See Further Than The Stars (Because Your Customers Do)

What makes up an impressive online review, beyond the number of stars?

There is no general approach to online reputation management. There are as many ways to read online reviews as there are people. For instance, the information needed by an older man in search of a new pharmacist will be different from a woman trying to choose the best fitting baby carriage for her 1-year-old son.

Online researching is a tricky beast. We can see that most people buy products based on reviews nowadays; however, there’s more attention to the kind of review to influence their decision than ever before.

Think about how you read through reviews in search of a particular product. If you want to reserve a room at the best hotel for your Bali holiday, what are the determining factors that will affect your decision?

Some might concentrate on the location of the hotel and certain amenities, while others might just be concerned with the value and price. A potential customer will be enticed by the star rating in reading reviews, but it’s the written content that truly persuades them.

So, what are the elements of a helpful review for your business?

These are what you should consider:

  • It should have a high-star rating attached.
  • It should be substantial, therefore more credible.
  • It should be up to date and align with other reviewer’s opinions.

The Stars Align

It makes sense that star ratings influence our decisions the most when we are reading reviews. When we are evaluating different options, our eyes are initially drawn towards that first visual cue.

The Search for the Best Enchilada

Most people usually have a particular need when going through reviews and are searching for experts to help them make an informed choice.  They could be looking for someone in the same situation as themselves that could let them understand the benefits of a service or product.

Imagine a Spanish restaurant with over 100 reviews listed, and most of them are either 4 or 5 stars. You tell yourself, “this place is really nice! It’s close to me and in my budget. It seems to be loved by a lot of people, and I can’t wait to try their enchiladas.” Then you start going through people’s reviews on their experience at this restaurant and you’ll notice a common theme:

“Great food!”

“This was exactly what I needed.”

“Good stuff, Nom Nom Nom.”

Most reviews you’ll see all seem to be positive; however, we are not precisely informed about what’s actually “great” about this restaurant.

Has anyone tried the enchiladas?

I’ve had bad enchiladas and I can probably find several other restaurants better-known for their enchiladas.

Not all reviews are equal. A solid argument with specific details doesn’t just make the reviewer reliable, but you can actually tell that they’ve used this service or product; therefore, explicit information about the experience might really help the customer find answers.

As for my future enchilada dinner, I wish I saw a review specifically referring to my dish:

“The chicken was tender with a smokey flavour that I never saw coming! They had fresh tortillas with sun-dried tomato. Also, they were generous with the chipotle sauce!”

I really love chipotle sauce! I’m convinced! I have to go and eat some enchiladas right now.

Can you see how a solid, informative review has more value than a person simply typing “nom nom nom”?

One of These Things is Not Like the Others…

Let’s assume you’re searching for the best mini-golf course in your area. 

You find a local course with over 15 reviews, all raving about the holes’ design and the course’s creative layouts in great detail, and then comes one review complaining that the there’s no creativity in this course.

Since this one bad review doesn’t relate to everybody else, most people will ignore it.

You’ll probably think that the 14 similar reviews are more of a typical experience, and the one bad review is most likely from a grumpy sourpuss, or somebody that had a bad day and decided to take it out on the innocent mini-golf course review listing.

The golf course’s credibility will be increased by consistency across reviews. Outliers may offer strong arguments, and might actually be considered by consumers, but they don’t have the same impact on the perspective of the customer on the product.

Pro-tip: When you’re asking a customer for a review, use persuasive language that highlights the importance of specific reasons why they loved your product.

When Was The Last Review?

Last week’s review is more important than last year’s review. It’s really annoying when you realize that the most recent review for a business was in 2015.

Many things can change for a business in just a year; talk less about four years.

A full 40% of consumers only pay attention to reviews given in the last 2 weeks! Funnelling your business reviews is a continuous process. You simply can’t just get 20 reviews, congratulate yourself, and forget about collecting future online reviews. You could be damaging your business’s reputation if you aren’t collecting reviews every week.

Ask, and You Shall Receive

When a company asks for a review, the customer is actually helping the business.

But it’s not enough to simply ask your customer for a review. Most people have no idea how to write a good review.

Provide some guidance when requesting a review by stating the importance of the review’s content. Clearly ask the customer to focus on particular aspects of their experience. With a little direction, your customers will understand the elements needed to write a great review.