The landscape of consumer knowledge has drastically changed over the last decade as technology and information are readily available at a consumer’s fingertips. Shoppers desire to do research, come to conclusions on their own, feel reassured, and become connected to companies on their own time. Since this shift in consumer behavior, reviews are now playing a larger impact on conversion rates than ever before.

The real question becomes: How do we use review collection to improve conversion rates?

Review collection is an ongoing commitment to prompt customers to leave feedback, respond to those customers, and resolve complaints in hopes of turning negative sentiment into positive advertising. An engaged customer base can affect a large pool of future customers. To take advantage of this, companies must make a commitment to continually collect feedback and reviews about their service, product, and their customers' overall experience.

Shoppers want to research and learn from people who have already had an experience with the product or service they are about to purchase. When companies collect feedback regularly, it provides a sense of protection for the existing customer base as well as instilling brand confidence in those researching consumers. Feedback and insight are crucial for a company to not only improve their customer overall satisfaction but also grow their customer base through their online brand reputation. Not to mention, reviews naturally contain long-tail keywords that consumers are actually searching for, which results in a very positive organic search experience and leads more shoppers to your brand.

Engaging customers is important for overall brand health and reputation management.

People read reviews, that's no secret, but people also view the responses associated with said reviews. When a company responds to a reviewer in order to seek a resolution, educate, or simply say thank you the response, it has the potential to affect two different personas. One, of course, being the customer who left the original review, and two, any people who may be researching or reading that particular review.

Review collection can elicit positive responses, but also a negative sentiment from time to time. People tend to be more motivated to leave feedback when inconvenienced or when a problem occurs. With negative disposition also comes a desire for resolution. Deep down, customers seek a settlement of some sort, but also to be recognized, understood and valued. When a resolution is reached a dissatisfied customer can become a retained client and a symbol of success for prospects.

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No company is perfect, which is why all 5-star perfect reviews can easily be dismissed by consumers.

People are drawn to negative reviews to see what happened to others and what might happen to them. A negative review is an advantage because of the attention it will draw. It puts a spotlight on any resolution that follows and is a great opportunity for your customer service and brand promise to really shine. When a review site offers resolution tools to showcase public responses (not hidden), updated reviews, and updated star ratings a company can essentially use that resolved complaint as a billboard to attract others. Maybe, most importantly, a client can be retained and a maybe become a repeat customer in the future.

When a customer base is approached to leave feedback, a company should be prepared to manage what will be reviewed. No matter the review, an opportunity to utilize feedback as advertising and a tool to increase lead conversions does exist.

Customer feedback can turn into billboards of information and be utilized in many forms of content.

Case studies can be formed with an engaged customer base

Blogs can be created with consumer feedback

Highlighted reviews can be showcased to help conversions

If a company doesn’t believe review collection can improve conversion rates, just look at Amazon and Google. Both platforms place a high importance on reviews and the rankings associated with those reviews. Shoppers desire a sense of security, reassurance, and research-driven decision making. When a consumer is reading through experiences, they are gaining knowledge to make an educated purchase decision. When a choice is backed by experiences of actual customers who have the product or utilize the service the confidence of a consumer increases, and the willingness to complete a purchase increase along with that confidence. When a consumer interacts with reviews conversion rates will increase, revenue per site visitor will trend upwards, and a larger average order value occurs.

The power of reviews and the testimonial impact they play on consumers cannot be understated or overlooked. The question is: how will your brand take advantage of customer voice in your marketing strategy?