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Collecting reviews gives you fantastic insight into how well your business is doing, from your customers’ perspective. Ian Lynch, Marketing and Communications Executive at reviews platform, Feefo, shares five top tips on getting your reviews strategy right – and making the most of that valuable feedback.

These days, the age of online shopping has empowered customers. Within a few clicks, customers can compare hundreds of companies, products and services, and they are more informed than ever about their options.

Figures from a recent report by BrightLocal reveal that over 90% of online shoppers read reviews  before making a buying decision. It’s the age old principle of ‘word of mouth’, on a global scale – and it’s easy to start hearing the voice of your customers, and using it to make your business better.

Asking every customer that buys your products or uses your service to rate their experience and leave their opinion can be an administrative nightmare. Fortunately, there are companies that will collect reviews on your behalf – but what should you consider when choosing your reviews platform?

Are you protected?

A new trend of fake and malicious reviews is taking root. Fake feedback is damaging businesses and misleading shoppers. Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom! There are ways to protect your business from people who leave false reviews when they haven’t used your store or bought your products.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been cracking down on some review sites in an attempt to prevent companies presenting a false picture. Recently, the Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) published three sets of guidelines on online reviews and endorsements.

Businesses that allow anybody to leave reviews, without verification, expose themselves to fakes that could damage their reputation. Last year, online retailer Amazon took over 1,000 people to court for selling reviews,  and Yelp.com admits that a quarter of online reviews could be fake.

The solution? Choose an invite-only review platform that nips the problem in the bud, by only allowing genuine customers to leave their review once a purchase has been verified. That’s feedback you can trust, which at the end of the day, is the only feedback that matters.

Keep it real

When collecting reviews, it’s tempting to pick out the negatives and sweep them under the rug, so that only the glowing five star reviews are shown.

But customers don’t expect you to get it right every single time, and you might be surprised to know that the occasional negative review can actually help your business.

For a start, eConsultancy reports that 68% of shoppers  actually trust feedback more when they see both good and bad scores, and 30% suspect foul play when they don’t see any negatives at all. Furthermore, shoppers spend four times as long on your website when they can make a more informed decision by comparing reviews.

Be the brand that customers trust by ensuring you display all of your unmoderated feedback.

An opportunity to shine

Collecting reviews is more than a way to hear from your customers. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to personally and publically respond – demonstrating your attention to customer service, thanking customers for their feedback or highlighting and resolving any issues.

95% of customers  would use a business again after a bad experience, so long as they took the time to address the issue quickly and efficiently. And with Gartner suggesting that companies in 2016 will mainly be competing on customer experience, with ‘responding to feedback’ at the top of the list, choosing a reviews platform that alerts you to new feedback, and allows you to quickly fix a problem, is paramount.

More people are checking out businesses on social media, like Facebook and Twitter. Integrating reviews directly into your social channels adds another opportunity to demonstrate trust and service with potential customers.

Rich, reliable data

There’s a lot of insight to be drawn from what your customers are saying. Companies using the Feefo platform can make customer feedback work for them with powerful analytics and reporting tools.

A great example can be found in Pet Drugs Online, who after collecting feedback through Feefo, began to use that data to make changes across their business. Everything from the products they stocked to how they were delivered was improved. By listening to their customers, they transformed their organisation.

The result? A growth of 31% versus a market growing at 8%, a Feefo service rating of 99% and a Net Promoter benchmark score of +87. And it all started with listening to the voice of their customers.

Making business better on the back of real reviews: that’s the power of reliable customer feedback working at the heart of your business.

Boost your brand

Reviews can do more for your business than provide amazing insights. They’re also responsible for getting your brand noticed, and standing out from the crowd.

That’s because search engines, like Google, use ratings and reviews from an approved list of review platforms to generate star ratings. These display in paid and organic advertisements and listings, boosting visibility in search engine result pages. That means when customers are searching, it’s more likely to be your store they find.

Google states that on average, having star ratings boosts the likelihood of a customer clicking through to your website by 17% – all from collecting reviews.

The benefits continue once a customer is on your website. Reviews that are independently collected have proven to increase sales. Customers reading reviews on products are more likely to buy them – and that makes sense: a survey from BrightLocal reveals that nearly 90% of customers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations – and that’s growing every year.

Feefo

Feefo are an independent reviews platform that collects authentic feedback on behalf of businesses, helping them to improve their online visibility, sales and insights. By ensuring that only genuine customers have the opportunity to leave their review once a transaction has been completed, Feefo are at the forefront of establishing trust and transparency online.

Ian feefo

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