Why customer reviews matter for your business

Yet many businesses are missing out on the benefits that customer feedback brings to the bottom line.

Consumers are looking for merchants they can trust – and feedback from previous customers demonstrates an established track record, which has a direct impact on sales. Andrew Mabbutt, CEO of the feedback service Feefo, explains why customer reviews matter.

People are already talking about you
Discussions about your business may already exist online, and it could be giving potential customers a skewed or even false perspective. Review sites that are reliant on customers actively seeking them out to post a rating will always drift towards the extremes, while the happy ‘silent majority’ are omitted. The lack of verification also means that ‘fake’ reviews have grown in prominence, impacting customer trust and offering misleading information.

Businesses shouldn’t shy away from this public discussion but instead take ownership of the process. By using a service that actively invites feedback from all customers, businesses can ensure that their online reputation is fair, representative and rewarding.

Consumers are presented with feedback they can trust, and businesses get meaningful insight from across their customer base. Negative reviews can be addressed immediately, and positive reviews boost employee morale and company reputation.

Customer insight makes good business sense
Without feedback, how do you know what your customers really think of the service received or the products they bought? Seeking customer insight allows businesses to address product or service issues and reward employees, identify trends and spot opportunities for product development.

– Increase your Google rankings and click through rates
Customer reviews don’t just give you good insight – they can also boost your SEO performance. Online reviews offer keyword rich, user-generated content, which factors into the Google search algorithm, boosting page rankings.

With Feefo, for example, once customer reviews are left, they’re instantly visible, both on Feefo and the merchant’s own website. As a Licenced Content Provider, the data is then fed to Google, meaning improved PPC Quality Scores and an increase in click-through rates.

– Reduce distractions, increase conversions
It is now thought that 80% of your website visitors will never return. The average online customer journey is constantly disrupted, and minimising the chance that a consumer leaves your webpage in search of reviews is a big part of creating an optimised sales funnel. Displaying independent reviews on your own website not only demonstrates transparency and increases credibility, but also reduces your bounce rate and, ultimately, increases conversion rates.

– Think omnichannel
Businesses that ask for feedback from online purchases often neglect their in store customers, or seek feedback using completely different methodologies, making true comparisons difficult – but today’s omnichannel marketplace needs an omnichannel feedback strategy.

Customer feedback should help to deliver a universal customer experience. Potential customers are looking for feedback that is representative of a retailer’s whole channel mix – and retailers should also be chasing multichannel insight that they can analyse and action.

– Improve customer engagement
It’s now believed that 80 per cent of future business revenue will come from just 20 per cent of existing customers. The ability to engage with customers and build brand loyalty will play an increasingly strong role in determining success. Asking for feedback offers another touch-point to engage with customers post-sale (especially important for bricks and mortar businesses, that might traditionally have relied on customers revisiting the store).

In the right format, customer feedback can radically enhance your business. Not only from the insights and loyalty built from your customer base, but also in for the quick-wins of increasing your conversion rate, driving traffic to your site and offering a post-sale touch-point.

Andrew Mabbutt is CEO of Feefo, the global feedback engine, which provides businesses with verified customer feedback across all sales channels and sectors. Feefo is offering a free trial to any retailer who wants to experience Feefo for themselves – visit www.feefo.com for more information.