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Good Reviews Mean More Than You Think

30th June 2014
If you're the sort of company that sets off with good intentions for updating your web presence but never quite gets round to doing it, there's no better solution than getting someone else to do it.

Before you panic about the cost of employing another member of staff or outsourcing to someone who may not know your products and services well enough to do them justice, we're suggesting you employ people power in the form of reviews and testimonials – a remarkably powerful tool on many levels.

Of course, there are always risks involved in letting people have their say. Online retailer KlearGear paid the price for poor customer service when they failed to despatch two orders worth less than $20 to a customer, and were subsequently given a bad review via RipOffReport.com. Their logical response should have been to try and resolve the problem by dispatching the goods retrospectively (ideally with a sweetener), and politely asking the customer to take down the post. Instead, they instructed the lawyers to get involved, the case went to court, and the website was ultimately ordered to pay the customer $300,000 in compensation.

We're getting that example of worst case scenario out of the way early for good reason. One is that we doubt any of you would take such a sledgehammer approach to a bad review (nor would you have failed to honour the order in the first place), but the other is that we want to get the negatives out of the way early so that you go away with all the positives of customer reviews bouncing around your head by the time you've come to the end of the piece.

Thinking back to the top line, having a review section on your website is a quick and easy fix when it comes to adding content. Whether you're brave enough to leave a real-time comments form open on your site, or take the safer option of a moderated review section, the key bonus is that the text is user generated, which is going to keep the search engines happy for its relevance, and is going to keep other potential customers keen, because a good review, coupled with your company's willingness to give a right to reply, is a great way of building trust.

Our clients from Hill Crest Guest House are a great example of how good reviews make all the difference. They're the number one hotel in their area according to Trip Advisor rankings, so that has the dual benefit of placing them top of searches in their area on that particular site, and it makes for a stunning addition to their own website; embedding so many positive reviews into an online brochure is brilliant for credibility and gives them an edge that the other hotels in their area can't compete with. Of course, they have to offer good service and a great location in the first place, but if you pride yourself on hitting those heights, why shouldn't you then maximise the opportunity to tell thousands of other potential clients how well you're doing?
Hill CrestThe reviews page on the Hill Crest Guest House website says it all!
Trip Advisor is brilliant for anyone promoting a location that falls under the leisure industry, as they've cemented their place as the internet's primary authority on any sort of trip, from an afternoon out to the holiday of a lifetime. By providing mobile applications, embedded Facebook features and keenly email marketing their members (incentivising them to keep reviewing via profile badges and 'local league tables' of the most regular reviewers), it's a position they're likely to hold onto, so don't be backwards in coming forwards when you ask your visitors to leave any positive comments they have on the site. It's almost better to ask them to take that time rather than leave a tip, as a few good reviews will probably lead to some preferably profitable bookings!

If you're not in the leisure industry, that's not to say you can't benefit too. We've previously raved about RescueTec and its amazing ability to salvage soggy hardware, and they enjoyed the bonus of being featured on Australian TV, where the marvels of the product were highlighted to millions across the country. Video reviews – particularly those featured on YouTube – have become one of Google's pet projects, and so having a glowing endorsement that moves and talks is a dream for your product. It looks great to the visitor, and gives you the chance to highlight a great review that was previously tucked away on TV screens on the other side of the world… all while keeping the search engines happy at the same time.

Don't forget that you can also benefit from positive reviews on Twitter, which you can easily re-tweet via your own account, and you can share positive stories that clients leave for you on Facebook. Not only does this provide perfect content on those platforms, it also offers the bonus opportunity of embedding the views into your site via social media plugins.

Don't rule out the beauty of positive photos on Instagram or Pinterest as a review tool – the right hashtag in the right field of interest can open up your offerings to a whole new audience who are keen on your product, as long as the quality is right. So as long as people are saying the right things, don't be afraid to start some Chinese whispers that everyone will understand by sharing the praise with a wider audience.

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