Online reviews and customer ratings have become a real testimony of how your business will fare in the market.
Negative reviews are inevitable, but that doesn't mean it's the end of your reputation.
In our new webinar, '50 Shades of consumer: how to stay on top of your reviews', we'll discuss how you can benefit from the feedback you received, both negative and positive, and drive your business forward.
Watch the recording, and learn:
- The benefits of responding to reviews
- How to respond to positive and negative reviews
- 8 Tips for improving customer satisfaction
- Reporting for the right reasons
How to stay on top of your reviews
On the agenda today is four kind of hot topics, and one is the benefits of responding to reviews, how to respond to positive and negative reviews, and eight tips for improving customer satisfaction. Finally, reporting for the right reasons.
So I think this is probably one of the big things about Trustpilot, our reviews in general, is that it's so open these days that a review actually can find themselves in so many mediums. So reviews are constantly in the news at the moment, whether it be the way that people respond to reviews or actually more research about reviews as well. So there's some great links there to a couple of articles, but why you can't really trust negative reviews, for example, is one. We're looking at really how people interact with a negative review. A lot of the time it's after a bad experience and looking at actually the most valid review, sometimes they're sort of three star reviews, which give a balanced opinion of an experience. So there's some great information there as well if you want to have a check out of that.
Responding to reviews: the benefits
We'll kick off with the benefits of responding to reviews. So I guess, essentially, there's four really key things when responding to reviews. Should I respond to reviews? And the answer to that is absolutely. Can responding turn into revenue? Can I save unhappy customers with a response? And, will responding to reviews improve your retention rates?
So of course responding to reviews can be turned into revenue. I think the key stat on this is that 69% of shoppers who trust online reviews take purchasing action after reading reviews alone. So by engaging with your consumers and responding to both the positive and negative reviews, you're showing potential customers that you care, and you're then able to resolve any bad reviews or negative experiences.
There's probably two places this is really going to impact is that when someone finds your reviews, if they see you engage with your reviews, that's a place where you're probably going to see acquisition through that. But the second is actually rescued people as well.
For example, my mom got a new fence and she was really happy with them and she'd been recommended them by a friend. They came over and did it, and there was one tiny thing. So, once she actually told them that she'd had a bit of a negative experience, but overall I think it was something like one of the panels fell out, they came out and sorted it really quickly that day. And overall she left a really positive review about that company and then recommended them to all of her neighbors. So they all have pretty much the same fence now. So, I mean, it just goes to show you that one negative experience out of a whole experience doesn't necessarily mean that you're not going to go back to use that company and you're not going to recommend them. If you can resolve that issue really quickly, overall, essentially you only remember the good things, because you're ending with a better experience.
Will responding to reviews improve your retention rates?
Absolutely. By actually actively inviting your customers for feedback, unless you're asking them about their experiences, typically you might not know where there has been a negative experience and sometimes it comes down to maybe one factor that you can then change within your business to make those improvements. And moving forward that all of your customers have a better experience overall. And essentially, if you're resolving those issues really quickly, a customer's more likely to come back and use you again.
I think, if you just use an example, my phone company, for example. I've used them for 10 years now. And I've spend every single month with them. But I've had problems in the past with bills and the likes. And if they hadn't responded the way they would have, I probably would use one of their four main competitors now. I'd probably use them for the next 10 years. So you're not just losing the customer for that one-time purchase, you might actually lose them for another 10 years worth of customer. And who knows what that's really worth to your business.
I think it's really important to think of the lifetime value of a customer. So thinking long term rather than short term is key. So, I mean, another stat there is: Shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews, convert 67% more than the average consumer. I think that's really interesting.
Those are probably the most serious buyers out there. Because they're probably at a decision point and they want to find out not just about the products, but about how you treat your customers.
Your negative reviews give your positive reviews more weight as long as there's not too many of them.
This is really the benefits of responding publicly to your customers. I think one of the things to really remember about using Trustpilot to reply to your customer basis, this is a real public forum. We're now the 78th most visited website in the whole of the UK. It's a destination site. People are going there, so by actually really engaging with your customer base, it's going to give you a few things. You're going to show customers that you care, you take them seriously, which is, when you're looking at your competition, for example, it's where you can really stand out and it enables you to build trusted relationships with those customers.
It's not just about the one purchase they're going to make, it's about the next five. So you can really build a relationship with that customer. Make them feel like a real brand advocate. They're probably going to come back.
