Customer reviews have completely changed the face of business and today nearly 80% of customers read a review before purchasing a product or service online. Reviews have also been shown to dramatically increase conversion rates online (some stats claim a 4.6% increase in conversions). But there is a dark side too; reviews can leave businesses vulnerable and demolish reputations. In today’s world, if just one bad review goes viral, a business can be completely destroyed. In many ways, our age is one in which the customer and not the business is the one in charge.
Unfortunately, apart from the bad reviews that are genuine complaints, there are many incidents of fraud, where companies have created bad reviews of their competitors just to make them look bad (there was a famous case where Samsung created bad reviews for HTC for example). And then there are often fake reviews, from annoyed or bored people who might not even be customers. In a climate in which it is so easy to fake an online presence, increasing measures are being taken to ensure the credibility and authenticity of online reviews.
Online reviews (provided they are authentic) provide a guaranteed stream of user generated content. This effectively translates into fresh and unique content for search engines, which dramatically improves search rankings for any business. This is a type of content that can really help differentiate products and services in search rankings. Reviews ultimately help to increase the breadth of language and content on a web page, driving more traffic to sites and especially long-tail traffic (ie. users with less conventional search terms).
While bad reviews might be negative, a few bad reviews have actually been shown to make websites appear more authentic. Just think of it – would you really believe there is a product or service out there with 100% positive reviews? It’s genuinely almost impossible to please all of the people all of the time, and a few bad reviews are nothing to be ashamed of. Having said that, it’s always important to react to reviews, to try and address the issues and to attempt to turn an angry customer into one that has received a high level of customer service.
In many ways, online reviews are a digital form of word of mouth. People trust other people who have first-hand experience much more than brands talking about their own strengths. And a word of mouth is as powerful as ever, accounting for 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. Today there is a wide range of online platforms that aim to facilitate this new form of digital word of mouth, but the majority of platforms are still relatively traditional text-based platforms or widgets.
Very recently there have been a number of new technologies, which use diverse media for reviews, and initial studies have shown that incorporating media other than text (so images, video and audio) can lead to an even greater positive response and higher conversion rates. Most websites remain stuck with traditional text-based reviews so this is actually a great way to differentiate an e-store while continuing to grow a trusted and trusting customer base.
Heyoya is a unique comment and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase the quality of user-generated content while authenticating reviews and preventing spam and fraud.
For more information about Heyoya, or to start using Heyoya’s Receiver plan and start earning money today, click here.