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3 Key Benefits of Customer Reviews (and Why an Integrated Platform Matters)
Why Reviews Matter
Consumers have more choices than ever before when it comes to the brands they buy and the companies they buy from.
As a consumer yourself, the access to so many choices might be viewed as a positive—you’re not “stuck” purchasing products from a company simply because they are the only option on the market.
As a business owner or stakeholder in your company, however, this presents some unique challenges.
- Your competitors are fighting for the same customer base that you are (and might have better brand recognition than you)
- Your customers or potential customers can easily choose to work with and buy from your competitors
- New strategies to differentiate yourself from your competitors are a must given that consumers have so many choices other than you
So, how do you (1) overcome these types of challenges, (2) seize the opportunities that exist as a result of an overcrowded market and new consumer behaviors, and (3) leverage these opportunities to grow your business and improve bottom-line results?
Two words: Social Proof.
Robert Cialdini, who studied the principle of social proof in-depth in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, said “we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it”.
Stated plainly, consumers feel that they are making the right choice if others are making that same choice.
Social proof is powerful.
A Simple Example of Social Proof – What Would You Do?
Think of yourself as a consumer for a moment – not a business owner or key stakeholder.
You’ve decided you’re going to go out to eat and you’re in the mood for a great steak.
You’ve always gone to the steakhouse down the street. You know the waitstaff and you’ve been pleased with your experiences so far.
But you know a new steakhouse opened a few months ago and you’re curious if it’s worth trying something new.
What would you typically do?
- Completely ignore the prospect of going somewhere new even though you have an option you didn’t have before?
- Just show up and take a chance that your $60 ribeye is going to be worth the money?
- Or search for the new restaurant online and check out their online customer reviews?
If you’re like the other 90% of consumers who were part of a BrightLocal survey, you’re going to read reviews for the local business you’re considering going to.
Now, how would your decision be influenced if:
- There were no reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or CitySearch?
- There were poor, 2-star reviews from customers?
- There were dozens or hundreds of 4- and 5-star reviews from other people in your area that dined there?
Since 73% of consumers say they trust a business more with reviews than one without reviews, and 63% are more likely to make a purchase from a business that has user reviews, it’s safe to assume if you found yourself in Scenarios A or B, you’d stick to what you know, and if you found yourself in Scenario C, you’d be checking out a new steakhouse.
This is social proof at work. The actions and perceptions of other consumers in your area would influence your actions/your choice.
Now, put your business owner/stakeholder hat back on.
What scenario do your customers and potential customers face when they are researching your pawnshop and competitors’ businesses online?
Are you making it a no brainer for those consumers to choose you?
Or are you creating space for your competition to steal your market share?
3 Key Benefits of Reviews
If you’re still on the fence about whether you’re going to invest in a review solution, take a look at these three key benefits to focusing on reviews.
Reviews Boost Brand Reputation
You’ve worked hard to create raving fans. Give them a platform to let their voice be heard. By asking for reviews you empower your customers to promote your brand by sharing their incredible experiences with your company.
- Increased understanding of your brand/business perception
- Increased visibility to customers, especially within search results
- Control over the first impression of your business
Don’t let your most effective advertising asset walk out the door without asking for a review!
Reviews Increase Online & In-Store Sales
The decision-making process for consumers is changing. The fact is reviews have an impact on the bottom line of a business.
According to Moz, 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. There’s huge potential to capture demand by simply having a presence online with positive reviews.
A study of customer restaurant reviews by Harvard Business Review revealed that “a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 % increase in revenue.”
Make it easy for customers to trust you and they will be far more likely to reward you with their business!
Reviews Help You Outplay the Competition
Collecting and promoting customer reviews is both an offensive and defensive business strategy.
As an offensive strategy—promoting your brand to capture the demand that exists in your market. You use it to capture new customers, increase sales, poach business from competitors and grow revenue.
As a defensive strategy, you use reviews to drive customer loyalty, stifling your competitor’s ability to poach your existing client base. You’re protecting what you’ve worked hard to build. . . a network of customers.
Use reviews to preach what you practice. You’ve spent years acquiring customers and poured countless resources into keeping them. Don’t let potential new customers slip away or risk losing your current customers to competition because you lack social proof.
Worried about asking your customers? Don’t be!
Nearly 70% of customers are happy to leave a review when asked.
Why an Integrated Platform Matters
Using a review solution that integrates with your point-of-sale platform is the easiest way to ask for, collect, and promote your reviews.
An integrated platform:
- Sends the review link directly from the point-of-sale platform to your customer
- Collects the customer review
- Automatically posts your positive reviews to Google, Facebook, Yelp, and CitySearch.
- Instantly adds the review to the customer profile in your point-of-sale
By contrast, if you’re using point solutions (products that solve a single issue but don’t “talk” to your point-of-sale), the process for collecting reviews is far less efficient.
A point solution:
- Requires manual work to ask for and collect the reviews
- Reduces the likelihood that your reviews will be posted in real-time
- Limits the number of consumers who will see your positive reviews in search results
- Doesn’t update the customer profile, leaving you with an incomplete understanding of who your loyal customers are
The power and importance of reviews are indisputable. It’s critical to make reviews part of your sales and marketing strategy today if you’re going to keep with consumer trends and outpace your competition.
Here are a few things to consider as you look to boost your review game.
- Create and implement a review program that engages your customers and encourages them to leave their positive feedback.
- Set a goal for the number of reviews your business needs. On average, at least 40 reviews are needed before consumers put trust in the overall rating.
- Maintain a consistent review campaign. Almost half of the consumers only care about reviews completed within the last two weeks.
For more relevant stats about the power of reviews, check out BrightLocals Local Consumer Review Survey 2020.
Learn more about how Bravo Review Booster helps pawnbrokers win and retain business, and why it’s better than other review products on the market.