Next to recommendations from friends and colleagues, online ratings and reviews have a powerful influence on purchasing decisions According to the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of Americans trust online reviews and 46 percent feel reviews help them feel confident about their purchases. So it pays for you to not only make it easy for customers to post ratings and reviews on your ecommerce site, but also to track them so you know what people are saying about your store and products. This is an important part of managing your online brand reputation.
You need to be proactive in managing your online reviews, particularly when a customer has a problem and leaves a negative review. Here are a few best practices:
- Make reviews accessible. Ideally, group the reviews on the same page as the product description and specs. Or, add a “Reviews” link so they are only one click away.
- Acknowledge your customers. If someone goes to the trouble of posting a review, thank them for their feedback. This adds a personal touch to your store.
- Respond to questions. Sometimes, customers use a review as a forum to ask questions about a product. Answering their questions will boost your credibility and give you a chance to explain product benefits in more detail.
- Fix problems. Nobody expects your store or products to be perfect, but how you respond to problems can raise or lower your brand reputation. If a negative review is legitimate, fix the issue promptly. If you can refute the comments with facts, do so, but stay objective and keep emotions out of the discussion. A negative review that just sits there with no response from you could keep others from buying your product.
- Clean them up. Your ecommerce software should let you edit reviews through your admin dashboard. You can delete excessive exclamation points and profanity, or anything else you deem inappropriate, or just edit for length, making sure not to change the customer’s voice or use different words to describe your product.