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Reviews: The Value Of Letting Customers Have Their Say

I recently visited an online store and for some reason, I was hesitant about placing an order, unsure about the security on the site. Looking around for a “Testimonials” page, I was unable to find one. I wanted reassurance from other customers that they had achieved customer satisfaction from this site and I didn’t see it so I left.

Many websites will have a Testimonials page which offers reassurance to customers. However, they tend to be limited in number and the recency of the testimonial is often not available to see.  Can a review feedback service offer more than a “Testimonials” page? I think it can. Having recently installed Louder Voice on my site, I thought I would share with you for reasons for doing so and the advantages I have found so far.

Why use a review feedback service?

  • It offers feedback – negative and positive. In the case of negative feedback, you have the opportunity to communicate with the customer and redress the situation, as well as improving your customer service and/or products into the bargain.
  • Positive feedback will increase confidence in your brand and should increase sales. It has been shown to improve sales conversions by up to 40%
  • It will improve the SEO of the site.  Reviewers often name the product in the review too which also helps your SEO.
  • It provides up to date fresh content (which of course Google likes) but also reassures customers when they see recent reviews.
  • They are written by genuine customers and as not all reviews will be perfect, I believe that as long as customers can see that any problems will be addressed, it comes across as genuine.  (by the way, you do see every comment before you publish it)
  • If a customer is unhappy, it is better that they tell you about it and give you a chance to resolve the problem, rather than they telling many others without you knowing.
  • Do have a strategy in place to deal with any negative reviews so you are prepared should one happen. I once noticed an angry customer post a very disgruntled update on an online store’s Facebook page. The company eventually reacted (they didn’t notice it for 2 days) by writing some pretty obvious false ‘positive’ reviews which enraged the disgruntled customer even further and she wrote yet another inflamed review. Most reviews will be positive but be prepared to act to assuage the customer who isn’t.

I had long admired the way Puddleducks have their most recent reviews on their front page,  very visible, thereby offering reassurance and confidence in its service and products.

Reviews from the Puddleducks website


At Garrendenny Lane, we have an excerpt of the review appearing in the right side bar of the front page and they alternate in turn.  They are not the main focus of the page, being quite subtle but are still very visible. When the plus symbol is clicked, the customer can see a selection of reviews.

Reviews are also posted on the product page.  There is a score star system so if a score of 4 out of 5 is awarded, for example, 4 stars light up. The comments are also available to see. I have found this particularly useful in reiterating the quality of our products, particularly with items such as soft furnishings where shoppers often like to feel the quality as well as see the product.

It is also possible to have the reviews posted to our Facebook Reviews page in the same click as it publishes the reviews on the website, thus spreading the good news. As you can see in the image below, it is a separate tab on the business page. Tthe reviews page provides links to the products, provides the score and review per product and gives the overall score of all the reviews too.

Approximately 10% of customers asked to review, will do so.
We email the customer about a week after despatching it with a polite request for their review.  LinkedIn offers a wonderful opportunity for businesses and person to ask for and include reviews on their profiles and it has long since been seen as a valuable tool.  No matter what you are selling, letting potential customers see what their peers thought about your products and services will provide potential new visitors to your site and confidence for users to go ahead and purchase. Please leave your comments below.

Lorna Sixsmith is a social media trainer at Write on Track, providing mentoring, training and content creation services to SMEs. Particularly passionate about blogging and Pinterest, Lorna also teaches these courses online at We Teach Social. Married to a dairy farmer in SE Ireland, Lorna recently self published her first book 'Would You Marry A Farmer?', a humourous look at life married to an Irish farmer.

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  • Hi Catherine, maybe I am reading too much in to it, but I think the snow worked almost like release valve after all the doom & gloom that’s gone before. “Embrace the Season” Here’s what happened during the break at Des Bishop gig at the International Comedy Club

  • Hi Catherine, nnGetting out is important like you said and once you get started, it’s not that cold. nnWorse I ever experienced was -40 but you (almost) get used to it.nnsome pics here

  • Some great reminders there Catherine. I particularly like the one about embracing the season. I dislike the cold and wet conditions prevalent in Ireland’s winters, so I am embracing this more “winter wonderland” type of weather.nnI think the travelling one is most important, I always carry spare headlamp bulbs, high viz jacket, torch, scraper, disposable gloves, tools, spare water and a few other personal bits (hand-cream, wipes, spare shoes, blanket) and that’s only for summer driving :)nnThanks for the timely reminders 🙂

  • Thank you for the comments, Elaine I like the Travel list you have….. very useful indeed…. nnIvan I love your photos and have gone to view them several times…. nnNiall that looks like a wonderful event and a great example of ’embracing the season’…

  • Hi Lorna, I agree! Allowing customers to leave reviews/feedbacks is critical if you sell online and even negative reviews provide you with an opportunity to do something about it, thereforeu00a0potentially turning the negatives into positives for your business. For me at least, you learn more about a company in how they handle difficult situations. Thanks for sharing, Niallu00a0

  • Absolutely spot Lorna!u00a0 This is a must read for all online retailers. I always trawl through reviews before making purchases onlineu00a0and it can be a big deciding factor for me in completing my purchase. I like what @NiallDevitt says too about it being an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive reflection of your customer service.

