In today’s increasingly digital world, online reviews are the lifeblood of every business. Consumers are becoming more wary of which brands they use. Without reviews attached to business, regardless of true quality, a customer will probably not even look beyond the landing page. Online reviews drive customers to a business’ website, generating more traffic and general interest in a product or service. Powerful search engines like Google give priority in search results to businesses that have online reviews.
Reviews help businesses on every front, but how do companies even get online reviews? In a lot of ways, this depends on the market the business is in. There are a few industries that seem to draw the most online reviews.
Large-scale comprehensive e-commerce companies like Amazon generate the most online reviews. In fact, ASOS (a British online retailer) has one of the best online reputations out there. Other big websites like this also garner hundreds of reviews. These types of e-commerce sites all rely heavily on online reviews to drive business to their sites and to create returning customers. In a completely digital industry, online reviews are more important than ever to larger e-commerce sites. Especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of e-commerce has only gone up. Consumers are desperate to get their needs met without endangering themselves or their families by going to the store. While e-commerce of the past meant big one-time purchases, or luxury items, the e-commerce of the future is everyday necessities, and this is reflected in the kinds and quantity of reviews they get.
It makes sense that the service industry would be one of the most highly reviewed industries. Restaurants, retail stores, travel, and other businesses that involve a lot of customer-staff interactions all gain a high volume of reviews. These reviews are typically more focused on individual experiences or specific employees, so reviews are relatively easy to come by. Reviews can help or hurt the service industry depending on how they’re handled, but they happen far more organically than in other industries. However, in the face of 2020 and the spread of coronavirus, the amount of reviews and profit in the service industry has tanked. This industry has been dealt one of the hardest blows with the precautions of social distancing and mandatory masking. Businesses like restaurants find it difficult to operate and stay open, and now more than ever they need positive reviews to help keep them afloat.
Surprisingly, the healthcare industry is one of the highest reviewed industries that we looked at. Since the industry can include situations as important as life or death, it’s easy to see why people would want to make sure they’re receiving the best possible care. Reviews in healthcare typically pertain to individual personnel, one time experiences, or even specific locations than they do to the business as a whole. Since all the reviews coming in deal with such specific incidents, healthcare institutions have the choice to deal with those reviews in regards to the individuals involved. Obviously with the rise of a global pandemic, healthcare workers have been hit extremely hard. Hospitals have dealt with extremely high stress since the pandemic really started to take off in March, and healthcare offices are struggling to cope with the decline in patients who would normally need care but choose to stay home to eliminate the risk. While hospitals crack under the pressure, day-to-day practices struggle to stay in business. Now more than ever, healthcare sites need to make sure that every review is positive in order to maintain their reputation and their customer loyalty.
Contractors also generate high high numbers of online reviews. This is likely due to the personal touch that they provide. There are typically many options in an area for a plumber or a landscaper, and from a consumer standpoint, choosing the right one can be difficult. This makes the customers more likely to leave an online review for workers in this industry. Contractors still have to work to make sure their reviews reflect a positive experience, but they have less difficulty getting online reviews. COVID has affected different contractors differently. If the work is mainly outside and can be done without coming in contact with a client, contractors can continue to work and bring in large amounts of reviews. However, for work done inside like plumbing and handy-work, many contractors have lost business due to the fear of spreading the coronavirus. People are turning to their own skills and attempting to “DIY” maintenance work since they have more free time on their hands. Contractors need to use other techniques to bring in more reviews in the face of COVID-19. As COVID has become the norm, the WebPunch team has noticed reviews about handyman services wearing masks and taking the proper safety precautions.
We know that online reviews are important, and it is a lot easier to get them in some industries. But how does a business that doesn’t fall into one of these categories increase the volume of online reviews? With a few simple steps, businesses wanting more online reviews can soar ahead of their competitors. Here are four simple ways to do so.
1. Streamline The Process
Nothing decreases the chances of a customer leaving a review more than a difficult feedback process. Businesses need to make sure their review process is fast. It should be obviously available from the landing page of the website and should not take more than a few minutes.
2. Use a Third Party Site
Businesses should take advantage of third party review sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, Trip Advisor, and more. These sites are already set up to handle and organize a large volume of reviews, and they can integrate directly into a business’ website. Some brands utilize a third party site that makes both reviews and feedback show up directly on the website’s feed.
3. Ask for Feedback
Asking for reviews is one of the best ways to increase online reviews. Feedback survey requests should be sent to email lists, provided at events, and even advertised on location. WebPunch has many tools that you can use to ask for reviews, including our automated surveys, an option to send on-the-spot review requests by text or email through the WebPunch Mobile Ask App, and a dashboard that easily lets you track which customers have already received customer feedback surveys or review requests.
4. Respond to Reviews
Simply responding to existing reviews actually increases the chance of gaining new reviews. Customers considering leaving a review will see that feedback is treated seriously and that it is important to the company, so they will feel that if they review the company, their thoughts will be heard.
Online reviews are growing more important as the world becomes more digital. Not every industry organically attracts a lot of reviews, but by being conscious of the importance of reviews and taking steps toward a greater online presence, companies can be sure to knock out their competition.
Sophia Jones is a student at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She’s studying in English with emphasis in both Spanish and education. In her free time, she enjoys playing violin and reading classic literature.