And it gives your company a chance to be more transparent as well and build a real brand voice. And I think in an era of that the internet and fake news, the transparency thing is a huge topic at the moment. And people don't feel like they're dealing with companies who are open and honest and you can really rely on. And then resulting those issues for unhappy customers helps you to win them back. Which equals stronger brand and revenue.
Why bad reviews are a positive thing
This is something that I talk about on a regular basis, because I honestly believe that having a mix of reviews, which are mainly positive is a really good thing. Having a couple of negative reviews also, as I said before, it gives it a lot more weight to your positive reviews because as a consumer myself, what I'm looking for in a negative review is what that company does to try to resolve the issue, and if they actually care. As humans, we all make mistakes and businesses do the same. So if I order something online and the delivery is late, but that company does everything it can to try and solve that issue, I'm definitely going to get it back and buy from them again, because I know that if something goes wrong, they'll actually sort it out.
So building your reputation is key. 83% of people appreciate brands following up on a complaint with a response or an apology. Increase in conversions as well. So 60% of consumers have higher expectations for customer service now than they did just one year ago. And that is only going to get higher. So when you're purchasing online, if it's a company that you haven't bought from before, you're definitely going to be looking for that social proofing to make sure that you have trust in that brand and that company.
And we were speaking about it earlier, companies like Amazon completely changed the game because before you might buy something online, there was sort of an excuse, oh it came online, so it might be a couple of days late.
You now have next day delivery. You have companies like Amazon, where you can buy things so easily and quickly now. But as a consumer, I have so much choice about where I go to and the customer service of your competitors will probably be exceptional. We just have a higher level of expectation. So, 70% more customers will come back to use you again if you respond quickly to a review.
It works with improving customer service as well. But the last point was about what happens if you just don't know about the issue, like you said about delivery. You might be using a third-party courier. If no one brings that to your attention, then the rest of your customer base are probably experiencing a similar problem.
How to respond to positive and negative reviews
One company who does it really well here is Linn Systems Ltd. And the reason why we pick these guys out is because of the way that they respond. So the first thing is that they're using a genuine and unique response. And that's about it really. If you wrote a review, you received a stock message that was copied and pasted back, you wouldn't feel like they've taken your problem seriously, or even actually valued your comment. On the other side as well is a customer who's just bought something from them, I've taken my time to say that they're a five-star company and recommend them to other people. And if you don't get a genuine or unique response, you feel slightly devalued.
So one of the key things here is that they are addressing the person by their name and then going through and saying about their purchase. And that's a great thing to do for a positive review. But for a negative review as well, to have a personal message, to then take that conversation offline to resolve the problem and respond in a really quick manner, shows that firstly, you care about your customers and you value your customer service. But then, secondly, it's about resolving things. And hopefully I think what Laura will go into next is how you can turn that person to a five-star comment afterwards.
Acknowledging and apologizing for the issue and anxiety caused to your customers it the only thing that people look for when writing a negative review, really.
So how to turn a negative review into a positive one? This happens a lot.
I mean, if you think about a customer experience as a whole, typically when someone is writing a negative review, it comes down to one element of that experience, and that could be something as simple as delivery or the products was damaged on arrival. So as a business, how can I change a customer's mind? I guess it goes back to your response and how you actually engage with that reviewer and try to resolve the issue. So the most important things are to provide a contact telephone number or email so that the customer can actually follow up or if you actually have, or can identify that customer directly contacting them. So you can take a conversation offline.
So responding quickly is essential. So if that customer has left that review, that experience, or that negative experience is still a role, if you can actually jump on to that review straight away and actually contact them directly, it's going to be easier to resolve. And you have a much higher chance of saving them as a customer, because it shows you care. Again, reach out privately if the situation warrants. So if there's something like in the negative review before where it was actually a problem on the business's part, and they've acknowledged that, and they've actually reached out to that customer to try and sort the issue out and apologize.
You don't want to engage in slinging mud with your customers in a public forum. Sometimes actually taking it offline, resolving the problem there, is much, much more prudent than ending up in a sort of tit for tat match, where it just doesn't look professional. And it shows potential customers looking at that review that you do have customer service team in place, or you have processes in place that deal with these situations. So they kind of have a bit of trust in you as a company that if something goes wrong, someone is there to sort it out and a little tip is that once you've resolved the issue and overall that customer's then happy with that experience, you can then invite them to update their review or write a new one once it's resolved.
