People are talkin’, talkin’ ’bout…well, your business.
And while you might have been ignoring this aspect of your business because it didn’t directly bring in revenue, a recent study of over 20,000 businesses should make you rethink your strategy (or lack thereof) when it comes to customer reviews and testimonials.
Before We Begin...
Let’s talk about WHY customer reviews are important by taking a look at a tried and true sales funnel:
The smallest sliver, that most businesses neglect, is DELIGHT. All the effort has been put into getting the customer and delivering the promised product/service that you forget to find ways to get customers really excited and engaged about your business. That’s not to say that simply delivering a promised product or service won’t delight a customer, but going above and beyond makes you all the more special and unique. So when it comes to evaluating sales and marketing efforts, I prefer to use the sales and marketing continuum:
This better illustrates the relationship between delighted customers who leave reviews and the impact it can have on your business. Current customers continue to buy from you AND their positive reviews inspire confidence (i.e. more sales) from prospective customers. More sales, more gooder.
New Report Shows That Customers Reviews Impact Revenue
Womply, a small business SaaS provider, conducted a study of over 200,000 businesses and is reporting a strong connection between reviews and revenue.
In this study, Womply had key findings in the following categories:
# Of Claimed Listings
Businesses that didn’t claim their listings averaged $72,000 less in annual revenue according to Womply.
Chances are, reviews about your business are out there. You can either claim your location on business review sites (Google My Business, Yelp, etc) or be blissfully ignorant. Considering that 90% of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search, prospective customers will be searching the web for the products and services that you offer and inevitably will come across your customer reviews.
Responding To Reviews
Consumers appear more inclined to buy from businesses that respond to online reviews. This may be because they assume those responding to reviews offer better service. According to the study, 75% of businesses don’t respond to their online reviews. But those that do earn considerably more revenue.
Now that you’ve claimed your listings, you need to engage with your reviewers. In the event that it’s a good review, there’s not too much more that’s necessary than saying thank you. But you can go the extra mile and add some details about the product/service you provided. By doing this, you can help prospective customers get information about your business and what you do.
If it’s a bad review, don’t make a scene. Depending on how willing you are to fix it, you can reply to the review with an offer to remedy the issue. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t actually believe the customer is always right. So, if it’s a situation where a customer is misrepresenting something you did, replying to their review is your opportunity to politely and professionally set the record straight.
Optimal Ratings Range
Businesses in the 3.5 to 4.5 star range had more average revenue than those below or above, including businesses with 5-star ratings.
Womply offers two reasons to potentially explain the under-performance of 5-star businesses compared with those in the optimal range:
- Five star businesses tend to have fewer reviews
- Consumers may be more skeptical of 5-star businesses (assuming manipulation)
Here’s a nice news flash: you don’t have to be perfect. In fact, being less than perfect is better because it’s more believable.
Review Counts Matter More Than Overall Rating
The study also discovered that review counts were more strongly correlated with revenue performance than average star ratings.
This isn’t exactly a quantity over quality situation but it’s another piece of data that speaks to authenticity. The more reviews you have, the more information people have to look at to learn more about your business.
If you haven’t already, go create and claim your Google My Business account. Seriously. Like, go do it now. Once you create the account, add profile information, photos, videos, and begin asking your current and past customers to leave you reviews.
If you show up for only ONE platform, this is the one. Google My Business has the most upside when it comes to SEO.
Like pretty much anything Marketing-related, of course, there’s more you can do. And we’d love to help! Not only do we have proven templates and strategies you can implement immediately BUT we also have a one-of-a-kind video platform that we developed to quickly and easily capture video testimonials.