If you follow our blog or subscribe to our newsletter, you know that we usually like to write about responding to reviews: how to do it, what mistakes to avoid, why it matters, and more. But there’s another essential topic that we haven’t covered yet: how do you get those reviews in the first place? And what are the advantages of utilizing a review generation service? In short, why do customer ratings matter, and why is review generation so important for your agency and clients?
We’ll answer those questions in this week’s article — plus, take a closer look at some statistical trends around the role of online reviews in shaping consumer behavior. If you’ve been considering a review generation service, read on to learn how your agency could benefit.
Why Your Business or Agency Needs More Reviews
Why are online reviews important, and exactly how many does a business need? Let’s begin by answering the first question, including a quick discussion of the value of negative reviews — which, though dangerous for your brand if mishandled, provide valuable trust-building opportunities when managed by an experienced response scribe.
Next, we’ll investigate recent consumer data to determine the minimum number of online reviews your business should have. Finally, we’ll take a look at the advantages of leveraging a review generation service, such as Shout About Us, to collect ratings and feedback from customers. Whether you’re interested in generating reviews for your own agency, or you would like to provide review generation services for your clients, read on to learn all of the basics you need to know about this important element of online reputation management.
Why Are Customer Reviews Important?
According to a 2020 survey by BrightLocal, which used a sample of more than 1,000 respondents to investigate the impact of online reviews on consumer behavior, “Customer reviews play a key role in helping consumers to feel able to trust a business.” Data from the survey lends weight to this statement, such as the statistic that 92% of consumers are “less likely to use a business” with negative reviews, or that 79% of consumers “trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.”
Learn more about why online reviews — and replying to them — matters in 2021.
But How Could a Negative Review Be Helpful?
It’s counterintuitive to think that a negative review could be an asset to your business — especially when thinking about online reputation management. While a negative review can damage your image, it’s likewise true that a deft response to a negative review can build trust and, in some cases, even prevent the loss of a dissatisfied customer.
Negative reviews also provide valuable opportunities to learn from your customers and take corrective action. For instance, if you receive numerous complaints that specifically mention the quality of your customer service, it may be an indicator that it’s time to retrain your staff and/or overhaul some of your customer service policies.
Even when a review is negative, such as a 1-star rating, it’s important to make sure you provide a review reply on behalf of the business owner or manager — ideally, within 24 hours. The best way to handle a negative review is to address it calmly and promptly, whereas ignoring the review (or attempting to censor it) is likely to backfire on your company. To learn more about this subject, check out our article explaining how to leverage negative reviews to benefit your business.
How Many Reviews Should a Company Have?
Now that we’ve established why reviews matter, the next question to consider is: how many reviews should a business have? (And — as we’ll answer in the next section — how do you obtain them?)
Different sources provide different recommendations for the minimum number of reviews that a business needs. However, one study from Northwestern University, which looked at data from over 400 million consumers, suggests 20 reviews as the target minimum number for getting people to trust products.
What about reviews of businesses and service providers, such as, for instance, restaurants or medical providers? According to BrightLocal, “The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business” — a trend that BrightLocal’s researchers observed three years in a row.
But not only did the average consumer expect each business to have at least 10 reviews — they also expected those reviews to:
- Be recent. According to BrightLocal, “86% of consumers say they only look at reviews from the past three months, while a huge 73% say customer reviews must be from the last month to influence their choice to use a local business,” a modest increase from 69% the year before. Here’s another fact to consider: data shows that businesses with more than nine current reviews earn 52% more revenue than average.
- Reflect a minimum standard of quality. Not only did there need to be at least 10 relatively recent reviews — consumers also expected businesses to achieve a minimum star rating. In fact, ratings were identified as the most important trust factor of all, with BrightLocal stating, “In 2020, the overall star rating of a business was the review factor most influential on consumer choice.” According to BrightLocal’s survey data, “Only 48% [of respondents] would consider using a business that has fewer than 4 stars,” while a mere 19% — not quite one in five — “would use a business with fewer than 3 stars.” Conversely, more than one in 10 respondents (12%) said they would “only use a business with a perfect 5 stars.”
How Can You Get More Reviews, and What Are the Benefits of Review Generation?
What is the best method to collect more reviews, and what are some of the advantages of utilizing a review generation service? Read on for answers.
How to Generate More Customer Reviews
According to BrightLocal, 72% of consumers will provide a review when asked by a business. But what is the best way to go about asking?
