Do Seller & Product Ratings Really Help You?

The benefits of product reviews or ratings are real, and the effects of negative reviews and complaints are just as real. Online reviews can help businesses tremendously because consumers trust unbiased third-party reviews more than advertising and promotional claims that are usually produced by the company selling the products. However, reviews cut both ways, and a negative review can be even more influential because it’s easier not to take a chance on a company if there’s any question about its integrity or the quality of its products. That’s why it’s so critical to monitor the information that circulates about a company and its staff and respond accordingly to mitigate any damage that can be done. Companies get the benefit of product ratings, so they should accentuate the positive ratings and offer alternatives to poorly rated products.

Do I Need Product Ratings?

Although product ratings aren’t mandatory, they can help or hurt business. In today’s connected markets, it’s easy to get reviewed without cooperating, so it’s better to take some control of the process. Do I need product ratings? No. But many savvy buyers won’t buy from an unknown company which doesn’t have posted ratings. Should I manage them? Yes. The easiest way to increase a company’s star rating, which is the most common rating system that usually runs from 1 to 5 stars, is to focus on delivering strong customer service, responding quickly to complaints and organize a simple policy for returning products. Monitor online chatter about the company to identify any unfair or incorrect posts, dispute unfair assessments and try to appease dissatisfied customers who post negative comments. Post the company’s best reviews on the website and in other types of advertising. Respond to reviews quickly--good or bad--to dispute them or thank positive reviewers for their support. It’s helpful to thank negative reviewers for taking the time to give their opinions and express appreciation and your desire to take the feedback and improve from it. You may have lost one customer, but you may have gained respect from others who would have otherwise left you as well.

How to Add Product Ratings to Your eCommerce Site

Many eCommerce platforms, such as Clarity eCommerce, have a review and approve system built into the platform. Many others do not. Outside of your product, there are many product-rating systems and business review sites, but the ones that appear on Google are very important to business sales. The simplest way to add product ratings to your eCommerce site is to try to get products reviewed by Google, which has a tremendous influence. Google’s system uses a scale of 1 to 5 stars and includes the number of reviews used to compute the average. One or two reviews usually won’t make the cut, and the influence of a small sampling shouldn’t be considered authoritative, but some people won’t notice or consider the number of reviews. Google limits posting star ratings to products that have three or more reviews.

A product ratings feed can automate sending product reviews to Google based on global product identifiers that are unique. Companies need to get their products assigned GTIN numbers to qualify for this type of review. The next step is integrating a Merchant Center into the company’s sales platform. Companies can then upload a reviews feed as long as they have 50 or more reviews distributed among company products. Another option is to use a reviews aggregator. A third option is to join the Google program and participate in Google Customer Reviews. The strongest benefit of product ratings is showing customers that the company cares about its products and reputation.

There are other ways to add product ratings to your eCommerce site. Just find another rating system, or establish a rating system for reviews from the company’s customers. It’s easy to include customer reviews of products. B2B companies that have thousands of SKUs don’t run much risk from one of two negative reviews of products, and those negative reviews can actually encourage customers to buy products with positive reviews. It’s easy to supplement product ratings with Trust badges that encourage customers to trust the company.

Standing Tall in the Face of Positive or Negative Reviews

Companies that address complaints and try to make things right can impress potential customers more than companies that consistently get the highest reviews. Empathetic customer service is greatly appreciated. That means negative reviews and complaints can be managed with minimal damage by monitoring online chatter and addressing negative issues that arise. A fully integrated sales platform allows administrators to set searches for company reviews and alert staff when something new is published.

About 93 percent of consumers read local reviews to investigate businesses in their area, and it is likely that similar numbers of B2B buyers read company and product reviews during the long B2B sales process. [1] Positive reviews make 73 percent of readers trust a company, and 50 percent distrust companies that earn negative reviews according to BrightLocal. Fortunately, a single review isn’t usually critical. Most people read four or more reviews before forming an opinion about a given business--especially when researching B2B suppliers. Other important findings include that 79 percent of people feel they’ve read a fake review within the past year, and 25 percent feel they’ve read many fake reviews.

B2B companies need to protect their online reputation, however, because 84 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. [2] In B2B sales, 92 percent of buyers admit that they’re more inclined to buy from a company after reading a trusted review. [3] One management option is to solicit references from the company’s better customers. These references can be posted on the site or distributed to B2B buyers who request references.

What Companies Can Do to Manage Reviews

As mentioned, it’s important to address negative reviews, correct inaccuracies and respond to complaints. After trying to correct a complaint, companies can often persuade the customer to post about the experience. That demonstration of responsive customer service can produce more positive results than a positive review. Forrester--a trusted name in digital research--reports that 70 percent of adults trust recommendations of consumer-written reviews. [4] Good or bad, independent online reviews and ratings have become increasingly important to digital marketing strategies.

The following actions can help companies manage their reviews and ratings:

  • Manage, delete or reply to reviews sent directly to the company.
  • Build a portfolio that showcases positive reviews and complaints that were successfully addressed.
  • Disable automatic publishing of product reviews to prevent gaining a negative reputation for bargain-priced goods.
  • Use review management software to get on top of reviews, complaints and favorable comments.
  • Encourage the company’s best customers to write a review.
  • Ask customers to rate products.
  • Encourage customers and site visitors to complete surveys.
  • Provide fast feedback to customer reviews to build trust.

Building a Platform Capable of Managing Your Reputation

Regardless of the company, it’s important to build a platform that’s capable of managing your online reputation by monitoring internet mentions of the company and its staff and products or services. Fast responses are possible with integrated systems designed to identify company mentions. Automated messages can be sent to acknowledge reviews. Faster responses to complaints and reviews will help to build your company’s reputation and authority as a business that cares about what customers think. Integration and reputation management software can automate many tasks so that you never miss an important review whether good or bad. Give Clarity a call today to discuss your need for a ratings system. We’ll be glad to help!

 

References:

[1] Brightlocal.com: Local Consumer Review Survey

https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/  

[2] Forbes.com: 20 Online Reputation Statistics That Every Business Owner Needs To Know

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanerskine/2017/09/19/20-online-reputation-statistics-that-every-business-owner-needs-to-know/#37a775cacc5c

[3] Learng2crowd.com: 50+ Statistics Proving the Power of Customer Reviews

https://learn.g2crowd.com/customer-reviews-statistics

[4] Forrester.com: How Branded Content Will Unlock The Key To Consumer Trust

https://www.forrester.com/How+Branded+Content+Will+Unlock+The+Key+To+Consumer+Trust/-/E-PRE4784

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