Customer feedback is continuing to have a huge impact on the success of your company—97% of online shoppers make their purchasing decisions based on customer reviews, and the trustworthiness of online feedback is at an all-time high.
Displaying customer reviews is about more than just attracting sales these days. Of course, that is an obvious reason given the research and numbers, but it can also help your organization establish and develop a positive brand image.
A business that prioritizes honest feedback signals that they are authentic and care about their customers. 73% of consumers were more likely to trust a brand that gathered customer reviews, a statistic that in today’s day and age of consumer distrust is important to note.
This is why having a solid customer review management system in place is essential for businesses. According to general reviews and research, two of the top platforms on the market right now are Trustpilot and PowerReviews. Both of these tools offer five essential features that you will need in order to create a library of feedback to increase sales and attract future customers.
Let’s discuss five of the most important features to look for in a customer review management program.
1. Open Review Platform
Transparency is essential for building trust with your customer base. 94% of customers agree that they are more likely to buy from (and remain loyal to) a brand that offers transparency and is honest about their products and services. Allowing any and all customers to leave feedback about their experience shows that a business is committed to this level of transparency.
Unfortunately, many companies are terrified that an open review platform could result in a barrage of negative reviews or fake feedback and are hesitant to embrace it. However, a few less-than-perfect ratings are not enough to send the majority of your customers running. According to BrightLocal’s report, 78% of customers will still shop with a business that has 3 and 4-star reviews. Furthermore, customers will be very skeptical if they see that a business has nothing but spotless sentiment and may assume that the reviews are fake or sponsored.
Trustpilot is an open platform that allows anyone to leave their feedback on their experience with a business. It also allows companies to invite customers to leave their feedback, as well as send follow-up reminders. Businesses are not allowed to remove or edit any reviews, though they may flag messages that are inappropriate or false for the Trustpilot compliance team to review. Trustpilot also has a thorough anti-fraud system that reviews every piece of feedback to weed out spam or fake reviews. If a company tries to sidestep the process and write their own biased reviews (or pay people to do it), there are severe consequences that could potentially lead to a ban from the platform.
PowerReviews also offers an open platform for a truly organic and genuine review process. In order to combat fake feedback, the system performs a check to ensure that the customer is verified and has made a purchase within the last year. PowerReviews also offers anti-fraud technology, as well as checks from their human moderation team to prevent fake reviews from slipping through.
Just like in all walks of life, honesty is the best policy if you want people to trust you. Allowing all of your customers (even the disgruntled ones) to leave their opinions on your page means that your reviews will be far more honest and shed more insight to both your organization and customers who are researching your business. However, this does not mean that your brand will lose control; with anti-fraud technology in place, along with the option to flag comments for review, businesses can ensure that only honest feedback is posted.
2. Syndicate Review Content to Online Retailers
If your business sells through various online channels, such as Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, you know that having customer reviews clearly displayed is essential for sales. And in the case of online shopping, the more reviews the better. One study found that when a product had over fifty reviews, it had nearly a 5% higher conversion rate than competing products. Furthermore, businesses that feature customer reviews report an 11% average increase in sales, higher sales orders, and more loyal customers.
PowerReviews allows every review to be automatically shared and collected on Amazon, which according to their research, is where a third of reviews are shared. PowerReviews also offers integrations for other ecommerce platforms such as Mozu, Shopify, and Magneto.
Trustpilot does not directly support review sharing for an Amazon product page, though users can integrate Zendesk to their Trustpilot account and share reviews to the online retailer that way. This platform also offers a long list of available integrations, such as Facebook review sharing and Google Seller ratings.
It’s important that your customer feedback is visible on every selling channel for a truly accurate rating system. If consumers see one set of feedback on your website and another on your product’s Amazon page, it could lead to confusing and mixed messages. Featuring reviews from multiple sources on various sales platforms will help you increase the amount of feedback that is available for customers doing their research. So, if you are selling products online, PowerReviews’ ability to automatically share reviews directly on the major ecommerce giants will certainly make life easier.
3. Altering and Changing Existing Reviews
If you want to maintain a transparent and honest brand perception, you must be committed to allowing all reviews to remain visible. According to a report, the vast majority (87%) of online consumers do not think that businesses should be able to alter feedback at all – not even to make spelling or grammatical corrections that could alter the customer’s intended message.
However, if a customer review has false information or if an issue was resolved by your sales or customer service team, then it is a valid option for that review to be amended. But this should under no circumstances be done by the business itself. The customer left this feedback for a purpose, so it is up to them to change it.
Trustpilot does not allow businesses to change, edit, remove, or hide any customer feedback. If a review is fully authentic, it will remain published. Businesses can, however, invite the customer to make changes. Reviews can ONLY be edited or deleted by the person who left it through their user profile. The platform marks reviews as “verified” by the Automated Feedback Service (AFS) for both organic reviews and ones that were invited. Again, if the review does not stand up to Trustpilot’s guidelines, the business is also able to report it for investigation and possible removal.
PowerReviews follows a similar philosophy when it comes to changing or removing reviews. Businesses themselves cannot make any edits, but they are able to contact customers directly via email and ask for them to edit or clarify their feedback. Businesses may also leave a public response to any review. If a customer review poses any issues, it can be tagged for observation and PowerReview’s moderators will take a look to determine if the post should be removed.
