The Importance of Customer Reviews (& How to Get More of Them)

November 15, 2023 10 min read

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon

Importance of Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are one of your most powerful selling tools as a business, but they don’t just happen.

While unhappy customers are quick to turn to review sites to voice their concerns, happy and loyal customers may not think twice about sharing their incredible experience — and those are the reviews that potential clients need to see.

This post discusses why customer reviews are so important for reputation management. We’ll also share how to generate and manage reviews that can help your business. 

Types of Customer Reviews 

There are several different types of customer reviews, including:

  • Ratings: Ratings are typically given a one-to-five-star ranking and often include a brief explanation. This is the most common type of customer review.
  • Quotes & Testimonials: Testimonials are often featured prominently in a brand’s marketing, either on their site or on social media channels. They can be written or include multimedia elements like images or videos. They’re almost always positive, and they may be part of a customer case study.
  • Videos: Video reviews typically feature interviews with happy customers. Customers and influencers alike may shoot videos showing how they use a product or service and their overall experience working with the company. 
  • Aggregators: Aggregator sites collect reviews from different customers for a single product or service, bringing them all together in one place. Popular examples of aggregate review sites for B2B and SaaS software products are G2 and Capterra

You can benefit from having multiple types of customer reviews online, including ones that are published on third-party sites and review platforms. 

Top Benefits of Customer Reviews

The importance of customer reviews can’t be overstated; they are incredibly powerful social proof that your product or service delivers on its promises. Let’s discuss the main benefits of consumer reviews. 

Build trust and create brand credibility in the marketplace 

Every business can claim that customer reviews offer a great solution. But when customers themselves say in their own words that a tool is valuable, reliable, and effective, it’s much more powerful.

It’s plain and simple: Online reviews help create trust. This is reflected in many customer service statistics

  • 76% of people “always” or “regularly” read online reviews for local businesses (BrightLocal)
  • Featuring customer reviews on a landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 270% (Spiegel Research)

Reviews are actually trusted 12 times more than other marketing materials, and some consumers trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations. This can help with both brand awareness and brand credibility, especially in crowded markets.

Both positive reviews and negative reviews can make an impact, with 52% of buyers saying they actually trust a brand more if there are a few negative reviews. For best results, leave the negative reviews up and address the reviewer, offering to find a solution. 

Shorten the sales cycle 

When buyers read reviews, they often feel more confident in their purchasing decisions. This is part social proof and part trust, but either way, it can accelerate the speed at which customers move through your pipeline.

Keep in mind that 89% of users will make a purchase within one week after researching reviews, and 68% of users read reviews while building their shortlist during the research stage of the typical buyer’s journey. 

Increase conversion rates and revenue 

There’s plenty of data showing that online customer reviews can significantly increase sales. This is partially thanks to the increases in trust and brand awareness we’ve already discussed. 

  • Products are up to 270% more likely to sell with even as little as five reviews 
  • Customers spend an average of 31% more with businesses that have great reviews 

Strengthen social proof 

Social proof can make a big impact on how customers perceive your brand. If you have a ton of great reviews, potential clients are going to take note. After all, your prospective customers want to be happy customers!

Reviews are particularly valuable as social proof when they stress how well your solutions worked for their specific needs. Reviews from consumers in different industries or customer segments can help potential customers see that you can help clients just like them. 

Boost search visibility 

Plenty of reviews can help boost your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), so it’s a vital part of SEO efforts.

Local search is often dominated by businesses with high star ratings, and businesses with the highest number of reviews are given priority. Therefore, generating as many positive reviews as possible can help you attract more clicks. 

Local reviews on Google Maps
Businesses with more reviews are listed first

This concept holds true on other third-party platforms outside of Google, too. Business profiles on social media or review sites with more consumer reviews often show up higher in a search, increasing your overall visibility as well. 

Collect genuine customer feedback

Buyers don’t always provide transparent feedback to their account representatives. Regularly collecting reviews is an opportunity to gather customer feedback that can not only help you attract more customers but also help improve your product and customer experience overall. 

Lower acquisition costs

In many cases, customer reviews can accelerate the customer journey. As the decision-making process is streamlined, businesses spend less time nurturing leads. They also spend less money attracting leads when potential customers can find them easily during the research process. 

This results in lower overall customer acquisition costs, increasing your ROI and revenue. 

Tactics to Get Genuine Customer Reviews

Business owners and marketing teams alike want more customer reviews, and there are a few foolproof tactics you can use to get them at scale.

Create a coherent customer review strategy

Determine where in the buyer’s journey you’ll ask for reviews and what messaging you’ll use. You should also consider which review sites you want to drive traffic to and whether you want to ask for reviews through business texting or email. 

Make it easy

If you want more business reviews, make it easy when customers go to write them. In your messaging requesting testimonials, provide a link that automatically opens to where users will leave a review. You should also have prominent review sections, functions, and links on your website or app so customers can easily access them at any time. 

Manage reviews carefully

Review management software makes it easy for you to assess and manage incoming reviews. It may also have features to display new reviews on your site, even if they come from third-party platforms. 

Incentivize reviews

When customers leave reviews on your website, offer them incentives like tickets, vouchers, gift cards, or discounts. You can also enter users into a giveaway if they leave a review. Keep in mind, though, that most third-party platforms do not allow this.

