Responding to online reviews can increase conversion rates
Marketers have been talking about online reviews for many years and different people will have different opinions on them. Some believe that they are better ways of connecting with clients and customers while others believe that they are a risky endeavor that can easily backfire and leave your business in public relations problems. The uncertainty has influenced most businesses, particularly those in the online world, to avoid reviews.
Review avoidance is not a good option. Actually, it works more like word of mouth and social media and possibly is what you need to drive your products or services viral. For the reviews to work, you should start responding to them.
Harvard Business Review findings
A recent study, which involved over 7,000 businesses’ data from Google Adwords campaign, helped the researchers identify two interesting points. First, the study showed that business with high star ratings are more likely to see higher conversion rates than those with lower rating. Secondly, the statistical difference between the companies that respond to reviews and those that do not respond to them for the worse or better is significant.
Business that had lower star ratings during time of the study (3.3 stars) witnessed around 10.42 percent conversion rate. In other words, over 10 percent of searchers interacted with the businesses’ search results immediately they saw the star rating. Businesses with higher ratings such as 4.96 stars enjoyed higher conversion rates that were around 12.83 percent.
Now, you might be wondering what difference the two percentages would make. It is hard to say, but the researcher approximated that it could mean over 13,000 potential leads for the low rated businesses. If that involves local business and local searches the effect can be significant loss in the long term.
That is just the start.
The researchers also checked whether the businesses responded to their clients or customer’s reviews – both negative and positive – and how the response affected the conversion decision. Businesses that responded to over 8 percent of customer reviews, enjoyed 13.86 percent conversion rates. Other businesses that responded to only 5 percent of customer reviews enjoyed only 10 percent conversion rates. With that, you can start seeing that the decision to reply your customer reviews highly affects your profits.
When and how should you reply to customer reviews?
The answer to the question is not as straightforward as you might think. You have to study the intention of every review and work with those that can affect your business’ performance. You should be afraid of thanking your customer for leaving a positive review. It will only take you a few minutes to do that, but your action will improve the customer’s loyalty and keep him/her coming back for many years.
If the review is lukewarm, you should respond immediately. You are likely to save the customer. Their decision on whether to come back for more products or go forever will highly depend on the words you use. However, to respond to negative reviews, you have to think hard. Some of them might have malicious intent.