The importance of customer reviews (and how to get them)
We all agree that “people buy from people”, but their first contact will often be your website.
So, how do you make them feel that they know you well enough to buy from you (whether “buy” is a product, a phone call or simply signing up for a newsletter)? Enter customer reviews…
From an infographic at http://ow.ly/PTROk about how people research the web before they take the plunge to buy:
- 82% of people find customer generated reviews valuable or extremely valuable
- 63% of consumers are more likely to buy if it has ratings / reviews
- Customer reviews create a 14% increase in conversion
In fact, our experience is that the conversion can be increased significantly more than that 14%.
Looking at the one of our customer’s websites, we found that people who looked at the “Clients-say” page where the reviews were (2) were much very more likely to convert than both the average (1) and those who saw the Customer Gallery (3).
So, pictures were better than nothing, but it was the recommendations that persuaded people to take that all important step.
By putting recommendations on the Home Page we not only increased the percentage of conversions by almost 50% (1), the value of those conversions also went up by nearly 30% (2):
So, there is no doubt that people want some kind of “social proof”, but how do you get those all-important recommendations?
There is a simple answer – ask!
Statistics from a call centre showed that if someone phoned up and asked how much something cost, the call agent achieved 50% more sales by saying “£5, would you like one?” rather than just answering with “£5”.
As long as you think it is appropriate, whenever you make sale, ask your customer if they would mind writing a short review. Things to bear in mind:
Don’t make it sound like you are twisting their arm (too much!)
Make it easy (i.e. provide them with a link that goes directly to where they can complete the review)
Do it so that the review identifies the reviewer (with a photo if possible)
We like Google Plus both because it is free and, for some reason, Google likes it too! And, if you use Google AdWords, you only need 5 reviews to get stars against your ad and make it stand out from the pack.
Make this part of your sales process – it isn’t a one-off, it should be happening all the time. There is nothing worse than going to a site that has a handful of reviews, but they were all on the same day and that day was several years ago! Google likes fresh content and so do users. Over time you will build up a mass of social proof that will make your product much more believable.