Online reviews are no longer just a B2C thing. They matter for B2B businesses too.
In spite of all the recent publicity around fake reviews, many of us wouldn’t dream of booking a hotel without first consulting TripAdvisor. Yet when it comes B2B businesses, there’s a commonly held belief that a modern looking website with a few good customer testimonials, is all you really need. For B2B businesses, especially those selling packaged products and services, here are five reasons to take reviews seriously.
1. Proving how good you are
You may well have glowing testimonials on your website but prospective customers know they’ve been hand-picked by you; and that significantly reduces their effectiveness. If you really want to prove how good you are, you need to show people a complete picture of all the feedback you get; and preferably on an independent website.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engines love reviews. This is because of their perceived authenticity and the way they’re trusted by people searching. Google goes a step further and automatically adds Google stars to review-based search results, which is great for making them stand out. Better still, according to research by Google, people clicking on search results with stars, are three times more likely to go on to make a purchase.
In the ‘olden’ days, you could create a brand by spending (a lot of) money creating an image of yourself that reflected the way you wanted to be perceived. But reviews and social media have changed all that. These days, a brand is determined far more by the way you’re seen to interact with your customers. Successful companies understand this and support environments where their customers can share their experiences and be heard by everyone.
4. Negative feedback
Since the purpose of showing off feedback is to provide reassurance to potential customers, you might think that publicising negative feedback would be counter-productive. But it’s not the case. People understand that nobody’s perfect and online reviews are a great way to show that you know how to put things right when you need to. In fact, showing how you responded in those situations can actually leave your customers with a better perception of you, than if the problem had never occurred in the first place.
It’s no coincidence that so many successful technology-based products and services are based on ideas that are already well established in people’s personal lives. And so it is with reviews and ratings. Like many people “of a certain age”, I didn’t grow up with them but Millenials have never known any different and are now in decision-making roles where there’s a natural tendency for them to make purchasing decisions just like they do in their personal lives.
If you know your customers generally say positive things about you, then you should make the most of this valuable asset. Handled correctly, reviews can be an extremely powerful marketing tool, highlight where you could improve, and drive measurable business benefits.