This headline may seem like a riddle but it’s not meant to be. A review is more than a review… when there is more than one.
Most businesses think of that last review in the singular. That it adds one more to the count. That it’s a compliment or a criticism. That it feels a certain way. It. It. It. All in the singular.
Reviews In Aggregate Take On More Value
There is no denying that getting a new review is important in the singular but I would contend that for all the value of the single review, the value of the body of reviews is greater by several orders of magnitude.
Google has long understood this. These are the Google uses of reviews that we know about (and they are probably doing much more with reviews that we have not yet identified).
- They use reviews to answer questions
- They use reviews to rank a business
- They use reviews to compare businesses quality to others in their cohort
- They analyze reviews to understand the many things a business does
- They parse reviews to help consumers dig into specific areas of a business
Reviews in aggregate take on so much more value for a business that it is time to expand our thinking and start seeing the value of a body of reviews and not just of the review itself.
Aggregate Review Content In Action
Many businesses and agencies have developed tactical variations of using review content to create a business impact with success.
- Wil Reynolds wrote a great piece about how you can do a statistical analysis of your reviews and your competitor reviews to create great content and to start to understand why your customers love you (or not).
- Angie Shotmueller has often explored the idea of how social proof impacts conversions.
- Phil Rozek recently wrote a great article on using reviews for keyword research.
- And many have written about using schema to highlight your reviews in the search results.
Those are all good tactics that we have embraced in our product (and automated) so that you too can get these benefits, while still getting on with the business of business.
A More Strategic Role for Reviews
We have long held the conviction that reviews could play a more strategic role for every business. In the praise, the complaints, and the details, reviews contain the information needed to help you build a better business.
Businesses need to get to the point where they understand their customer’s experience so intimately through active listening that they can not only attend to what’s happening today but anticipate what needs to happen tomorrow. Because of this operational and experiential excellence, customers will be delighted. Delighted customers don’t just leave a review… they leave an endorsement.
That is what it will take to compete going forward and gathering a corpus of 1st- and 3rd-party reviews can provide the intelligence to help you do just that including:
- Turn Passives into Promoters
What if you could look at your 3- and 4-star reviews and parse out what it would it was specifically that those folks both liked and disliked about your business? Knowing that information, you could develop specific plans to take those users from passive customers to true promoters of your business.
- Understand Strengths That Set You Apart
What if you could look at all of your reviews and understand, in the customer’s voice, what specific products, people, and services stood out for them? You could work to embrace those strengths and highlight those things in your communications.
- Be Alerted to Action Earlier
What if, for example, you were a multi-location restaurant and wanted to get an early warning across multiple locations that folks were experiencing digestive distress? You could avoid the Chipotle problem.
From Tactical to Strategic with GatherUp
You can do all those things! And we can help.
If you need a bigger body of review content to inform insights, use GatherUp to request reviews via email or SMS. Offer customer-activated reviews using TextBack, Feedback Locator, and the Feedback URL. With these features in motion, 1st- and 3rd-party reviews for your business will grow.
Using sentiment analysis, the Insights Report processes your body of reviews (both 1st- and 3rd-party) to help surface not just what is right with your business but also the impact of persistent issues that keep your business from greatness.
For example, a customer can give a 1-star rating that includes positive sentiment in the review content.
The customer’s sentiment of “long line” is negative and reflected in the star-rating, however, “cold press coffee” is discovered to have a positive sentiment. Understanding your body of reviews beyond the star-rating helps you understand what’s working and what’s not so that you can better prioritize action.
Using Auto-Tagging along with Insights report allows sentiments to be used to ferret out the potential business reputation threats lurking around the corner that might just do you in.
You can then bake this mission-critical information into daily reports that you can get every morning to be sure you are NOT the next Chipotle.
With our schema-based Review Widget, Conversion Pop-up and tagging capabilities for building out page-specific content you can have ever-changing rich snippet content on your site and visual social proof using your most recent reviews… All done automatically.
These tactics all take reviews out of the singular view of their utility into activities that utilize the whole body of reviews at scale for uses well beyond their solitary value.
Reviews Help Build A Better Business
Reviews can provide the grist for the mill of your continued improvement. One review is useful but having many and then understanding what they are telling you is gold.
If complaints are the building blocks of a business then understanding your customers are like the plumbing, electricity, heating, and air.
When is a review more than a review? When there is more than one… And you use them to help you build a better business.