Customer Reviews - are the worth the time and effort and if so why.
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Customer Reviews – are they worth the time and effort?

Workplace
Author since:
October, 2015
100 blog posts

We are bombard with customer review requests.

Customer reviews are shown on everything we do.  It seems like every time you make a purchase be it for a bag of potatoes or a new car you are immediately asked for a customer review.  We are bombarded with requests for feedback and customer reviews for products and services daily.   Giving a customer review does little for the customer unless it is to vent when something is not right.  Do they seriously do enough for a small business to commit the time to chasing these hopefully kind words.   Why would or should you give your time to leave a review if you have no idea what the value it or why.

There are many contradictory stories out there about how many people leave customer reviews and the effectiveness of them.  It seems that 57% is regularly quoted as the figure for people who read and follow the feedback from reviews.  A straw poll around the office seems to say this figure could be much higher.  The interaction with your customers and what they say, even though we don’t personally know these people is   the new word of mouth.  These are the social media friends who are telling us “this is good “– it is the social media take-over of word of mouth.

It is established that as a consumer we take note of customer reviews. If you are looking to make a purchase and out of three possibilities one had 1300, 5-star reviews against something that had less reviews and maybe poor reviews it pushes us to make the purchase so increases direct sales.  It is not always easy to encourage people to leave a review so are there other benefits?

If you are going to take reviews of your products or service seriously there are three major steps within the online review timeline.  You need to take all three of these seriously and it is a time commitment to ensure the reviews work for you.

 

  • Asking customers to leave them,
  • Monitoring the reviews that come in
  • Responding to the customers who leave them, both positive and negative.

 

In order to understand why these investments are necessary, here are a few reasons why online reviews are so important.

Customer Reviews Build Credibility

This is all about building trust, we want to have some certainty that our purchase will be a success.  Reading reviews helps to build this trust (or not if they are poor reviews) Having our computers in our hands in the form of a phone, consumer research is easy and immediate. As mentioned above, most people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Consumers turn to review sites to gain a better understanding of a business, so the more positive reviews you have, the better. These positive reviews will help instil trust within your business, they tell you story, and consumers believe them.

Customer Reviews Help Your search engine ranking

In order to appear in online searches, your business needs to have good SEO (search engine optimization). Online reviews play a big role in SEO, as reviews can influence where a business falls within search rankings. Google, for instance, gathers review information from many sites when determining where a business will fall in search results. Google also reward interaction with websites so a review being left and then responded to gets a big tick in the SEO box.

 

Customer Reviews Help Connect you with Your Customers

To stand out against competitors within your local community, it’s important to find interesting ways to connect with your customers. Reviews provide an avenue for doing just that. When a customer leaves a review, you can take the time to respond and thank them for taking the time to do so. This will also provide credibility to others who read the reviews and see your responses.

You can also learn about issues that you didn’t know existed this way. For instance, a customer might leave a comment regarding an issue they came across. You can then provide them with a solution to their problem, and hopefully turn that negative comment into a positive one.

Small businesses should embrace the power of positive online reviews. They can help customers learn more about your business so that in the future, they turn to you when they’re ready to learn more and possibly make a purchase.

 

As a consumer, if you care about the business always leave a review.  It is a tough world out there when you are in business on your own.  Marketing and promotion can be very expensive.   Reviews are no always the answer as they are not always good.   The best advice is to make sure that what you offer is the best it can be, learn from your reviews, make sure you respond to them all and use them to power up your sales process.

 

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Giving Back and Making a Difference

Workplace
Author since:
October, 2015
100 blog posts

Giving Back is something that is always on the mind of Workplace member, Gemma Donnelly.  She is a Legal and Technical Advisor for Couch Perry Wilkes – Environmental Constancy, for her career but always has a project on the go which involves helping others.  We asked Gemma what motivates her to give so much of herself back to her community and society.

“As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself and one for helping others”

What’s Your Why?

In my opinion, people only “bother” when:

  1. It’s not actually a hardship;
  2. There’s something in it for them (we don’t often work for free do we!);
  3. There’s something personal, something they have an emotional connection with.

For me, it’s been 1 or a connection of all 3 reasons over the years, depending on where I was at in my life.

I was well versed on how much people Giving Back meant to families with disabled children.

One of my first voluntary “jobs” (I never really see them as jobs) was at special summer schemes as a teenager.  With my older brother having disabilities I grew up being well versed on how much disabled children and their parents gain from having the support from such schemes.

I remember one year being paired with Wadmilda, a deaf girl who inspired me to learn basic sign language so that we could interact better over her 2 week scheme (not that I remember any now!).

Giving Back to Oxfam

At University I loved fashion, and a bargain, so I volunteered at the local Oxfam shop.It wasn’t entirely selfless, I got first dibs on all the good stuff coming through…so yes it cost me money to work there but isn’t that what student loans are for?!

Then, a few years into my professional career, I felt unfulfilled. Whilst I was happy that I was ticking the boxes I had set out for my career,  I didn’t feel like I was “doing good”. There was no correlation between what I did on a daily basis and helping people in difficult times.

Giving Back my time to make sick children smile

Being a people person, I (like most people) genuinely feel for people when they are in hardship, whether I know them or not. So, I Googled local projects and worked with Radio Lollipop, a charity which entertains ill children in hospital.I worked at the MRI, a couple of evenings per week after my “proper job” for a few years. I’m pretty thick skinned so I didn’t think it would strike a cord with me, but I’ll never forget my first time going into the children’s oncology ward, seeing small helpless children who had lost their hair fight for their lives.

Yes, we were only making balloon animals, colouring in and trying to make them laugh, but it’s what we could do, and that maybe took a little pressure of their parents for those few minutes knowing that someone else was entertaining their children. And, at least for a very short time it made the children smile.

Doing something I love and at the same time Giving Back

A change in jobs meant I spend a lot of time commuting across our UK offices, so sadly I had to give up Radio Lollipop. I started hiking and found it to be a hobby I really enjoy. I also love a challenge, so I signed up to the national 3 peaks, which I did 3 years in a row, raising money for Cancer Research and a couple of other charities.

That really wasn’t a hardship, I did what I enjoyed and felt good for “doing good” at the same time.

In 2016, after my mum died.  As a family we felt the need to give something back in her memory so, I ran the Belfast marathon with my 2 cousins, raising money for Mind.

None of us are natural runners at all but “out of everything bad comes something good”, much like the bond we grew in being there for each other, and raising money in my mum’s name, for a charity I truly see the value in.

Hope for Justice & HR Africa

My latest project is my work with Hope for Justice & HR Africa.

They work to help those affected by slavery in Africa, including women and children who have been trafficked. I’ve pledged to raise £2,000 for them and I’m funding my trip to Ethiopia in September to help train local volunteers.

Why am I going all the way to Africa when there’s people here that need help? Because I can. I, like most people like to help others, but we don’t always know how, or we find a reason not to. This was a project an acquaintance of mine did last year, and on seeing her pictures I thought “Awe, I’d love to  do something like that”, shortly followed by “Why don’t I?”.

Making Giving Back a priority

We will always find reasons not to do something when it’s not a priority. For me, scheduling some form of “Giving Back” in, at least once a year, is one of my priorities.

Who do you think is going to help you when you really need it?

So, if you’re thinking about doing charity work, “Don’t Think, Do”.

In September, Gemma will set off for Africa and is determined to make a difference with the work that she does.  She has also committed to raising £2000 to help towards the work this amazing charity does.  If you would like to learn more or are able to donate to Gemma’s fund please visit, Gemma’s Justgiving Page

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