Boost Your Customer Reviews Strategy This Holiday Season

The importance of online reviews increases every holiday season as more and more consumers choose to conduct their holiday shopping online. A recent survey from PowerReviews reports that 99% of consumers will shop online this season, while half plan to do all of their holiday shopping online. 

Although price remains the factor with the greatest influence over consumers’ holiday purchase decisions, ratings and reviews come in a close second. According to the survey, nearly 3 out of 4 consumers indicate that reading reviews has an impact on which gifts they choose to buy. 

Furthermore, more than one-third of shoppers claim that online ratings and reviews will have a more substantial influence on their purchase decisions this season than last. Among Gen Z shoppers, this statistic was significantly higher at over 50%. 

This means having a strategic customer review strategy in place when the holiday shopping frenzy begins is essential. As the season of shopping nears, keep the following in mind to leverage reviews in a way that instills trust in potential customers, loyalty in current customers, and enables you to extend your reach.

4 Customer Review Insights

1. Reading reviews starts at the window-shopping stage.

While you may think that customers don’t start delving into reviews until they’re close to making a purchase, the truth is many consumers will check reviews even when they’re just trying to get a feel for what’s on the market. Because online reviews are displayed prominently on so many different platforms, consumers are starting to form opinions about products and services more quickly than ever. At a glance, they can get a feel for what a business offers and what their customers think after making a purchase. 

As a result, having solid reviews can help keep you on the short list of potential customers when they start narrowing down their gift ideas.

2. Reviews aren’t a one-way street.

Consumers know by now that businesses can respond to reviews at will – both the good and the bad. When a company responds to reviews in the right manner, this can boost their online reputation and instill trust in window-shoppers, leading them closer to that all-important purchase decision. 

Responses also give shoppers a good idea of the personality and identity of the business, details they may reflect on should they be interested in making a repeat purchase. Whether you choose to “like” the comment or respond with a personalized thank you, you’ll impress current and potential customers alike. 

3. Negative reviews aren’t the end of the world. 

It’s not always easy to keep your cool when you receive what feels like an unfair negative review. After all, a one- or two-star review can make a serious dent in your overall rating unless you have a significant number of reviews stacked up. 

However, the key here is to remember that negative reviews don’t have to be a negative for your business. Consumers understand that unfair reviews happen – they see them all the time. Even negative reviews that aren’t unfair won’t necessarily ding you in a window shopper’s mind; they realize making mistakes is part of growing as a business. 

What matters is how businesses react. A respectful response is a necessary first step, as is actually acting on constructive criticism whenever possible. A real win is when you’re able to win the customer back by going above and beyond to resolve the issue, something that will stick in holiday shoppers’ minds much longer than your overall rating. 

4. Stay on Santa’s “Nice” list. 

Hiring someone to write fake online reviews will put you on the “naughty” list in a jiffy. Most platforms can quickly detect reviews that aren’t authentic. Not only will they remove these reviews, but they might even penalize your business for trying to cut corners. 

Should you be so lucky as to avoid catching the eye of the hosting website, chances are the very consumers you’re trying to attract may call your bluff, which will only cause you to lose credibility. Stay on the “Nice” list and you’ll be rewarded with real reviews from customers whose trust you’ve earned.

Whether your business is large or small, chances are you already have a presence online. However, being online is about so much more than posting your company’s contact information and service offerings. 

In this day and age, your brand’s online presence requires active management in order to ensure you’re maintaining a good reputation. While this may seem like a daunting task, building a positive brand reputation in the digital world actually opens up avenues for rewarding customer interactions and makes marketing your brand that much easier.

Now more than ever, people are using the virtual landscape to connect with businesses, provide feedback, and detail their experiences to other consumers. How your business responds to comments, questions, and feedback both positive and negative will have a huge impact on your online reputation. 

In turn, reputation management can affect your bottom line. By planning ahead and implementing a well-thought-out strategy for creating and maintaining your brand’s reputation online, you can reap all the benefits of doing business in the digital age.

Outlining a Strategy for Building Your Brand’s Online Reputation

Reputation marketing isn’t rocket science, but it does take some thinking, strategizing, and careful execution to get it just right. Having a team that is both clued in to the plan and equipped with savvy social media skills is essential for positively positioning your brand in the online world. 

In addition, it can be incredibly helpful to have access to reputation marketing software to streamline this process. This type of software also ensures managing your brand’s reputation doesn’t eclipse your focus on making your company the best it can be.

Below are four crucial steps for creating a positive brand reputation and making the most of your presence online.

Reviews Management

As a customer, whenever you search for a business online you likely first check the company’s star rating and Google reviews. Of course, you should assume all potential customers are doing the same for your business. 

Unfortunately, customers are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one. For this reason, having a strategy in place to both respond to negative reviews and garner more positive reviews is incredibly important. 

To do this efficiently and effectively, you’ll need to:

  • Send review requests to happy customers on the same day the transaction occurs
  • Respond to all reviews in a timely manner, preferably within 48 hours
  • Handle negative feedback with poise, offer an immediate resolution, and take the conversation offline whenever possible

Content Optimization

High-quality content is key to keeping your business ranking highly on search engine results pages. Regularly posting new content also promotes your brand as a positive and authoritative voice in the field. 

Invest in creating engaging and helpful content potential customers will actually read, watch, or listen to. You can also use testimonials as content to highlight the customer experience you provide and ensure positive reviews receive the attention they deserve.

While creating solid content is one of the most important parts of optimization, you shouldn’t overlook nitty gritty details like writing compelling meta titles and meta descriptions and using keywords appropriately. In addition, routinely check for broken links and go the extra mile to keep content compatible with mobile devices.

Social Media Activity

You may be hesitant to wade into the world of social media, but the truth is platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer tons of exciting features for businesses. Use these platforms to keep tabs on customers’ reactions to your products, services, and the experience you offer. 

You can also help positive testimonials go viral by regularly posting them to these pages. Since testimonials speak for themselves, you can keep your own input short and sweet while building your brand’s online presence with a few simple clicks.

Partnering with Experts

The Internet is a constantly changing space. Sometimes it can feel difficult to get a handle on all the best practices when you’re also trying to run your business and accommodate your customers. 

Reaching out to a company for help with brand reputation management can give your business the boost it needs. From monitoring online reviews to writing great content and getting guidance with responding to negative feedback, there’s a ton to be learned from experts in the industry.