Before we buy a product or try a service for the first time, we often seek recommendations from those around us. Everything from choosing where to get our haircut to deciding who to engage with at a business level are guided by the endorsements of our fellow peers.
While word of mouth was traditionally the only medium available to receive this counsel, through the internet and online reviews, consumers are able to reach a much wider audience with their feedback. And it is becoming increasingly used.
There are two types of reviews that your consumers can engage with and your business can be exposed to:
- First-Party Reviews: Customer reviews are collected by you as a company with no vetting process and presented own website and other sites. This typically comes with a perceived bias from the consumer, as the organisation is unlikely to publish negative feedback and many are tempted to post illegitimate reviews.
- Third-Party Reviews: Customer reviews are collected and presented on a third-party website, such as a directory listing or social media profile. Think Google Reviews, Yelp, Glassdoor, Facebook etc. Third-party reviews come with more credibility in the eyes of the consumer, as they are less likely to be manipulated in favour of the company due to vetting processes and third party endorsement.
What are the benefits of Third-Party Reviews?
- Exposure for your business –
Multiple review sites redirecting traffic to your website enhances your web presence and brand awareness. This impacts the amount of people who engage with, react and make judgement of your business based on that original review.
- Enhanced SEO –
According to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. The more third-party websites your business is displayed on the more website traffic as a result you will receive.
- Market Research / Customer Feedback –Customers are more likely to leave honest, open and constructive feedback on a third-party website. Many of these third-party review sites also offer a forum like discussion, allowing customers to bounce ideas and feedback from one another. It is this honest feedback that can pinpoint your flaws and identify your company’s strengths.
The drawbacks to third-party reviews are the lack of control for the business, as well as in some cases the costs associated with them. Yelp for example offers a paid version of Yelp – “Yelp Enhanced Profile”, which costs businesses $300USD per month. This offers advertisement free profiles, call-to-action buttons and photo preferences.
Knowing which of these review sites to interact with, how to engage them, and ways to optimise them can have substantial benefits for your company. Here are just a few options your business can take prior to and after an online review.
- Product/content development based on the feedback. Your customers are conducting market research right in front of you. Through third-party reviews, consumers are identifying the faults/benefits in your customer service, your product offering and your execution. And they’re giving that advice freely. Don’t take it for granted. Look for trends within the feedback and enhance your products/services accordingly.
- Find where your customers are. Depending on your business and your target audience, your customers will be active on different third-party review sites. Yelp for example is frequently used for local restaurants, while Glassdoor is used to review businesses. Determine which sites are the most important and direct your time and energy to optimising them. A simple Google search of your business will identify this.
- Fix the issue when there is one. In most cases, when an individual has a bad experience to the point they have gone out of their way to leave a review on a third-party site – they aren’t coming back to your business.
Respond to their negative feedback empathetically and apologise for the bad experience they encountered. Remember, the responses are public and available to everyone on that third-party site. If you don’t wish to have a public conversation, invite the individual to contact your privately. Whether public or private, this is your chance to turn a negative encounter into a positive one. Apologising has already shown your company’s ability to grow from and acknowledge its mistakes. You can go a step further by offering a refund or voucher to your business with the promise that the mistake will not occur again.
Social media and the internet have allowed the consumer to be both the receiver of content and the media outlet which is distributing and promoting it. Third-party reviews impact everything from your brands reputation to your ability to hire new staff. It is critical that these websites are optimised to increase your brand awareness, establish legitimacy and attract new customers.
For recruiters, your reputation and income can depend on it, that’s why at Sourcr – we developed tools to help you collect reviews and share them across your website and social pages to boost your online brand.