It’s no secret to business owners that online reviews mean a lot for your business. Before customers ever set foot in your business or call you up to book services, they’ll do their research and read up on other customers’ experiences with your company. In fact, more than ¾ of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. That’s why Leverage Marketing has been consistently invested in offering cutting edge review marketing services to our clients. However, the strategies that we use for reputation management are changing to better serve your business and remain compliant with Google’s terms of service.
Continue reading for a closer look at the changing strategies of review management and the impact they’ll have on your business.
The End of Review Gating
Ideally, you’ll provide customers with stellar experiences every time they visit your business. Unfortunately, things don’t always go perfectly, and some customers may have negative experiences that leave them feeling unsatisfied. In the past, reputation management emphasized downplaying negative customer experiences by discouraging unsatisfied customers from leaving reviews through a process called review gating.
With review gating, a customer might receive an email or text message with a prompt asking if they enjoyed the product or service they purchased from your business. Only those who responded positively would be encouraged to leave a public review. However, this process has been officially banned by Google, which is why we’ve pivoted our approach.
With our updated solutions, customers are still divided into two funnels, but they are never discouraged from leaving their feedback. Instead, dissatisfied customers have the option to take feedback directly to you rather than posting a public review right away. However, they still have the option to leave a review as well.
Benefits of Updating Your Review Strategy
You may be surprised to learn that eliminating review gating won’t cause a negative flood of reviews to come in for your business. In fact, most businesses will see an overall boost in the number of reviews with only a marginal shift in their overall star rating. In addition, star ratings and occasional low reviews don’t necessarily have the negative impact you might expect. Higher Volume of Reviews – When if comes to reviews, more is better, even if that means your star rating is a little lower. Review counts are more closely correlated with revenue performance than average star ratings, which indicates that consumers simply want to see that other people are visiting your business.
More Trust in Your Business – According to Google, both positive and negative reviews are valued. Honest customer feedback helps to boost trust in your business, which goes a long way for consumers making purchase decisions. The impact of negative reviews is also lessened when businesses claim their reviews and respond to them, which you can continue to do with our review management solutions. People are generally understanding that mistakes happen. The difference they want to see is a business that’s willing to own their mistakes and make things right.
Increased Revenue for Your Business – Did you know that businesses with 5-star ratings tend to have below average sales? The fact is that too many 5-star ratings raise suspicion for customers, especially if your business only has a handful of reviews to its name. The sweet spot is 3.5-4.5 stars—overall, this shows that customers have positive experiences, but it reduces suspicion that your ratings have been manipulated. Businesses whose total number of reviews are 15-20% negative average 13% more annual revenue than businesses whose reviews are 5-10% negative.
Requesting Customer Feedback Benefits Your Business
The bottom line when it comes to review management is that requesting all types of customer feedback is important, even if that means letting a few negative reviews in as well. You can still control which reviews are featured on your website to emphasize the positives, but customers will have greater trust in your business when the full picture is available on third party review sites.
With Leverage Marketing, you can always trust that our services will grow with your business to continue yielding better results. If you’re already using our review management service, expect to see even more reviews in the pipeline. If you’re just getting started with reputation management, book a quick strategy call with our team to take the next steps.