There are a number of strategies your agency or brand can employ to collect reviews — for example, sending out emails, asking for feedback via social media, or simply asking customers in person. However, the simplest and most efficient route is to utilize a review generation service, such as Shout About Us, which enables your team to focus on its immediate priorities. So how do we approach the process of obtaining reviews for your business or clients?
With our proven process of generating positive online reviews, all you have to do is sit back and watch the comments roll in. Here’s an at-a-glance overview of how it works in just three simple steps:
- Set up email and/or text requests using one of our ready-to-go templates, or create your own custom requests that capture your brand’s unique voice and flair. Upon activation, you’ll have access to a variety of proven, effective text and email request templates which you can customize to suit your needs. Or, if you’d like to further personalize your requests, we can help you create your own fully customized template.
- Choose from a variety of manual and automated request options to guarantee the best results. Have a list of customer data? Upload a bulk request and send them out at your preferred cadence. Or, if you’d like to stay hands-off, we can easily access your customer’s contact information via your CRM/POS and send out requests automatically.
- View detailed progress reports to keep tabs on — and improve — your performance. With our wide range of reports, you can track your progress on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Simply customize which reports you’d like to receive, and Shout About Us will deliver them to your inbox at your preferred time.
With the option to choose a manual, hands-on strategy or an automated, hands-off approach, our review generation service makes review collection simple and intuitive. Whether your client prefers to send automated requests, or would rather manually send out personalized requests via email, SMS, kiosks, or your own white label mobile app — whichever strategy you choose, you can trust Shout About Us to provide flexible tools that meet your clients’ needs and exceed their expectations. Maybe that’s why so many agencies choose to work with our online review management service, including Qebot, CallSource, Suds Creative, 411 Locals Business Services, V Digital Services, and more.
What Are the Advantages of Using a Review Generation Service?
As we mentioned earlier, almost 80% of consumers trust online reviews from strangers as much as they trust their own friends and family members. That statistic demonstrates the incredible power of online reviews to steer consumer behavior, whether it’s toward — or away from — your business. Using a review generation service empowers you to start managing your reputation and gather actionable consumer insights, without having to lose efficiency or sacrifice valuable time.
Not only are ratings and reviews crucial to building consumer trust, they are also vital to maximizing your visibility. As Search Engine Journal explains, “Even though they are not a ranking factor for organic search, star ratings can serve as an important conversion element, helping you display social proof and build credibility.” Reviews can also help you rank in the local pack, which refers to a group of three local business listings that displays businesses related to the search query (such as “Los Angeles pizza” — see the screenshot below for a visual example).
By leveraging a review generation service, you can make it easier for more consumers to find — and trust — your or your client’s business. Here’s what Jas Jackson, Vice President of Business Development for CallSource, has to say about review generation by Shout About Us:
If you’re looking for a way to generate more reviews for you or your clients, look no further. Automation and integration were key concerns of ours which Shout About Us executes flawlessly. The solution is feature rich, easily customizable, cost effective, and client support is second to none!
Shout About Us Makes it Easy to Generate, Manage, and Respond to Reviews
Online reviews can help you increase revenue, earn consumers’ trust, improve your brand’s reputation, learn what your customers value, and climb in the local search rankings — so why isn’t your brand or agency leveraging a review generation service to help drive growth, generate leads, and connect with customers?
At Shout About Us, we offer an efficient turnkey solution for generating, monitoring, and responding to reviews on more than 75 of today’s most influential review sites. Additional sites can also be added to our platform on request, providing an effortless, fully integrated user experience.
In addition to generating reviews, we also provide Response Scribe — an innovative custom review reply service. A dedicated, trained responder will reply to all negative and positive reviews in your business’ unique voice, with 24-hour turnaround and unparalleled US-based customer support. Reviews are managed securely through our Review Navigator, which offers seamless single-dashboard response to Yelp, Facebook, and other major review sites. Write review replies yourself, or use our review response service to maximize efficiency. We even offer an award-winning mobile app for on-the-go business owners — along with daily, weekly, or monthly reports to track progress.
Find out how review generation, review response, and our other reputation management services can help your brand or agency — and your clients — build trust and generate leads in any vertical or industry. Book a demo to see it in action.
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with more than seven years of writing experience. She joined the Shout About Us team as a content strategist in 2020.