As you can see on the thing there as well, that's reading a five star experience from a negative. So the negative thing was such a small part of the journey for that customer, actually in the end, they left feeling like it was a great, great experience. So that's always worth better than one. And then we practice what we preach here as well. I think the big thing about Trustpilot is that we want to help create ever-improving experiences for customers. That's our main goal. So for Trustpilot here you can see that we have five-star reviews and we want to engage with those customers. Thank them for their time and for reviewing and for using us.
But you can see on the right hand side of that, we have a two-star review. And that's actually more about our guidelines. So what we want to do is we want offer an education piece, firstly, just to allow them to really know what's up, how to use Trustpilot better. At that point, roughly the contact, our compliance team who are on hand to really talk through that issue. The thing for us, that person's written eight reviews. We want them to carry on engaging with Trustpilot. So it's all about really engaging with that customer and making sure that at that point we can really, I suppose, enrich their experience of using Trustpilot. And so in the future they don't come across the same problems. Hopefully that person becomes a five-star user again.
4 Tips for improving customer satisfaction
There's a couple of things here. So I mean, we'll start with how to do it right.
1. Approach the problem with a Zen mind
There's no point in taking a negative review personally and getting angry about it. As a business, it just reflects really badly on you. And from a retention aspect, you're going to lose that customer if you start getting into an online dispute or a battle. The best thing is to acknowledge where something has gone wrong, apologize, and to try to resolve the issue.
2. Getting a better understanding of the situation
Again, taking that conversation offline, giving them the contact details to reach out to you or reaching out directly to that customer to try and drill down into where or what the issue is. Provide real-time, actionable solutions. So jumping onto that review straight away and actually giving a solution and thanking that customer for their feedback. They've either gone out of their way to leave that review on that page, or they've actually responded to an invitation that you've sent. So they've taken that time out of their day and you should actually appreciate that feedback as being feedback that you can then use to improve your business. So yeah, that's really important.
It's an extra touch point as well. Once the customer has finished their purchasing, it's another chance for you to remind them why they should be using you again.
3. Don't ignore bad reviews
It doesn't help. It's a public forum, people can see it, as we've sort of gone over throughout these slides. What you've got to remember about bad reviews is it's not just about the customer who's had a bad experience, it's a perception of the business you're creating by ignoring them. So we're not saying that every single type of consumer is right. Far from it. But what you need to do is actually just appreciate if they feel they've had a negative experience. Some replies that I see from companies explain where they think they haven't gone wrong, but in a really calm manner, taking it offline straight away afterwards to then resolve the issue. So that's a big one.
I think hiding bad reviews, again, it's pretty hard to hide from a bad review. Some places you can pick and choose who reviews you or what goes up on your website. That's not what Trustpilot's all about. I think one thing to remember is they're going to find somewhere to really voice their opinion and Trustpilot, being the open community that we are, and the place, a destination for reviews and reviewers to go, then they're going to go to Trustpilot if you don't give them the opportunity elsewhere anyway. So hiding bad reviews really isn't an option. And then, when you're trying to resolve your customer's problems, I think one thing that's always quite tempting is to promise a lot, and when you haven't really got the capability of delivering on those promises. Then what you've got to remember at that point is you've got a frustrated person there. You then promise them that you're going to resolve things and you create another problem, probably exacerbate the actual original situation. So make sure that everything that you're going to promise is actionable.
4. Do not take it personally
I do get this, I had my own small business too. And if people say something bad about your baby and you've probably spent two years developing it and it becomes personal. You've got to remember that when they're talking about their experience, they're not talking about you, they're just talking about something that's happened within your company and that's absolutely invaluable feedback. That's how you improve, that's how you grow as a business. So I think that's one of the big things is just to remember that they're not attacking you personally. What they're saying is that this has happened to me and I want it resolved. And then go and do that.
Don't let the other point is that they've taken time out of their day to give you that feedback. So you can make improvements, which will only help you to improve that customer experience.
To sum up...
So as a few key takeaways, I think the kind of main ones are that by proactively kind of engaging with your customers and actually collecting reviews will ensure that you actually have a more representative score. And actually the feedback that you do have kind of reflects your overall customer base and their overall opinions and experiences. So engaging with your consumers and inviting them to leave a review is the best way to do that. Without a review strategy, you risk being overlooked. As you said before, reviews are becoming more and more important to consumers. And as an online business, if you ignore that, then you're going to get left behind.
I think one of the big things there is that you've got to remember as an online business, your service, or what you're selling, is probably sold elsewhere. So yeah, it is probably sold at a similar price point. So what's going to separate you? Most businesses we talk to will say their customer service. So you have to have a way of showcasing that.
