Customer reviews are essential for business owners as they can be seen as a form of free marketing to develop a budding business.
Whether the comments and reviews left are positive or negative is less critical than the number of reviews you collect.
Why are customer reviews important for your business?
It might seem illogical, but both positive and negative reviews can boost your sales and lead to more success for your flourishing business.
Well, because the more reviews you collect, the greater your exposure will be. With more reviews, you’ll have a larger slice of the digital pie, which means you will establish your business as a competitor in the online space. One of the biggest keys to success in business in the 21st century is building an online reputation, since if you don’t have an online presence to speak of how on earth will prospective customers find you?
Specifically, customer reviews will help your business climb local SEO rankings on sites like Google. This will cause your business to show up more frequently when customers search for services you offer in their local area. As such, customer reviews present a unique opportunity to capitalize on free marketing and catapult your company to further success.
Why can different types of Customer Reviews help boost your brand’s success?
First, securing different customer reviews will let consumers know that you are most likely a legitimate company. Believe it or not, many companies try to cheat their way to the top of the SEO rankings by paying for positive reviews. If you know what to look for, it’s obvious when this happens, and one of the main signs is a slew of glowing reviews usually in the same place. Have you ever been to a product page on Amazon before and been shocked at how well-received a product has been in the review section?
All we’re saying is don’t believe everything you read. As a business owner, one of the best things you can do to protect your online reputation is to diversify your approach to collecting customer reviews. Show consumers that you’re making a concerted effort by displaying social media testimonials, individual case studies, and even videos! There aren’t many people brave enough to lie in front of a camera for a company’s benefit, after all. Having different types of customer reviews can cement your legacy as a trustworthy brand and instill loyalty in your customer base.
But wait, there’s more!
If you have a variety of customer review types at your disposal, then you can use that as ammunition to fire on all cylinders across your social media platforms. With case studies and customer stories locked and loaded, you’ll be able to fire up your online presence with all kinds of inspirational posts which can help expand your audience and influence purchase decisions. There’s nothing less convincing than a business with no social proof. Social proof in business terms means that the claims you make are reinforced with real people’s opinions and experiences. If you don’t have social proof, you’ll likely have difficulty persuading consumers to choose your product or service over what the competition is offering.
Another compelling reason to collect customer reviews of all types is that you’re more likely to come across some negative feedback. While this may sound counterintuitive to actively seek out negative comments about your business, hear us out. In business, there’s rarely a situation in which everything is smooth sailing. There will inevitably be some form of criticism about your product or service, however unfair you may feel it is.
As a result, you’re unlikely to be able to avoid criticism, so why not embrace it?
If you can show consumers that you care what people say – even when it is negative – then you can demonstrate responsiveness and integrity. Consumers aren’t foolish, they will search for negative reviews about your service or product even if everything else they’ve read is positive. Human nature is to be skeptical about something that seems too good to be true, so this makes sense. When they do go searching for negative feedback, what you want them to find is critical comments and reviews that you have addressed. Rather than being met with negative reviews that have been left to sit and fester, you want consumers to see that you engage with all reviews and attempt to remedy the issues raised in the less flattering reviews. This will show that you are a company that has the interests of the customer at heart and that you are doing your best to improve the business with the feedback that you receive.
With all these business-boosting benefits in mind, let’s take a look at the 11 types of customer reviews you’ll want to collect for your company, and why.
11 types of customer reviews
While it’s easy to think that the only customer reviews are social media posts and photos, there are actually many different types.
From videos to case studies, customer interviews to brand ambassadors, let’s explore each type of customer review in detail so you can see how they could benefit your business.
1. Social Media Customer Reviews
The first type of customer review we’re going to look at is the social media review.
These days, if you aren’t on the internet you’re in the minority. The same goes for social media, with millions of users all over the world signing up for platforms with huge reaches such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
As such, doesn’t it make sense to harvest reviews from customers on social media?
We certainly think so. While not everyone posts on social media about products they’ve used, those that do can add social proof to your business and let others know that you are legitimate. The best part of this is how simple it is.
All you have to do to extract reviews from social media is conduct a simple search. For example, if you’re on Twitter, simply type in the name of your business into the search bar and see what comes up. If there are previous customers who’ve tweeted about your company, then this is a great opportunity for you to retweet their post or highlight it on your website with their consent.
This process is not only simple but it’s quick, too. If you’ve hired a social media manager, you can ask them to take some time out of their day every so often to track down reviews about your company and republish them in some way.
If you find that not many customers are using social media to post about your business, you can try to start a hashtag or encourage users to provide feedback and go from there.
2. Detailed Reports by Customers
If you want to grow your reputation as a brand, you’ll want some positive words from past customers to boost your online presence and lend credibility to your business.
One of the best ways of building a reputation is by securing detailed reviews from customers.
How are they different from your average review?
In short, these reviews go in depth on the product listing the customer’s extensive thoughts and feelings about it and perhaps also suggesting what could be improved.
