How to be an Online Star: A Guide to Managing Reviews
March 13th 2015 | By Steve Grant
Would you buy something or use a service without checking a review? These days it’s unlikely you’ll do either.
If you’re a website owner who’s packed out your site with a stream of testimonials, all of them positive, then the news is that most visitors are going to be highly sceptical. 100% positive feedback just isn’t natural, and the fact that the only place they can read about you is on a site where you have full control over what appears there, is not going to help your cause.
Consumers place more trust in third party reviews
Whilst online reviews and ratings can be something of a worry due to the lack of control, it has to be said that people are going to trust third party comments a lot more than what they read on your own website. Of course criticism can be damaging, but there are ways to deal with it.
The Google Star Rating system is a relatively new way to achieve online feedback that’s trusted, and it can help to boost your rankings too. All you need to do is submit a business profile to Google My Business and opt to allow Google to search for review snippets and bring them back into the search results. It’s free to set up and maintain.
It’s important to realise though that Google will search for ratings and reviews from an array of places, such as Yelp and local directories, and then work out an overall rating based on average star ratings in all these places. So you’re going to have absolutely no control over what people see.
Don’t let lack of control put you off
If this worries you because you’re concerned people may be turned off when they see the odd less than positive review, stop and think about what we said at the start of this post: 100% positive reviews aren’t generally trusted.
Consumers generally just want peace of mind that they can trust your service. Providing they see a decent amount of positive feedback, they should feel comfortable enough to go ahead with their purchase or booking. In fact, impartial and balanced views will probably work more in your favour than a static list of all-singing praise on your website.
That way you can contact your customers personally via the service and ask them for their feedback, and then deal directly with anything that’s less than positive so that other customers can see you are being reactive. There is a charge for these services, but they are well managed and integrate with your website and online platforms and take care of contacting your customers on your behalf, so saving you time.
The good thing about such reviews is that they’re trusted because people know only ‘real’ customers are allowed to comment, unlike platforms such as TripAdvisor where anyone can post reviews, even though they may never have used a service.