I was recently faced with the task of choosing a health care provider online. Going through this selection process, I gained extra insight into what works and does not work when it comes to customer reviews.
Here are the top 5 things that matter most:
1) Reviews, not testimonials. Third party-hosted reviews have greater credibility with prospective customers and higher read rates than testimonials. Quotations from satisfied customers pasted onto your website look cherry-picked and are not the powerful conversion tool that 3rd party-hosted reviews are.
2) Quantity and quality. While most people only look at 2-3 reviews before deciding which business to use, that doesn’t mean that having just a handful of reviews is sufficient. According to a recent Search Engine Land study, the quantity of reviews that a business has is important because it gives users more confidence in the star ratings. The more review content you have, the less likely you will lose that potential customer. However, don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Longer reviews are more credible.
3) Current, fresh review content. Prospective customers are looking for recent content. Make sure that you have a review from the current year or, better yet, the current month. People will search for your latest reviews and those reviews will be the ones frequently clicked on and read. Also, fresh content will actually help you rank better in search results. Prospective customers will be more likely to find and read your reviews online if you have recent ones.
4) Positive reviews should outnumber the negative. According to a recent survey, 52% of consumers said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business. This doesn’t mean that negative reviews are a bad thing. If you have enough positive feedback, then negative reviews actually confer value because they show transparency and honesty, especially when you engage with your reviewers by commenting on those reviews.
5) Reviews in multiple places online. Reviews are the #1 factor someone will consider when choosing whether to use you over another company. So, it’s important that you make sure your reviews are in key places: on your website; indexing in Google and other major search engines; Facebook and Twitter; and local search sites like Google Places or Yahoo Local.