Previously Published On LinkedIn as, ” Ratings and Reviews Rule the Web and What You Should Do About It“
Did your dentist’s office used to have a three-ring binder on the waiting room table? Mine did. It was full of letters from satisfied customers in plastic sheet protectors. Testimonials from a satisfied patient that arrived in the mail.
Testimonials. Ratings. Reviews.
The ultimate expressions of gratitude online today…even better than a thumbs up or a barrage of fire emojis, are reviews and ratings.
Have you thanked someone for great service? Have you told someone’s boss that they have a stellar employee? I’ve worked in both sales offices and call centers. Customers rarely call support or sales to offer a compliment or say thank you. We reach out to complain when things don’t go as expected. As a result, businesses work hard to survey customers and solicit feedback. How much does your business benefit from good ratings or positive reviews?
Online reviews and ratings drive business today. It’s easier to do than writing a letter. Giving rewards for quality products and services is at our fingertips. We can put that “Gratitude energy,” back into the universe in a way that is truly helpful.
I’m guessing that there aren’t three-ring binders in anyone’s waiting room anymore. However, both having gratitude and offering testimonials for a job well done are no less important. The internet has become a vehicle for learning about what service or product you will choose long before you try it. You post on Facebook asking “Know a good barber?” or “What’s your favorite Thai restaurant?” Once you have a short list, what do you do next?
You check the reviews. You see how many stars and ratings have been posted. It has become part of how we decide to buy most everything. We even use ratings to decide what recipe to use for making meals at home.
Online Ratings and Reviews Have Influence
Online reviews and ratings drive business. Testimonial Engine says that 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews. Positive reviews and ratings are the linchpin for attracting new business. They are more important than your own content for top of the sales funnel lead generation. The influence that online reviews have on consumer and business buying decisions is profound. Third party validation prior to making a decision to act gives the buyer all the power. According to a 2018 survey conducted by BrightLocal:
Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use local businesses.
Negative reviews stop 40% of consumers from wanting to use a business.
91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews equally as much as personal recommendations.
Online reviews and ratings are so important that in 2016 Congress passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act, which prevents businesses from punishing or threatening customers for leaving a negative online review. Businesses won’t last long if they provide inferior service or products.
The reviews that we have access to are better qualified and authentic. Our snapshot of a product or service has gotten deeper and broader in many cases where it’s needed. A One-to-Five-Star Rating isn’t always enough. G2.com, for example, provides detailed ratings and reviews of business software and services. When viewing a software vendor’s product the criteria that you can use to make an informed decision are deep and wide because the data is now being collected and used appropriately.
Business Today Must:
1. Pay attention to reviews.
2. Ask for ratings and reviews (72% of us are more likely to give a review when asked!)
3. Respond to reviews. Hubspot has a great 10 minute read on this: The Ultimate Guide to Responding to Positive and Negative Google Reviews [With Examples]
As an organization of any kind, business, non-profit, school or healthcare provider, I encourage you to have a strategy for ratings and reviews that is integrated with all departments and business functions – not just customer service. *
I want to encourage your generosity and inspire you to write more reviews and give more ratings.
We’re Still A Bunch Of Lurkers Online
The Wide World Web has become a high speed delivery service for all manner of goods, services and communication – good and bad. This is an opportunity for good. As a web world, far more of us consume than create. The 1% rule applies to most every community online. 90% of us consume and observe, 9% participate and 1% create. However, when I consider the importance of ratings and reviews to the process of attracting customers and generating leads for new business, it seems like a great place to express gratitude.
Perhaps you’ve written a recommendation for a student or an endorsement on LinkedIn for a vendor? We all want and need this kind of testimonial. We all need to ASK to be reviewed and to be prepared to act on the feedback. We hope that our businesses and products get the magic 5 stars. Why not make it a regular practice to give great ratings and reviews when they are earned and deserved?
Where Do you Give & Get Your Reviews
The number of websites used to encourage ratings or aggregate reviews is on the rise. [I’ve included a list of some of the major Ratings and Review sites below]
Where do we look? ReviewTrackers survey data says that 63% of consumers check Google My Business reviews first. Makes sense as Google is #1 for Web traffic globally. Facebook, Amazon and Yelp follow in that order.
Some of the most popular review and ratings sites can be found below. There are many lists of review sites online.
Facebook – link to Facebook Recommendations, an Underrated Gold Mine For Social Proof which covers:
- Why Facebook recommendations are important for your business
- How to attract more Facebook reviews
- How to convert positive reviews into traffic, leads and revenue
Sitejabber ratings and reviews of businesses including Home, Garden, Art and Fashion
Manta ratings and reviews of business including Industrial, Agriculture and Technology
Doctor.com offers profiles, listings, ratings and reviews for private practices and hospitals
Side Note: Although Bing is behind in share of search traffic, it is worth noting that they offer a free business listing and opportunity to develop ratings. Bingplaces.com. Take advantage of it – it’s free real estate. Anytime you can influence your search results in a positive way it’s worthwhile.
Once a Day Have Something Nice To Say
Give reviews. Rate products. Provide worthwhile data for others to make the same kinds of decisions that you are making. Are you going to write to let someone know they did a great job? Wonderful. If not, at least mention them in a review. There is a lot of talk about gratitude in business. This is how you can execute.
Perhaps this is a good time to start providing as many testimonials and good reviews as we want to get?
*A strategic approach to ratings and reviews is a component of an effective modern digital business. It should be a component of the digital transformation discussion particularly in sales enablement, if it is not already. Further, it is a component of growing online community AND, it is part and parcel to better results and metrics in online employee and customer communities.
- Ridings, Catherine & Gefen, David & Arinze, Bay. (2006). Psychological Barriers: Lurker and Poster Motivation and Behavior in Online Communities. Communications of the Association for Information Systems. 18. 329-354. 10.17705/1CAIS.01816.
- Belleflamme, Paul and Peitz, Martin, Inside the Engine Room of Digital Platforms: Reviews, Ratings, and Recommendations (February 22, 2018). Working Papers, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, WP 2018 – Nr. 06 . https://ssrn.com/abstract=3128141
- Sinan, Aral, (2013, December 19) The Problem With Online Ratings. Retrieved from https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-problem-with-online-ratings-2/
- Helversen, B.V., Abramczuk, K., Wiesaw K., Nielek, R. (2018). Influence of consumer reviews on online purchasing decisions in older and younger adults, Decision Support Systems and Electronic Commerce, https://www.journals.elsevier.com/decision-support-systems
- Alexa Web Site Rankings by Category: Consumer Opinion