It's pretty well documented that customer reviews can significantly increase click through and conversion rates. The're used quite a lot in B2C, but we rarely see them in B2B land.
Further evidence that 'Millenials' already in the workplace see online 'reviews' as a key part of the pre-purchase process; (link to article below)
"Millennials were more likely to reference reviews frequently than their older cohorts. For example, 37.3% of respondents ages 18 to 29 said they always looked at product reviews before making a purchase. By contrast, 19.3% of respondents ages 60 and older agreed".
Recent research from 'TrustPilot' (other review platforms are available) says "More than three-quarters of consumers now consult online reviews before making a purchase".
As a marketing guy, my teams and myself have utilised a number of customer 'review' tool kits, but the tool on its own is not much use unless its aligned to a transformational strategy.
When you strive to gain positive reviews it takes not only an aligned internal effort, it takes the organisation to adapt and engage in developing a 'listening' culture.
So, from my experience they do indeed have a significant impact on integrity and trust in a brand.
They've also proven to be a great piece of valuable information when sat in the boardroom, especially when the issues are around technical performance, product performance, or general customer service issues that are impacting our transformational strategies arise .
I have also witnessed how bad reviews can also have the opposite effect with huge consequences, and this one of the reasons I introduced them as a company KPI, and part of my monthly board report(s).
Some years ago I was working with a 'review' company who was developing a new extension to their 'review' platform. We discussed the ability for existing customers who had given us a number of high ratings and reviews to 'opt-in' and become part of a 'consumer advocacy' community.
In summary; existing customers who were also brand advocates because of there existing reviews (good/bad) could agree to be a 'reference' point for other customers who were undecided about making a purchase - a brave step forwards.
The call to action to the curious buyer went something like this (All A/B tested) "Want to ask an existing customer who also bought this product"?
The platform would manage all the relevant background interactions between both parties, with the brand and product development teams gaining insights around some of the customer views on brand experience, along with functional and product gap questions being posed by potential new customers .
To be honest I thought it was a pretty awesome way of building a community of self volunteering advocates, they would be a great asset for helping conversions, the more sales attributed to them a list of 'rewards' could be built in based on sales they had driven - a win, win you could say.
This was back in the day when companies thought that engaging in social media was all about promoting the latest offer, or product, or as a crisis management tool for those poor folks in Customer Service.
Today, the ability for you to engage with, and build like minded communities on social media has never been greater, but it does take a 'transformational' growth mindset, one that shifts your thinking from simply 'advertising', to listening, informing, educating, and encouraging your consumers to become the key advocates for your brand in the Social Media space of today.
Isn’t it time to put your customer advocates to work to increase sales?
Why is all this important you might be asking, well today's digitally savvy consumer, and your next client, no longer trust what you say about YOU.
Your website is probably the last place they go to when thinking about becoming a customer of yours.
We are active 'practitioners' of what we do, we already know and can evidence the ROI of a robust and internally aligned 'Social' strategy.
Part of that evidence it that you are reading this blog, just like many others - including your competitor!
We also don't do outbound pushy, salesy marketing, so if you would like to explore more, please contact the author of this blog.
In another sign that product reviews play an integral role in the shopping process, new data finds that roughly two-thirds of US internet users reference them at least often before making a purchase.