It is really about showcasing that reputation across the whole customer journey from the point where they search for a product or a brand search is really about demonstrating that your customers rate you highly across that whole journey and making yourself stand out. So responding to reviews will help you to keep your customers and reduce cart abandonment. So responding to reviews will obviously help to establish trust within your business from a new customer point of view, but also to retain the customers that you do have by improving that customer experience and, again, resolving any issues. So 68% of all e-commerce shoppers abandon their shopping carts. And that's something as an online business, you want to make sure doesn't happen to you.
I think you have to ask why as well. Why do online shoppers probably abandon at that point? I'd imagine it's because they're not that confident. They're not that confident in your business, or they're going to go and research about your company elsewhere before they press buy. So at that point, what we found is actually by showcasing your reviews at that point to give them confidence, that's how we help to reduce that cart abandonment.
Keeping it relevant to what they're looking for. So at checkout, showcasing your delivery guidelines and reviews about delivery. I think really important to that is that 66% of consumers say that online reviews are their most trusted form of recommendation. So it's genuine social proofing to create trust in your business that will help you to generate more sales so that you're not reducing, or they're not abandoning their cart. Because you spend a lot of money to get people to that point. So it just seems like such a shame to lose them right when they're about to convert.
I think one of the big things as well, imagine if you're a business, you could reduce cart abandonment by 10% and bring it down to 58%. How about that 10% extra customers pressing buy. If you think about your cart size and the amount of money you spent getting there in the first place, it's a big difference for your business.
If you're doing everything else correctly, then they're going to come back and buy from you and they're going to recommend you to a friend. So this is a really important stat.
Reporting for the right reasons
Let's move on to reporting for the right reasons as well. So reporting for the right reasons, I think with Trustpilot being the open community that we are and all about helping businesses and consumers, independence and we have both, we have a very strict set of guidelines, user guidelines. So when you're looking at reporting, somebody that's reporting a review, I think the first thing to remember is reporting a review just because you don't want to see it on your page, it's not going to change anything. At that point, what will happen is that review will go back up. You haven't dealt with the issue, you haven't responded quickly, like we've talked about throughout this whole slide. One of the things that's really important is that if you do think something breaches our user guidelines, we're also here to protect you as a business and we're here to protect our customers. We're independent on both. It's key to really understand that.
So our user guidelines of that. If you look through our user guidelines, you can see what's acceptable on the platform and what's not. If you feel something breaches them, just make sure you put it under the right reporting reason. I think the reason why this is key is it speeds up everything for you. If you're reporting things under the right columns and the right guidelines, it helps the compliance team move your ticket along quicker. So we all get the result we want from that.
How to report a review that breaches our guidelines
You can report reviews through your business account. And this applies to everybody that has claimed their Trustpilot page. So from free to one of our business plans. And we have a reporting tool on the backend, which will allow you to report that review and give a valid reason. I mean, there are a couple of reasons why you would report a review, but it has to be a valid one.
To give you some confidence about this as well, we invest really heavily in AI technology to stop fake reviews coming onto the platform in the first place. That's through our AI that we have, but secondly our compliance team is absolutely huge. It's bigger than anyone else's in the industry. So these guys are actually physically going out, contacting potential customers of yours and trying to resolve breaches either to get them to change the wording of their review or to actually remove it completely. So you do have real backup with Trustpilot as well.
Reaching out to organic reviewers
We actually launched a tool called Find Reviewer. So reporting a review should be the last resort. Our Find a Reviewer tool basically allows businesses to kind of reach out to that reviewer, to verify them, and to identify them and to kind of set up a two-way communication channel to actually find out what the issue is.
I think the big thing here is, again, it's about the fact that there's ever-improving experiences. That person has gone on to your site to leave a review because they want something to change. They want something, they want help. So, what this will allow you to do is add extra context as well. So instead of just replying with a stock message, by going through Find Reviewer, hopefully you'll be able to find their order ID number, you can find out what went wrong, and then you can have a really constructive end to the story.
It really is about giving businesses the tools to make sure that they can actually resolve that issue quicker. So it just speeds that process up.
I think that's what we were talking about a minute ago, we're here to help. These guys you could see are compliance agent. These are real human beings. They're working with you. They're trying to make sure that everything on Trustpilot meets our guidelines. And that's our aim, is to give real information.
If you have any more questions, we have a ton of blog posts available that might help you out. If you're interested, click the link below!