Should we trust online reviews? A warning for B2B brands

Brands big and small plaster their websites with supposedly genuine reviews written by smitten customers. These glowing testimonials are usually accompanied by the TrustPilot logo (or a comparable review site) and a generic statement claiming that X number of thousands of customers rated them Excellent. So, should we trust online reviews or not?

Good news first: customers do consult reviews before making a purchase

More specifically, 88% of potential buyers will seek out reviews of a product or service before parting with their hard-earned money. So that has to be good news for B2B brands like yours, doesn’t it?

Whether or not a customer buys on the back of some rock-solid reviews of your offering depends on an extremely important factor: more specifically, the ‘too good to be true factor.’ 

Let’s examine…

should you delete a fake review? width=

Is your B2B brand a victim of its own success? 

No brand is perfect. Else businesses wouldn’t need to invest in chatbots, call centres, or create lengthy complaints procedures. So when a brand claims that 100% of its customers rated it a solid 5/5 prospective buyers feel the hackles on the back of their necks stand on end and hit the back button on their browser.

Should we trust online reviews? Not if they’re all perfect, no. In which case what’s the solution?

Never delete a review – even it’s fake

  1. If a review is fake or (unfairly) paints your brand in a bad light it’s tempting to remove the comment. In fact, this is the worst thing you can do.
  2. If the comment is fake, reply with a comment along the lines of ‘we don’t have a record of you on our database – please DM our team so we can assist you further’ (meanwhile reporting the review as spam to the site’s host)
  3. If the comment is genuine, acknowledge the author, ask for more information, and promise to investigate – this will portray your brand as credible.’

how to get better Google reviews

Customers trust reviews on websites less

Your website is the biggest hitter in your brand artillery next to email, so it’s absolutely right you should publish reviews from happy customers on your home page. The uncomfortable truth? Prospects are wary of testimonials on websites, with only 25% paying heed to them.

Okay – so should we trust online reviews or not? B2B brands relying on their websites to boost consumer confidence in their offering are likely to flounder. And that’s why prospects seek out other sources to make their buying decisions.

This beggars the question: where do users go to seek out reviews? Unsurprisingly Google is the biggest hitter, closely followed by Amazon – so having a presence on these channels is essential if you want to establish credibility in your sector.

Your customers love comparing reviews before buying

Before hitting checkout your prospects are likely to read at least four reviews. So encouraging happy customers to leave a testimonial on Google, Amazon, or another respected review site is important.

As we mentioned earlier, having a 100% satisfaction rating is more likely to repel customers than win them over. Provided you haven’t censored less palatable reviews you’ll be able to build trust.

But hang on a moment. Apparently, having too many reviews could dissuade prospective buyers from choosing your brand. The ideal range is somewhere between 500-1000. 

the importance of customer feedback

How can you encourage customers to leave reviews?

Your B2B brand needs reviews to build credibility. In which case how can you encourage clients – existing and historic – to leave complementary comments about their experience of your brand?

  • Customers are more likely to comment if they’ve received great service. So if a client tells you they’re delighted, send them a link to your chosen review site
  • Did you turn a poor experience into a great one? Again, prospects are more likely to respond – so don’t be afraid to nudge them and ask for feedback

Clients who thought you provided poor service are less likely to air their views publicly. So be careful not to prod the hornets nest and only encourage feedback from brand advocates.

Building your B2B brand and want better reviews?

Then we’d love to help you build a strong and credible brand image in your sector. Book a free consultation with one of our B2B marketing specialists to take the next step.

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