This kind of detailed reports can prove essential for businesses as it provides them with lots of relevant information that they can then use to improve their goods or services. Think about it: would you rather receive a five-star review in which a customer claims that your product is excellent and nothing more, or a four star review in which the customer goes into painstaking detail about what they like and dislike?
While there’s nothing wrong with the former, since five star reviews will boost your visibility and customer trust, the latter is the type of review that can skyrocket your sales as it shows you what your weaknesses and strengths might be.
If you find that your customers are always leaving short reviews, you could even solicit longer reviews by requesting existing customers fill out a feedback form after they make a purchase.
3. Customer Stories
Since these days many of us are conditioned to seek instant gratification in the form of a snappy sentence on social media or a photo post, we often forget the value of storytelling in marketing.
It’s easy to underestimate the power a customer story can have to influence purchase decisions, but we’re here to tell you that it’s well worth your time. There’s a lot of distrust created by online marketing, but customer stories seem far more real and relatable, cutting through the nonsense and appealing directly to the consumer.
The best part of customer stories is that usually you only need one story to resonate with your customer base and it can bring in many more sales. Unlike online reviews which you might need hundreds of before consumers pay attention, just one or two well-written customer stories can positively impact sales and build trust in your business – provided of course that they are authentic!
4. Quote Customer Reviews
A simple customer review quote is sometimes all you need to sway consumers’ minds and persuade them to make a purchase.
The best quotes are those which go above and beyond the basic claims usually seen in customer reviews. Ideally, you want to quote customer reviews that encompass your brand’s identity and use the product or service in a way that enriches their lives.
If you run a shoe brand you don’t want to quote a customer who says ‘best sneakers I’ve ever worn’ as this can seem a little generic. Instead, spend time to find that one comment along the lines of ‘wearing these shoes makes my hikes 100% more comfortable and lets me walk without pain’. This level of specificity will appeal to consumers and feels much more real.
5. Case Studies
With a case study, you aim the spotlight at an individual customer’s experience in order to convince others how your product or service could positively impact their lives.
Unlike the testimonial, the case study goes into great detail describing the customer’s problem, and then how your product or service eventually solved it. Using case studies is a great idea because it uses the powerful marketing tool of storytelling to convince consumers to invest in your business, and builds trust in the process.
Think about it: a story about how the local doctor, David, struggled with foot pain on hikes until he tried out your brand’s shoes is much more convincing than a social media post from an anonymous user on Facebook.
There are some consumers that won’t be satisfied unless they see a photo of a previous customer with the product that they’re looking into. We’ve all done it: you’re on Amazon reading up about a volume-adding shampoo and you see positive comments, but you aren’t satisfied until you see proof. So you scroll down to the reviews section in search of customer-posted photos, to see if the product had the intended effect on their hair. The same applies to pretty much any physical product.
Even if you have flawless five-star reviews across the board, you will miss out on a large audience if there are no photos. Many consumers are visual, and need to see the product in action with their own two eyes. This is even more true in the digital age where we are all exposed to hundreds of photos a day, which can make reading through text seem tedious.
There are few things more personal than recording a video speaking candidly about a product or service you’ve used. As such, you can be sure that if you see a video testimonial from a customer then it’s likely because they like the product so much that they’re willing to overcome any nerves they might have about speaking publicly in order to heap praise on it.
If you go above and beyond to collect a couple of video reviews from your customers, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how you are rewarded in terms of growth and exposure.
8. Customer Interviews
A customer interview is exactly what it sounds like – a sit-down discussion in which you discuss their needs as pertains to your product or service.
The value of the customer interview is hard to overstate, as you will hear straight from the horse’s mouth whether or not you’re on the right track with your goods. You can conduct interviews via video call since that makes more sense in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, so there’s no excuse not to do them.
9. Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors are a key marketing tool for big companies that can take results to new heights.
A brand ambassador is someone who can boost your online presence through their social media presence and add social proof to your brand. It’s someone who will defend your reputation against defamation and give your company a human face. With the anonymity of social media, putting a face to a brand can be huge for securing customer loyalty.
Plus, you don’t need to break the bank to hire a famous celebrity, due to the rise of influencers. Influencers are people who have a large following on social media that can sway public opinion one way or another, so they can be hugely useful people to have as brand ambassadors.
10. Blog Posts as Customer Reviews
If you can drive more internet traffic to your company website, you will inevitably increase your sales. One of the best ways to reliably do this is to highlight blog posts that have been written about your product or service.
Usually, when bloggers write about a specific product, they will backlink the company website, leading to more traffic for you. As such, you should encourage customers to write blog posts about their experience with your company and link to them to boost your social proof.
11. User-generated Content as Reviews
User-generated content can kick up a frenzy around certain products and services, with everything from funny videos and montages to forum comments and website columns.
This type of content can bring something new to your marketing efforts, as it can spark emotion in the consumer. It could be a hilarious meme about your product and how it has helped someone in an odd situation or it could be a forum thread discussing the benefits of your product and how it has lent meaning to people’s lives.
The best way to make the most of UGC is to repost or republish it when possible across your social media accounts and/or website.