Reviews: your customer’s journey
In the early days of reviews on the web (over ten years ago now) much of review management strategy relied on guesswork. We now have concrete research – from the likes of Cornell University and many others – to enable us to be certain of your customer’s journey. Even better: we have your feedback.
What our clients are telling us
And this is coming through loud and clear: Google – unsurprisingly – is by far the main influence in driving traffic to your website, so that’s where you need to make sure you have reviews (and a great score); next, before making contact, they check your own website and you need to look even better there – and have more reviews.
Barely a day goes by when we don‘t speak to a client who says “It’s the reviews on our site that are driving new business.”
The customer journey in detail
First: they conduct a local search (since over 70% of such searches are made on mobile or tablet, all the illustrations here are on those platforms, but the same goes for desktop and laptop):
Then they choose the individual business:
Then they scroll to read the rich snippets – and see your score (again):
Then they may even read the full Google reviews:
For low value purchases such as a meal in a restaurant the search may simply end there, but for higher value – hotels, for example – and very high value transactional decisions (legal, financial, estate agency and so on) the search invariably moves to the business’s own website, where they see our client‘s HelpHound module:
They then read more reviews:
And – at this point in the journey – they respond to your call to action (phone or email).
The customer journey is simple: google the business – read reviews. If impressed*: visit business’s website. Read more reviews. If even more impressed: make contact.
That is why it is so important to ensure a positive presence on both Google and your own website – great reviews (and a great score) on Google will channel your prospective customer to your website where more great reviews prompt them to initiate contact.
Note: Of course, if your other marketing is driving visitors direct to your site, the reviews you host there become even more important.
*’Impressed’: this works both ways. If you have negative reviews (or no reviews) on Google you will be giving your potential customer the wrong impression. Review management is no longer optional for engaged businesses in 2016.