Why do we need them?
At their most basic, reviews are a company’s opportunity to present themselves online. The internet is a huge shop window in which to show their prospective customers their offerings and services. User-reviews are a tool which help someone decide whether or not they are going to enter. Think about two neighboring stores – Both with the same offers in the window but one has a stream of happy people walk out of it clutching full bags and other is empty. Which do you enter?
How do businesses encourage them?
Image – 90% of people read online reviews before making a buying decision.
Organic reviews are the background reviews that all businesses will receive whether they request them or not, as long as there is a suitable platform to host them. These can come from two main sources:
- ‘Super-reviewers’ – People who see reviewing a service or product they receive as a core part of the buying experience.
- Those who are disappointed.
- Those who have been particularly impressed
The easier a review site or review function is to find and use then the more organic reviews you will receive. This is great for starting to get a feel of your community but the make-up of the above groups will be skewed toward super-reviewers and negative reviewers. The reason for this is that they are more likely to start writing a review and less likely to abandon during the process.
The easier you make the process to find and complete, the more of the positive reviews you are likely to receive.
The next thing we can do is to make sure that you are engaging with your whole community, not just those that are going out of their way to leave a review. Here are some examples of the many ways to go about this.
- Send follow up emails scheduled when people would like to review
- Automatic verification using cookies (no need to log in, just leave a review)
- Provide a ‘review’ button, linking straight to the review page
- Social media campaigns
- Respond to positive and negative reviews
- Prize draws and raffles for reviewers
- 70% of people will leave a review if they are asked!
Who does it?
Most reviewers are women, at 53% compared to 47% for men. This is a good thing for businesses as women also tend to rate services higher – An average rating of 8.5 compared to the average man’s rating of 7.8. Different locations also have a large impact – with different countries and cities being more and less open to the reviewing.
Why do they?
- 90% of reviewers do so ‘in order to help other customers make good decisions”
- 79% is to reward a company that has done right by you
- 74% to help a company improve their service
- 79% because people rely on reviews and this is a way of giving back
The decentralisation of information has had a huge impact on the effect that just one individual’s opinion can have. Whereas historically critiques and reviews were reserved purely for newspapers and the other mainstream media, we can now all claim to have our own media outlet via Twitter, Facebook and review sites such as Tripadvisor, Amazon, and Yelp.
What each individual gets out of this action depends on the service and their motivations. Whilst the initial reaction from most people on reviews are that they expect most of them to be negative and an opportunity to ‘shout into the void’, statistics actually show that the average rating is over 8/10.
Even when people post negative reviews 70% are hoping for a response – They are offering businesses a chance to acknowledge and make things right.
We can see that the motivation is to inform other people of great services, not just of those to avoid. This ties in with the idea of ‘online communities’ and the tribal behaviour that so much online activity centres around.
People are trying to create positive hubs online where they have influence and their opinions are validated
Another opinion is that people see their online reviews as ‘fan mail’ – But fan mail which has an impact.
An online survey of 1,300 reviewers showed that 70% want to help companies improve their products and 79 percent expressed the desire to write a review in order to reward a company.
It takes a village to raise a child
We as humans have always understood that the upbringing of the next generation is a community effort.
There is a core belief that schools are at the heart of a community and they benefit everyone, directly and indirectly. We see the desire for parents to reward schools for doing the right thing and offering constructive criticism where needed. When responded to, this dialogue also builds a sense that the schools are responsive and looking to constantly improve.
Every review helps to foster this online and offline feeling of community. This community feeling is what drives excellence the village mentality.
What is the impact?
User feedback is essential in improving any service but the most immediate impact is on the decisions of other people.
72% of online purchasers will only go ahead after reading a positive review. Sites such as Yelp estimate that, on average, every negative review loses a business 30 customers.
For schools, this will all have a different context but one thing stands the translation – Parents and schools are responsible for the school’s online reputation. This symbiotic relationship creates an online ‘digital village’ where excellence in education is paramount.
How Rave Reviews Can Help Drive Excellence in Education [Infographics] by Jonny Page