  • Conor O’Neill

    Thanks for the great mention Lorna! We’re delighted that LouderVoice is working so well for you. We’ve just deployed a bunch of new features including inline-replies from the site owner and the ability for customers to write reviews inside Facebook too. Watch out for the update in your inbox this week 🙂

  • Replies from the site owner are a great idea Conor as I’d love to reply to a great review in particular and it’d be great to have that facility if there was ever a negative review too – partly so others can see that action is taken immendiately to resolve any problems.

  • Lorna, this is a great post, and gets me thinking how valuable testimonials and reviews are for browsing. Like yourself, I always look for reviews and testimonials before using a site, service or product (as well as availing of Twitter and FB to follow the business).nnI have testimonials on my site, but really need to update them, thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Hi Lorna, well done for using reviews. Testimonials add lesser value than reviews to a site as most people realise that the site manager could actually have written them and of course, there won’t be an impartial editorial policy. I agree with Niall about negative reviews being an opportunity to respond and improve and I would like to add that negative reviews add authenticity to the positive reviews. People can clearly see that negative feedback is permitted and will then more readily believe the positive reviews, which should of course be the majority! I work with the tourism sector and Trip Advisor is a regular topic of debate. However, it’s there, embrace it and invite reviews post holiday is my suggestion & you are doing exactly that in a very smart way! Nice practical post Lorna – thank you. ~ Helen

  • Roisin Bell

    How do you communicate the discount Niall – on your invoice or by email etc?

  • Ha! Love that idea Niall – I might steal it! Thanks for a useful and timely post Roisin. At present we are offering enhanced pricing to valued clients based on hitting a minimum amount in a calendar month etc. and based on sticking to credit terms. Good for our cash flow and good for the client’s bottom line 🙂

  • Usually both! Typically, I use it where I have developed a good partnership with the business and its people. “I really enjoyed working with you guys, we worked really well together and achieved what we set out to, thank for the opportunity and I’d love to work with you again”

  • Feel free Paula 🙂

  • Marksecko

    Hi Roisin.nnYou seem to have a good handle on your pricing, how to do pricing for your projects. I deal in software sales for small to mid-sized projects (Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains (GP)u00a0reseller in Ontario, Canada). They range in price from $20 – $150k for software and service. I have been able to charge a higher rate and get it if you show the value. You have to be able to prove that you are worth more than your lower priced competitor. Further, sometimes, you just have to hold the line (i.e. – no discount). Some prospects are just testing you because they have been TAUGHT (PURCHASING) to do this. Good luck and do not be afraid to charge what you think you are worth!!nnMark SeckonEndeavour [email protected]

  • Roisin Bell

    Thanks Mark. I think showing the value is something I don’t always do. Sometimes we presume clients ‘get’ what a valuable result they’re getting, but it’s always worth spelling it out to them.u00a0

  • Roisin Bell

    Spelling out to the client the good value they’re getting is not something I enough of and it’s crazy to assume they’ll realise it by themselves.u00a0Thanks Paula!

  • Wow Catherine!
    I was just about to leave a comment and realised this post is from last year. But it is so worth bringing it up again – what great advice 🙂

    Self care is so important for ourselves and our business. Last year, I was stranded at home for a solid week (rear wheel drive not good in ice) and relished in my daily ventures out in the snow, specifically to get my much craved Vit D but to breathe the crisp fresh country air – almost intoxicating (in a good way). I felt energised and was able to embrace the cold spells we had 🙂

    In fact I was more productive as I wasn’t racing around the place, and managed a lot of work from home (even training)

  • Like you Elaine I remember the cold weather of last year and we were snowed in for several days, but I still put on my boots and headed out in the fields for a walk with the dog who also loved getting out and nosing around the snow… plus it makes getting home and making some hot chocolate all the more special 🙂

  • yep, a great post that we can refer to year after year 🙂

  • warrenrutherford

    Wow – this was an extremely helpful post.  Certainly not scannable:).   Debbie I use these and never understood the logic behind them, so simply explained and understood (well almost) by a non-techie.  Thanks so much.

  • Debi Harper

    Phew:) glad it was helpful Warren and thank you for you kind comments, I am still a very nervous blogger.

  • Debi Harper

    Thank you Niall 🙂

  • Finally Debi!!! Thank you for taking the opportunity to educate those who are constantly or often thinking in terms of Apps.
    On a lighter note, it always amuses me when I am in a training room and use the word APP (and we are working with MS Excel for example). 99% of attendees immediately think of their phone, and not the “application” that we have been working on and learning about) Always makes me smile.App is definitely associated with mobile devices, and we have to use Application or Program to differentiate the desktop version 🙂

  • Debi Harper

    Thank you Elaine , so glad it was useful . It is amazing how quickly the word APP has become so widely related to mobile,especially the younger generation. I have to say and it is funny and a little scary that when I get asked in our local town what we do,I totally confuse people:) I now tend to now say we work with computers and phones.

  • Great post Debi, thanks for sharing it as this is something that confuses so many people. Going forward I’ll be able to share your post so people can decide what they’re really looking for. 

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