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Shattering the biggest misconception of online reviews


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Chapter 1:
The Misconception: Online Reviews Will Hurt My Business


Chapter 2:

Shattering the Misconception: The True Power of Online Reviews


Chapter 3:

The Correct Approach to Review Management for SMEs


Chapter 4:

The Easiest Way to Collect, Manage, and Leverage Online Reviews


The misconception: Online reviews will hurt my business 


Regardless of whether you've been doing business for a very long time, five days, or even five minutes, you need to do everything possible to keep your customers happy. All things considered, without your clients, you don't have a business. 


In our current digital era, it's more important than ever that we delight our customers because they now have platforms to share their experiences with the rest of the world. This includes how they felt with regards to the product or service of your business, the good, the bad, and everything in between. The possibility of customers leaving an awful review frightens most businesses from even thinking about implementing online reviews.


According to AdWeek, “54% of businesses are afraid of online reviews.”


Some businesses will even dip their toes in the water with reviews, and afterwards, retreat terrified the second a negative review comes in. Their first reaction is to stop collecting online reviews altogether and erase everything being said about them since they think having zero reviews is better than having a bad one, however, doing this isn't the solution.


Not having an online review strategy doesn’t mean you get away from negative reviews being written about your business. Human nature suggests it's far easier to complain than to praise, and today it’s simpler than ever to hold brands accountable for their service. Online media even encourages this and because of platforms like social media, the impact and reach of customers become exponential.


While some businesses stand by the fear that reviews could harm their business or that they hurt more than help, the facts and figures simply don’t support this.


Many of our clients have had this same fear with regards to online reviews and take the wrong approach of avoiding online reviews, but once they start collecting, managing, and leveraging online reviews with Hellopeter they begin to find comfort in their results. They realise it isn’t as daunting as they thought it was, and when they experience the tremendous value online reviews provide their business, they can’t help but think they should’ve done it sooner.



Shattering the Misconception: The True Power of Online Reviews


In our last chapter, we spoke about the idea that online reviews are not something you should fear, but rather something you should use to develop your business. In this chapter,  we'll investigate the advantages of online surveys, and we'll share a few insights that back up our claims. 


We think when you're reading this guide, you’ll see that you shouldn't be afraid of online reviews at all. What you should be terrified of is an absence of reviews!


The reality is that leveraging online reviews, even the bad ones, can generate untold amounts of growth. We know it may be somewhat alarming from the outset, however, once you start collecting, managing, and leveraging online reviews you’ll see how safe, powerful, and easy they are. 


Businesses shouldn’t fear online reviews, they should embrace them to grow their company to new heights.


The power of online reviews and how they help businesses grow

Online reviews are a growth superpower any business can develop, they help businesses grow in ways you haven’t even thought of before. In this section, we’ll be talking about some of the most powerful benefits of online reviews, so you can stop fearing them and start leveraging them.


Online reviews build business trust and authenticity


Your reviews are directly linked to business trust. Customers want to have a sense of security when purchasing from a company, and they need to know the goods and services they order will be delivered as promised. 


When we’re actively seeking solutions, online reviews allow us to get instant feedback about the companies we’re looking into purchasing from. As Adweek reported, “62% of online consumers claim they are more likely to do business with a company after reading a positive review.” Why? Because we want to know whether other people had a great experience. It makes us feel better about spending our money with the business since it’s a realistic indicator of how our experience will be.


The simple fact is that the businesses that have online reviews are immediately more trustworthy to the first-time consumer than the businesses that have few or no reviews.


This barely starts to expose the power of online reviews. When you have reviews, your company instantly gains credibility that your business keeps its word, and delivers on promises. 


On the off chance that the above wasn't sufficient to persuade you to chip away at your review management strategy, maybe this is - Inc.com said, “84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends.” 


People do business with people they know, like, and trust. What better way to earn business trust than by having your customers share their experience?


By now you might be thinking that this trust is only built from positive reviews, but we’re here to tell you that this falls under the misconception of fearing online reviews. 


At some point, you’ll receive a negative review, but don’t panic when you see it. Instead, try to figure out what caused the issue, and use it as a growth opportunity. This is your time to showcase your customer service levels and reassure potential customers that you’re committed to resolving issues when they go wrong. 

It’s true that people may be unwilling to risk their money to purchase from a business with several negative reviews, but that is usually only the case when the business has not responded to these negative reviews. In fact, HostingTribunal.com reported that “More than two-thirds of users trust reviews more when they are a mix of negatives and positives


While you may fear that negative reviews can discourage potential customers from visiting your business, the reality is that having a healthy blend of both positive and negative reviews can improve your business, establish authenticity with your audience, and help you earn more money over time.


Pro Tip: To amplify the trust factor online reviews generate, use an independent third-party review platform that guarantees the validity of the reviews. Having a trustworthy, known consumer advocacy platform verify and vouch for the online reviews of your business, makes each review that much more credible. 