Use existing relationships

If someone on your team, either a salesperson or an account manager, has worked directly with the customer, have them ask personally for a review. Let them know how much it helps your brand, and in many cases, you’ll see participation increase.

Create a presence on popular review sites 

Make sure that you have a review section enabled on social media profiles like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You also want to create profiles on high-value review sites that are relevant to your customer segments; typically, these will be industry-relevant review sites. 

Act on what customers are saying

If you want more reviews in the future, show that you pay attention to the ones you already have. Interact with reviews when the platform allows it. Thank users for positive reviews, and address concerns in negative reviews. Take feedback under consideration and let them know you passed it along to the team. 

Get the timing right

Timing matters when you’re trying to collect reviews. Software or service-based companies typically benefit from asking for customer reviews within a day after a purchase is made.

Meanwhile, consumers are more likely to leave reviews for eCommerce brands after they’ve had time to use a product, so a few days to a week after the customer receives the item is best. 

Example of a built-in user interface
A built-in review interface makes it easy for customers to leave a quick response

To get the most out of your reviews, feature them prominently. Feature client quotes and particularly powerful testimonials on your homepage, and place relevant reviews on individual product pages.

You also want to consider how the reviews are displayed. Seth Godin recently wrote about how Amazon is changing its review display formatting and how that can impact customer perception. 

Updated Amazon reviews formatting
The updated formatting of Amazon Reviews gives additional context to the user (via Seth Godin)

In short, if you’re putting the customer experience first, you’re off to a good start. 

Related: How to Improve Online Reviews: Top Tips to Increase Rankings

List of Top Customer Review Websites 

In addition to featuring reviews on your own website, having profiles on relevant customer review platforms can be a great way to expand your reach and boost visibility. 

The review sites you should prioritize depend entirely on your business and your target customer segments. Let’s review some of the most popular review platforms in 2023. 

Review Site Estimated Monthly Traffic Industry
Amazon Customer Reviews 3.8 billion visitorseCommerce 
AppExchange 801,800 visitorsEnterprise software 
Better Business Bureau 13.2 million visitorsAll 
Capterra 3.5 million visitorsSoftware and services
G2 5 million visitorsSoftware 
Consumer Reports 11 million visitorsB2C and eCommerce
Edmunds 17.7 million visitorsAutomobile 
Facebook 2.9 billion visitorsAll
Google Maps and Search (previously “Google My Business”)89.3 billion visitorsAll (essential for local search)
Software Advice 1.2 million visitorsSoftware 
Home Advisor 5 million visitorsResidential contractors
Yelp 136.1 million visitorsB2C, hospitality, and consumer services
Zomato 14.6 million visitorsFood and beverage 
Tripadvisor 150.5 million visitorsHospitality and B2C businesses

The Takeaway: Easy Solutions to Manage Customer Reviews 

Happy customers are excellent, and if you can leverage that customer satisfaction to attract more customers, that’s even better. 

Business reviews have a direct impact on your bottom line, increasing potential leads, accelerating buying decisions, boosting brand awareness, and driving more revenue. They play a vital role in business reputation management.

Nextiva Reputation Management can help you create profiles on different platforms and integrate all your business reviews into a single dashboard. 

It’s an AI-powered review management tool that can help you assess customer sentiment, send automated responses based on review sentiment, and receive aggregate CSAT scores from multiple platforms. If you want to learn more, read some of our customer reviews

Generating, managing, and utilizing customer reviews should be a key business function. The right strategies and tools can help. Investing in both the customer experience and customer reviews can yield significant results.

Related: Review Marketing: 5 Ways to Accelerate Business Growth

Automation that takes your brand a step ahead

Manage and automate all your reviews in a single platform.

FAQs

Still have questions about the importance of customer reviews? We’ve got answers. Keep reading! 

How do reviews influence consumer decision-making?

Reviews directly influence consumer decision-making, as customers feel they can trust unbiased reviews from other consumers. They may look for customers with similar needs or pain points to ensure that your product can deliver on all its promises. 

Why are customer testimonials important?

Customer testimonials can help build trust in an overall brand, which can immediately increase trust in everything they offer — so long as they don’t feel forced. Genuine details about positive experiences and how they impacted the clients make strong testimonials. 

How can I track multiple locations and review sites? 

You can manually track reviews across various platforms in spreadsheets and get notified via email whenever you get a new review. This takes a ton of time and leaves you reacting to every review as it comes in. Using a reputation management solution like Nextiva automates this aggregation and pulls everything into a single dashboard. This way, you can save time but still respond quickly to new reviews.

What should I do about fake reviews?

Fake reviews are the only type of reviews you should try to have removed — even if they aren’t necessarily negative. Most review platforms have reporting systems that allow you to request the removal of fake reviews, and they may suspend the review while it’s under consideration. 

How should I choose which review platforms to use? 

Choose review platforms that your audience segments are most likely to use. For example, SaaS businesses will want to create or claim profiles on software review sites like G2 and Capterra, while hospitality businesses will want to look at platforms like Yelp and Tripadvisor. 

Ken McMahon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon leads Customer Success for Nextiva. His 25 years of experience leading various aspects of the customer experience including professional services, customer success, customer care, national operations, and sales. Before Nextiva, he held senior leadership roles with TPx, Vonage, and CenturyLink. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children.

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