IRCE 2010: How User Reviews Can be a Web Asset

Jun 10, 2010 7:36 PM  By

Chicago–Still not sold on adding user ratings and reviews to your Website? Maybe you should listen to GoGreenSolar.com’s story.

The marketer of solar panels, wind turbines, LED lights, and energy efficiency products has seen a monthly sales lift of 20% each month since becoming proactive with reviews, according to its founder/CEO Deep Patel.

“Having a great review on your Website is going to give you a competitive edge, and I think it can add more value to your business,” Patel said during a session at IRCE 2010. “If you can show that value, your customers will be willing to pay a premium. We don’t have the lowest prices in our sector, but consumers feel safe when they see 96 positive feedbacks on a product.”

But it’s not all about positive reviews. Patel says GoGreenSolar.com’s company culture is to ask customers for reviews. And if a review comes in that includes a rating below a 4, its customer service reps can work to remedy the situation.

That’s a smart move, according to session copresenter Neal Creighton, CEO of customer feedback and online reputation management services provider RatePoint. That’s because some of your best brand advocates are people who have been upset to begin with and were turned around when the merchant tried to make things right.

“If you ask for a review and it’s a negative one, 90% of them can be turned around by interacting with that customer,” Creighton said. “Step up, embrace your customers and harness that power to drive your business.”

Creighton noted that what your customers say online, whether it’s on your site or on social review sites like Yelp or Yahoo Local, tells others a lot about your business. And that can either bring people in or keep them away.

He also pointed to a July 2009 survey by marketing firm Econsultancy that said 90% of consumers trust recommendations of people they know, but 70% trust opinions of complete strangers online.

Ratings and reviews don’t have to stay on a static product page, either. One thing GoGreenSolar.com has done with them is use positive reviews as testimonials on other parts of its Website.

The merchant has also posted customer reviews on its Facebook page and Twitter feed. Though it was a risk, Patel said it’s had its rewards.

“The reviews spread,” he noted. “People have been sharing them on Facebook and retweeting them to their followers.”