Managing online reviews will help you turn the unsatisfied customer into a loyal advocate of your business 


Our research has indicated that businesses who implement a proactive online reputation management strategy will see most of the reviews submitted to be positive ones. But that’s not all, being proactive towards reviews will also generate a boost in revenue from bad reviews.


Adweek found that “90% of unhappy customers will return [and buy again] if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently, and 15% [of consumers] say they are more likely to do business with a company after reading a response to a negative review that was resolved.” 


The key takeaway from this statistic is that managing your online reviews help you nurture growth even from bad reviews.


Later in this guide, we’ll teach you the exact approach you should take so you can turn unsatisfied customers into loyal advocates of your business.


Online reviews are the word-of-mouth of the digital world


Word-of-mouth has always been the best form of promotion. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.


Think about it. When a friend tells you about a company that helped them tackle a similar problem to the one you currently have, what do you do? You look at the company to learn more about them. In the best cases, you discover a new product or service and buy it because it offers the solution you've been searching for, and you know it works well since it worked for your friend too.


Online reviews work likewise. Someone that had the same issue you have was able to solve it and is now recommending the solution that worked for them based on their personal experience. That’s why online reviews are seen as digital word-of-mouth.


While seeing an online review isn't equivalent to your best friend recommending a solution, digital word-of-mouth transcends traditional word-of-mouth due to its capacity to scale and its amplified reach.


The present world is increasingly interconnected through social media, which means digital word-of-mouth has the potential to reach a much larger audience, while still providing a trusted source of feedback from someone who was in a comparable position. This makes digital word-of-mouth a remarkably powerful marketing instrument that’s similar to traditional word-of-mouth, but with a much larger reach.


Online reviews help your business climb to the top of search engines


As Leverage Marketing explains, “While there are a lot of factors involved in search rankings, online customer reviews can be a strong signal to search engines that communicates trustworthiness and authority.” They went on to say that one of the reasons online reviews are so important for search engine optimisation (SEO) is that “Google trusts your customers more than it trusts you.”


What this suggests is that what matters more to search engines is user-experience. Therefore, like Leverage Marketing says, “Google sees that (online reviews) as a kind of endorsement of trust, and rewards you with better visibility.”


Online reviews will help you close more sales


According to a study from iPerceptions, 63% of customers are more likely to purchase from a site that has user reviews. Most customers have some type of concern when it comes to making a purchase, and one of the best ways to immediately address the most common concerns your possible customers might have is to leverage the review of a customer that’s had a similar experience. 


Let’s say that you know a large portion of the guests to your site are stressed over how you’ll manage an unexpected problem after payment, you could include a review from a customer who was impressed by your customer service. 


This way, any visitor who's worried about customer service can feel that you're ready on the off chance that anything goes wrong, making them significantly more likely to follow through with their purchase.


Online reviews are a critical source of feedback for your business


You can learn more about your business or services from reviews that your customer leaves. For example, you’ll gain insights into what people like or dislike about your business and what they focus the most on when making a purchase.


Whatever you do with the reviews is altogether up to you. You can decide to ignore the feedback, though that isn’t recommended. Or you can use your feedback to make your business even better. The best part about reviews is that the criticism you get can help you fix little issues before they become serious.


Five success stories of SMEs leveraging online reviews


1.Monitor Administrators - Insurance Administration 

Hellopeter was the key to learning of the bottlenecks in customer service for Monitor Administrators. They used our customer feedback system to see where customers were having issues so they could fix them and make their processes less frustrating, and more gratifying. 

Read the full case study for Monitor Administrators here.


2. Comet Projects - Fibre Industry 

Hellopeter gave Comet Projects the ability to stand out from the competition by boosting their brand awareness in the field. Comet Projects understood that advertising can get very expensive and digital word-of-mouth is much more affordable! Thanks to using our online reputation management software, they increased their sales by 120%!

Read the full Comet Projects case study here.


3. O-YES Properties - Real Estate Agency

O-YES Properties had a grand goal of being the best ranked Real Estate Agency on Hellopeter. They knew this would give them a leg up on the competition because it would give them more visibility. Needless to say, they put a customer feedback system in place that helped them achieve their goal, and their search engine ranking on Google was higher than ever before thanks to the online reviews gathered!

Read their full case study here.


4. We Buy Cars

Having a customer feedback system gives you valuable insights into the bottlenecks in your business, and helps you troubleshoot the areas that cause the most frustration for your customers. The same was true for We Buy Cars. Using Hellopeter, they were able to gain valuable market research, and deliver a better customer experience as a result.

Read the full We Buy Cars case study.


5. Sweetie Box

Sweetie Box used Hellopeter’s review software to gain a 19% increase in revenue. Thanks to reviews, they earned trust and credibility in their business. While there are many subscription boxes for sweet treats, Sweetie Box was able to establish itself as a reliable company that constantly delights its customers.

