Customer reviews - the advertising of the futurePublished: December 21, 2021 | Last updated: April 5, 2023
1. The history of the customer rating
2. Why are customer reviews so important?
3. Get to know your customers better
4. How you should respond to negative customer reviews
5. Checklist for negative reviews
The history of the customer rating
In 1995, Amazon was one of the first platforms to enable consumers to publish product reviews. As before, it is precisely these reviews that are one of the most important resources for consumers to make the right purchasing decision - and not just in online stores. In recent decades, customer reviews have been able to establish themselves in many other areas, such as restaurants, medical practices, or even the entire service sector.
How were reviews able to establish themselves so quickly as the gold standard for measuring the reputation of a product, an individual (e.g., as a service provider), or even an entire company?
Many researchers base this on the nature of human beings themselves. Since time immemorial, we have had to be able to trust one another. Even then, the group community was the most important ingredient for successfully ensuring survival. Although a lot of time has passed since humans took their first steps, almost all aspects that were so important in the past are still an essential part of our lives today. From birth we learn to trust, communicate with each other and share experiences. In the past, this saved us from eating poisonous plants and herbs, among other things - nowadays we advise friends and relatives against bad products and negative experiences, or gladly recommend the things that made us happy. In this regard, the Internet gives us the opportunity to enormously increase our radius and thus the range of our evaluation.
So if you look at the history of mankind, you are usually somewhat amazed to find that we have been recommending or discouraging things since the dawn of time. A fascinating aspect of the human psyche, don't you think?
But now let's stop with the theory and get into practice!
What else can you learn about reputation? Dive deeper into the four dimensions of reputation.
Why are customer reviews so important?
Now, in the 21st century, we no longer necessarily run the risk of serving a mushroom soup with bright red toadstools, or even report on our last confrontation with a bear. So what added value does this communication in the modern form of a customer review offer today? How do you, as a company, service provider or freelancer, benefit from the reviews that customers leave about you?
Get to know your customers better
Customer feedback can be extremely helpful. Only through constructive criticism are you able to optimize your products and the customer experience itself so that you can offer your customers the best possible service. A quick resolution to potential problems helps you focus on your customers' needs and conveys to them that you truly value your customers - so a happy customer will stay with you for the long haul. Listen to your customers' feedback and find out what they really want from you.
People are social creatures. Do you ask friends or family for advice now and then? Do you like to listen to experiences from your immediate environment before making a decision? Your customers feel the same way! Whether your product is really that great, your tax service really that uncomplicated, or your dental practice really delivers that brilliant white smile is something your customer usually can't easily check in advance. The key here is to use your digital reputation to be credible, reliable, trustworthy and responsible for your potential customers. Reviews from your customers show that your advertising is based on facts. This is an easy and uncomplicated way to create the necessary trust.
Give your customers a voice
Customers who take the time to leave you a review tend to be more loyal to your business and come back to you again and again. Through a customer review, your customer builds a relationship with your company. This gives them the feeling that they can give positive and, above all, meaningful feedback even from behind a screen. Your customer can more easily identify with you or your brand and wants to be a part of it.
Increase your visibility in search engines
Especially in local search, reviews are a clear competitive advantage. Let's assume for a moment: You are looking for a tax consultant in your area. Now you have spotted two suitable candidates. One of them has no or very few ratings, the other almost 100. The decision is quite easy here, don't you think?
However, the advantages do not end here. Often, small companies or even sole proprietors do not have a website or reach only a small number of views through it. However, it is possible to display all reviews from different platforms (Google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon, Trusted Shops, and many more) collected on one profile. Thus, you do not distribute the clicks on many different channels, but provide a platform for all your reviews. More targeted clicks also guarantee you a better ranking and thus a greater reach. Mention your city and a few useful keywords in this profile and combine this with your positive customer reviews to get a good ranking, for example in "Google My Business".
Customer reviews - more than just free advertising
Customer reviews are more than just free advertising. They appear far more authentic than information provided by the entrepreneur or the company itself. No one would advertise that sometimes something goes wrong, even though it's part of life. Your customers will not be put off by this and will also speak up if something doesn't suit them - and that's a good thing. Customer reviews are therefore considered very credible and are a decisive factor in almost every purchase decision. It is therefore not surprising that, according to a consumer survey, only around 38% of consumers believe advertising, but 91% trust reviews. Hardly anyone has not made a bad purchase in their life. We automatically question future decisions a little more critically: Can I trust that the product will deliver what it promises? Will the product or service help me solve my problem? Customer reviews provide helpful answers to these and other questions and are worth their weight in gold as a decision-making aid. In addition, reviews give you the opportunity to project your positive image to the outside world. In this way, you as an entrepreneur or company build your reputation further and increase your awareness as a brand. In the process, your customers help you generate more sales for free - it hardly gets any better than that!
A customer review rarely comes alone
Once you've collected a few reviews, you'll find that they almost multiply themselves. Existing reviews also encourage new customers to give their own opinions about a product or service. They want to pass on helpful feedback or provide small suggestions for improvement. In most cases, these customers already identify with your brand and simply want to be a part of it. In the past, positive feedback was spread through stories - nowadays, customer reviews do this part for you.
Customer ratings from the customer's point of view
Customers don't want to buy a pig in a poke. Trust is everything here. The more authentic information you provide about your product or service, the more likely your customer is to make a suitable purchase decision. Product videos or transparent information about products and services are a step in the right direction, but customer reviews put you one step ahead of your competitors. You're competing with many more companies these days than you were in a pre-Internet era. But that doesn't have to be a disadvantage - use it to your advantage. Build trust thanks to authentic customer reviews and stay visible even in the jungle of the Internet.
More than 70% of all consumers read at least one review before making a purchase decision. To gain the trust of new customers, even 2-10 reviews are usually necessary. From the consumer's point of view, there is no better way to showcase your expertise, trustworthiness and professionalism than with online reviews from satisfied customers.
How you should respond to negative customer reviews
For many, negative reviews are an evil that you as an entrepreneur want to keep as far away as possible from your own reputation. However, you should not judge too hastily. As studies show, the optimal rating is between 3.5 and 4.5 stars - a perfect rating of 5 stars is therefore less successful. How does this come about? Life doesn't always run smoothly, and of course that's true on a professional level as well. If your company receives only 5-star reviews, it doesn't look authentic and even suggests manipulation. You can't always satisfy every one of your customers 100%. However, negative reviews offer you valuable input to improve your product or service. You should ask yourself why your customer is dissatisfied and what you can do now to avoid future disappointments.
5 tips on how to respond optimally to negative feedback
You have received a negative customer review and are now wondering how to deal with it? We have compiled a checklist for you with 5 helpful tips and show you how you can even use negative feedback to your advantage. Your checklist is already waiting for you! Simply enter your email and receive your checklist directly in your inbox!
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Customer reviews - a trend no entrepreneur can get around
Customer reviews are by no means a new phenomenon of the digital age. We have always relied on the opinions of our fellow human beings and have only come this far because of this essential communication. Customer reviews are here to stay. Nowadays, it is extremely difficult for customers to keep track of everything in the information chaos of the Internet. They therefore rely on the reviews of their fellow customers in order to make the best possible purchase decision. Both positive and negative customer feedback offers companies a valuable opportunity to really get to know their customers.
The trend here is clear: customer reviews will continue to be an important component in purchasing decisions. In fact, it's likely that reviews from your customers will completely replace actual advertising. Until then, use customer reviews as a way to communicate your trustworthiness, reliability, credibility and your responsible handling of any criticism to the outside world. This way, your customers will stay with you for a long time and even recruit new customers for you.