Who needs customer reviews?

Who needs customer reviews? Local businesses. While over 90% of consumers use reviews to make buying decisions, review marketing remains an underutilized aspect of a local business’s digital marketing efforts*.This means potential consumers are passing over the businesses that can’t show consistent, timely, and positive reviews. Asking for reviews that appear on a popular and optimized review site will have your business—and your customers—seeing stars! Here is just one example of the power of asking for customer reviews.

The Client

Pizza Pirates** is a local pizza shop, specializing in decadent and aptly-named delights such as the Swashbuckler, Cannon Balls, and Buccaneer Pizzas. If the names of the pies didn’t attract customers, then the promise of house made dough, freshly-cut vegetables, and hand-sliced meats would.

However, the public perception of Pizza Pirates was lacking due to previous ownership. Despite the quality ingredients and affordable prices, Pizza Pirates was unable to achieve high sales and a loyal customer-base.

WHY DO REVIEWS MATTER?

• More than 80% of commerce still occurs within a few miles of home

• 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

• 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars*Page stats from: Bright Local (2018)

Not only does Pizza Pirates have a largely untapped market to go after, but people are actively seeking local businesses to support in the area that the business operates. Additionally, consumers are spending more and more time researching their options online and letting reviews influence their purchase decisions.

There was a time when “word-of-mouth” reigned supreme and businesses did not need to actively manage review sites. People took product and service recommendations from friends. Today, however, social media platforms and review sites allow people to publicly share their opinions about a brand across the web, which could impact the purchase decisions of hundreds, thousands, or millions of other people.

The Goal

With a large opportunity to market themselves, Pizza Pirates wanted to take advantage of its small set of clientele to gain a following. The immediate goals were to:

• Improve their online reputation, including increasing star rating

• Earn consistently positive reviews online

• And ultimately, drive online orders and foot traffic

Preparing for the Plan of Attack

Our team focused on educating the business owners on the holistic importance of customer reviews and their online reputation. Once it was understood how intricately reviews are tied to SEO, Google ranking, and online brand recognition, we built out a Google listing where Pizza Pirates’ reviews would live. Our team created an optimized and accurate Google listing for Pizza Pirates, including all relevant details about the establishment, with accurate business hours and the ability for customers to engage with the business directly from the page. Before generating more customer reviews, this is a must-have component!

Google My Business (GMB) reviews are the reviews displayed by Google next to verified businesses. This rating score is critical because it is the one that show sup on business’ sites in search and on Google Maps.These reviews can display attributes such as star ratings, photos, and comments/testimonials.

The intimidating part of having a public presence on Google is that anyone with a Google account can leave a review for a business. Asking for a review from a customer is one way to get honest (and positive)reviews and encourage a loyal customer to become a brand ambassador.Using the information the business gathered on their online ordering platform, the staff at Pizza Pirates began sending an average of 6 review requests a day.

*Review Trackers (2018)
SMS Review Requests

Target your customers right where they’re looking—their phones—and they’ll be more receptive to your message. In fact, 56% of reviews are left using a mobile device*. Sending SMS review requests to clients takes as little as a name and phone number.

Customer Voice

Customer Voice is a powerful tool that has allowed Pizza Pirates to capture customer reviews on their most popular review sites, including Google, Zomato, and Facebook.

Using Customer Voice with these best practices has proven to be the recipe for success for Pizza Pirates:

Frequency

• Sends review requests daily, when the customer’s memory is fresh and their experience is vivid

Visability

• Links to the most popular review sites for the industry means more impactful and visible reviews

Branding

• Customizes the copy of the SMS messages to come from a familiar person at the business, asking for genuine feedback, and wishing to establish a connection of trust with the customer

* Business owner’s own estimation based on sales records

The Results

Prior to using Customer Voice, the business’s reviews had plateaued. After just one month of sending review requests, the number of customer reviews shot up dramatically.

From very few customer reviews and a mediocre star rating to consistently positive reviews and a boosted star rating, consistently sending review requests was proving effective.

4.9 stars +35 reviews +29 actions Average monthly star rating Increase in reviews Taken on Google listing 80% to 92% 3 to 5 34 to 477 Recommendations On Facebook Average star rating Customer reviews

Overall, Pizza Pirates has seen an increase of star rating by 1.2 stars since its conception and can attribute roughly a 20% increase in sales* to the increase in customer reviews and improved online presence.

Helping You See Stars

There are three main factors that contributed to the success of Pizza Pirates.

1. Claimed and optimized listing sites Claiming the business listing on Google (and other review sites) is step one in taking control of a business’s online reputation. What’s on the page plays a big role as well. We ensure that your Google listing includes vital information about your business including location, hours and a brief description of offerings. Keeping the information up-to-date makes it easy for potential customers to find you and shows your customer reviews in a professional way.Customer reviews can be automatically published on these public sites for future customers to find.

2. Timely, consistent, and engaging requests Engage in best practices to ensure that the review requests have the most impact possible.Frequent review requests sent in a timely manner ensures the business is top of mind and the customer is willing and able to give a glowing review.

3. Follow-up and up-keep of customer reviews Lastly, because getting more customer reviews does contribute to a business’s online reputation, it is important to engage in the follow-up involved in maintaining a positive reputation. Supplement your new positive customer reviews with a friendly and personalized response to thank the customer for their review. If a negative review appears, take the opportunity to make amends with the customer,and take their feedback to heart.

The bottom line is that increasing the number of customer reviews a business receives can contribute to tangible business results, including boosting brand trust and increasing sales.Using Customer Voice and sending SMS review requests contributes to a healthy online reputation for your business—and that investment goes a long way!

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