In 2017, it's estimated that 90% of people will look at customer reviews when making a purchasing decision, and 88% of those people will actually trust those reviews as much as if they were personal recommendations from friends. If you're thinking to yourself "my business has a lot of bad reviews" right now, here is one way you can make the best of the situation and improve those online reviews that show up in search engines.
Recently, a client came to us and expressed some concern about an abundance of bad reviews they were receiving online. The main concern was that the reviews might be persuading potential customers who were thinking about purchasing their products and looking online to help make their decision. A bad review could discourage them from wanting to purchase our client's product.
In today's world, a buying decision isn't solely made by going to a store and choosing from a variety of products. Consumers are now doing a lot of research online before they even visit the store with intent to purchase. In marketing, we call this the buyer's journey.
The buyer's journey has 3 phases: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. When a customer goes online to look at a product, they may or may not be aware that they need something. When they do become aware they need to make the purchase, they enter into the consideration phase, where they’ll start to consider their options.
At this point, they are going to go online to do some research and could base their decision to buy on what other people are saying about the product, more than likely from a review site. This can be terrifying if your business has had a lot of bad online reviews, so we wanted to fix this right away for our client.
You can't stop the reviews from happening.
At Aptera, we realized that people actually wanted to express their level of happiness with a product or service, so the probability was that the reviews were going to happen no matter what. Before customers did that, we wanted to give them that opportunity first and control it internally by setting up a few workflows in our client’s HubSpot account. We felt that if satisfaction was dealt with first by our client, then they would have better control over what was being submitted into review sites online.
Our client’s website is built in Sitefinity (and we are a partner). We’ve built a HubSpot connector internally that would pull the information submitted on their website form into HubSpot as an individual contact. This form tells us that a customer has purchased our client's product, wants to register it, and if they would recommend the product to a friend—among other questions. The recommendation number was key to setting up the workflows. If this satisfaction number was 6 or lower for recommending to a friend, we would know that they are not happy with their purchase or there is a problem. This number alone entered the customer in one of two workflows.
The first workflow we set up, labeled “negative reviews,” gave our client the opportunity to fix customer satisfaction before they went to an online review source and added to the growing number of bad reviews. After entering the workflow, they are sent a follow-up email immediately telling the customer we were concerned about their experience and asked for feedback by clicking on a link to “tell us more.” The link then took them to a landing page to give more information on the issue. This feedback was then forwarded internally (with personalization tokens included to give them insight into the customer issue) to a customer service representative who would then take additional steps.
The second workflow, labeled “positive reviews,” was sent to those who gave a satisfaction number of 7 or higher for recommending the product to a friend. Immediately following the form submission, they receive an email asking for the customer to review our client’s product on a “tell us more” landing page with a form on a 1-5 grading scale. The form also asks them to title their review and provides room to give details about their experience. We then set up a positive reviews list within HubSpot to hold all the information we needed.
The old reviews were showing up everywhere in search.
The purpose of the workflows was to help improve SEO (search engine optimization) rankings for our client's products with more positive customer feedback vs what was currently showing up in search. Since the positive reviews were entered into a HubSpot list, we had a centralized place to pull those reviews into the client’s Sitefinity-based website with our internally-built HubSpot connector.
The positive review list was then filtered into a widget we placed on their website. Our client is now able to manually add the reviews on the backend of Sitefinity and control what is seen by potential customers or visitors. Since we're a digital marketing and technology firm, we had the capability of building a widget specific to our client's needs, matching it to their website, and integrating it with their Sitefinity website, all directly in-house. The widget includes the star rating, product number, customer name, review title, and then the review in detail.
People also like to give online reviews for products they love.
The next part of the positive workflow happened after the customer gave a website review. We always offered the customer the option to just give a review on social media or other online review sites, but we emphasized the client’s website review button by making it larger. We used call to action buttons inside of the emails to allow them to click the site they preferred to leave a review on. (pictured here)
This allowed us to track which sites were being clicked, how often, and which customers had gone to which review sites. if there was no response within 4 days, the customer was sent an email asking them to review the product they purchased on their choice of any number of social or review sites. And then another email reminder was sent after 10 days. This allowed the customer three opportunities to leave the review.
This has been a success story for our client. Positive reviews continue to filter into the widget from the list in HubSpot. Our client has more positive experiences showing up in online search, and other review sites are now giving better recommendations to those who are in the Consideration phase of the buyer’s journey.
If your business has issues with bad online reviews that are showing up in search, this is an easy way to help weed out those negative experiences and let those who are in the buyer's journey get a better look at your products, aiding their decision to buy from you instead of your competition.