Although businesses may wish that they had the power to change feedback and hide negative reviews, in the modern age of consumer distrust, staying committed to transparency is important. Customers must be able to share their honest opinions towards the brand, whether they are positive or negative. Keep in mind, using either of these platforms to help resolve customer issues and convince them to improve their review is very beneficial – especially in a public platform.
Moreover, it is still important that businesses are able to take some control and protect their image against false accusations, but this decision towards action should only be made by a neutral third-party. In this regard, Trustpilot invests heavily in their compliance team to ensure that both businesses and reviewers are providing prospective customers with the most genuine information as possible – which is a win for everyone.
4. Social Media Review Features
Social media is quickly becoming a common source for product research. 29% of shoppers say they regularly use social media to learn more about products or businesses, and 75% of social media users have bought something they first saw on their favorite social network.
Displaying customer reviews on your social media pages is an excellent tip to attract this growing segment of social shoppers. 55% of shoppers use Facebook as their top social media site for learning about brands, but other platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are quickly growing in popularity as well.
Sharing customer opinions and reviews is also an excellent way to create more user-generated content (UGC), which is incredibly powerful for building a positive brand reputation. According to studies, 44% of consumers find UGC to be the most trustworthy form of content a brand can share, and it can be very influential in the decision making process.
PowerReviews allows businesses to display customer-generated videos and images directly onto their website’s product page for incredibly visible UGC. PowerReviews also monitors any brand mentions on social media so businesses can collect any useful visual content that customers share on their social media pages. From here, this can be used to create a hefty library of UGC for social campaigns.
Trustpilot lets brands build their own form of UGC by creating custom images for social media sharing that feature tidbits of real reviews. The platform offers their own library of images, images from Unsplash, and gives brands the ability to upload their own artwork (such as a picture of the product or a UGC visual image from the customer themselves) for truly authentic content.
Social media is an arena where super biased forms of brand messaging don’t typically make huge impacts. Most users don’t log into their profiles to see flashy promotions and advertisements. They want to network with other people and learn something interesting. The idea behind any form of UGC is that it provides an unbiased look at a product or service. Including it in your brand’s social media content can be an extremely powerful tool in reaching potential customers. Pictures and videos of your product that come directly from real customers can help to drive more sales and give your business amazing content for powerful social media campaigns.
Now, video content is the present and the future of social media. Being that Trustpilot currently does not have the capability to do this, PowerReviews holds a distinct advantage in posting reviews on social media. Video content now has a huge amount of weight in building a social presence, so prioritizing this feature is a must for brands.
5. SEO Boosters
Google’s RankBrain follows an incredibly complex and mysterious algorithm to determine rankings, but it does prioritize relevancy, value, and helpfulness over all else. Additionally, review signals make up 13% of the overall ranking factors, so the more thorough and visible your feedback is, the better.
SEO is one of the areas where Trustpilot holds significant value. To put in terms of real numbers, Trustpilot gathers over 2 million reviews/month, which are seen over 3 billion times/month across the major search engines. Furthermore, Trustpilot has a presence in over 60 countries, has 50 million reviews of nearly a quarter-million businesses, and gains roughly 45,000 new reviewers every day. These are key contributors to Trustpilot being classified as an Alexa 500 website, making it one of the most authoritative sites on the internet. Much of this is due to the feature called TrustBoxes, a widget that enables businesses to display reviews directly on their company website for Google indexing.
Moreover, Trustpilot is a verified Google Review Partner, which means that content posted via this platform is seen as credible by the search engines. So, the more reviews your page gets, the more SEO benefits you will see. Using the TrustBox widget is a fantastic way to get fresh, highly relevant content on your site – two things the search engines love. Due to Trustpilot being a Google Partner, reviews here can help improve your rankings and qualify for Rich Snippet Stars on organic searches.
However, it’s important to note that reviews here will only qualify you for Rich Snippet Stars, not guarantee it. Google has very strict guidelines about this.
PowerReviews is also a Google Review Partner and uses a specific technology program to create optimized content for Rich Snippet Stars on the Google SERPs. Essentially, this program can recognize when product keywords and schema, such as price parameters and availability need to be added for Google snippet stars.
Since the majority of your customer inquiries are going to begin on a search engine, it is important that your reviews help your rankings and attract customers to your website from their initial search. Keep in mind, Google is especially picky when it comes to placing reviews in featured boxes on the SERPs, so the more content you have from customer feedback, the better the chances you have for a higher ranking. The numbers speak for themselves, the sheer amount of search engine traffic of Trustpilot content makes it a huge powerhouse for SEO.
Lastly, doubling back to the practice of reaching out to customers to resolve issues, successfully getting a star rating upgraded by the customer can do a lot to improve your rankings on the SERPs, too.
Honest, reliable customer feedback is an essential tool for a growing business that wants to provide their customers with genuine sentiment. Both Trustpilot and PowerReviews offer some excellent resources and have fantastic platforms for gathering and displaying feedback online. While both systems have the five most important features you should have in a customer review management tool, each offers their own unique spin and specialty.
In the spirit of genuine consumer feedback, take a look at the reviews of Trustpilot as well as the reviews of PowerReviews to make your own informed decision of which system is best for your business.