.

A recent eMarketer survey has disclosed that reviews provided by peers are 12 times more trusted than manufacturer descriptions.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • 80% of customer reviews are 4 or 5 stars out of 5 (BazaarVoice);
  • Most customers you ask will be happy to leave reviews;
  • Avoid using incentives to try to get reviews;
  • Service businesses should avoid asking for Yelp reviews unless their customers are regular Yelp contributors (one-off reviewers comments are usually dropped);
  • Try to capture customers email addresses — you can then email them directly to ask for reviews;
  • Make the process as easy as possible.