Why customer reviews are important

Did you know that 1,000 customers can generate nearly 500,000 conversations about your brand? That’s a lot of chatter for such a small portion of your customer base. These conversations, whether they’re happening online or in-person, are far-reaching and can be a huge marketing tool if leveraged correctly. Couple that with the fact that for 50 percent of consumers, word of mouth recommendations are the leading factor behind a purchasing decision, and it becomes clear just how valuable happy customers are.

Think about it this way: the product and service descriptions you have on your website are essentially short form sales pitches you’ve spent a lot of time and money to develop. But, try as you might, those sales pitches won’t ever read as very personal. Consumers are far too aware of how they’re perfectly crafted to sell a product, rather than to give an honest review of a product’s strength and weaknesses.

Customers’ thoughts and opinions, on the other hand, tend to be seen as more reliable and more honest than product descriptions and marketing copy. Potential customers won’t see these reviews as sales pitches (although they are just that) designed to persuade them to part with their money. Instead, they feel as if they’re really getting a complete, mostly unbiased view of your product and service. And for 50% of them, that’s all they need to be convinced to buy.

However, understanding that customers’ reviews can act as a great sales pitch for your company, and knowing how to utilize those customers’ thoughts and opinions are two different things. If your business is already collecting reviews, and doing so through a variety of channels, you’re off to a great start.

Turning customer reviews into lead generators

Customer reviews can easily be turned into lead generators through a variety of means. For example, ensuring that reviews can always be traced back to a real person, like reviews found on ConsumerAffairs, whether that means listing the reviewer’s first name and location, or linking their review back to their blog, business or website, is a great way to attract new clients who want that experience for themselves. Likewise, highlighting reviews that focus on tangible things, or actual ways your product or service helped their life, instead of fluffy “this company is great” filler is another surefire way to generate new leads.

But perhaps the best way to generate new leads through customer reviews is by ensuring that potential clients see themselves in those customers. If you have a celebrity or influencer that has positively reviewed your product, make sure to highlight that (potential clients will look at that and say, “oh, I know him or her, and I trust them, so I’m sure this will work for me”). Also, including a variety of personas in your featured reviews, allowing customers to see demonstrated success and satisfaction amongst others like themselves, is a great way to grab the attention of new clients.

Always be soliciting customer reviews

In the end, the most important thing to remember is that collecting a handful of satisfied customer reviews isn’t enough. In order to keep growing your business, it’s imperative that you are continually soliciting and collecting new thoughts and opinions. Developing relationships with new and existing customers, and responding to both positive and negative reviews, are essential for your growth. Customers can only be your sales pitch as long as they’re happy, satisfied and feel as if their experience genuinely matters to you.