Read Sweetie Box’s case study here.

Want to see more success stories? Click here to check out the rest of them



The Correct Approach to Review Management for SMEs


In this chapter, we’re sharing what should be your approach when handling online reviews, so you collect more reviews, manage them effectively, and grow your revenue as a result.


The psychology behind online reviews


Online reviews explain the past experiences of different people with certain businesses. As Social Media Today explains, reviews answer the question "What do people think of these guys?"


Your customers want proof that you have the solution they need, and they want to hear about the experiences others had before them. “It's that instant snapshot of a company's service that a shopper latches on to immediately - the overall rating for the company and its products.”


From the feedback previous customers have left, potential customers can predict the outcome of the experience they can have with your business, and make a better decision on whether or not to continue with a purchase. 


Whether it’s a positive review or seeing how you handle a negative experience, online reviews provide comfort and reassurance for buyers when it’s time to make a purchase.


If your business has served its first customer, it’s already time to start acquiring online reviews. Every review you acquire acts as your social proof to new prospects that you will deliver on your promises, making any future sale easier to make. 


How to collect online reviews


The best and easiest way to get online reviews for your small business is to Ask! When you complete a transaction with your customers, ask them to leave a review about their experience. When you see that a customer came back to your business and purchased again from you, ask! Do you have a list of previous customers that you could email? Reach out to them and ask them for a review. Essentially, the more you ask for reviews the more reviews you’ll receive.



Offer an incentive for a review. Sometimes people need a little push, and normally a discount on their next purchase or a small gift is enough to do the trick. By doing this you’ll delight your customers and collect reviews faster.



Make it easy for your customers. People are more likely to leave a review if it’s simple to do. Sending a link with the ask, or putting a review section on your website makes it easy for the customer. If they have to jump through a bunch of hoops, even your happiest customers will be resilient to leave a review.

How to respond to negative reviews


Nobody gets everything right, you’ll receive negative reviews at some point and that’s okay. The way you respond to these negative reviews is critical to the reputation of your business. This isn’t a time to fight with your customer, or to shy away completely by ignoring the comments you receive. It’s the time to address concerns because this will show that you care about your customers, and how your business is perceived in the community.



First, always remain professional. You’ll want to maintain a friendly, yet professional tone. If you get snippy or argumentative, you could suffer backlash that could result in revenue losses and damage your online reputation.



Get to the heart of the issue and try to fix it. What exactly is the customer complaining about? When you find out what caused the negative review, then acknowledge it, and if possible correct the issue at hand. Managing negative reviews isn’t about what you get wrong. It’s about turning the wrong into a right that has the potential to build lifelong customer advocates.



Reply as fast as possible. The longer you wait to answer, the more the customer will feel like you simply don’t care about them. It’s extremely important to respond to a negative review as fast as you can - doing so will signal to the customer and everyone who sees the review that you’re attentive to the problems your customers face.



When you make it right, ask for a follow-up review. Capitalise on the opportunity to build trust with the community by showing you’ve done what was necessary to make things right for your customer. Then, ask them to share their feelings about how you managed the situation. With any luck, they’ll leave a glowing follow-up review further boosting your credibility.

How to respond to positive reviews

A common mistake is thinking that if the reviews are positive, they don’t need a response. This is a huge error. People love to know their opinions have been heard, so give them the satisfaction of knowing you read what they had to say.



Thank your customer for taking the time to leave a review.  Showing the person who left the review that you received their compliment, and signaling to those reading the review you genuinely care about your public perception.



Avoid generic responses. You want to be authentic and personable so it doesn’t seem like a robot is responding to the review. Avoid generic responses that look like you copied and pasted a previous response.



Invite them to come back or spread the word about your company. Including some kind of call to action could help you earn more business. Something as simple as “We look forward to serving you in the future,” or “Tell your friends about us” could be the catalyst the person needed to bring more customers to your business. 


The Easiest Way to Collect, Manage, and Leverage Online Reviews


The truth is that review management can be difficult and time-consuming. However, thanks to online reputation management software, it can be easier than you think to collect, manage, and leverage online reviews to grow your business.


With the right software in your corner, it can be easy to have your customers give you feedback about how you’re doing in terms of customer service, pricing, timeliness in shipping, your delivery methods, and more. 


The right software will allow you to effortlessly share your reviews to social media, and help you enhance your visibility online. When you use quality review management software, asking your current customers for feedback, gathering analytics related to your growth, and knowing how you’re rated in your area and industry are all simplified.


While we recognise that there are other software companies out there, none have the reputation we do. We’re the leading consumer advocacy and corporate reputation management website in South Africa, and we’re proud to be one of the biggest customer service websites worldwide. 

We invite you to create a free account with us, and see exactly what we can do for your company. Whether you’re a brick and mortar company or an eCommerce shop, we are confident that we can help you take your business and your reputation to the next level. We look forward to working with you!