Did you know that 88% of all customers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations (Shrestha, 2019)? Therefore, it is no surprise that some experts claim that customer reviews are the new word-of-mouth! Continue reading to find out more:
1. Customer reviews
Customer reviews are seen as mainly honest, unbiased reviews of the products or services offered by a company. In this way, potential customers can see what others’ firsthand experiences with the products are. In addition, customers no longer fully trust the product descriptions or “experts’ opinions”. In fact, customers consider online reviews 12 times more trustworthy than the company’s own product description (Vidal, 2017). Therefore, every company needs to have a proper customer feedback management tool.
Customer reviews also show that your company is trustworthy. This, in turn, increases sales by an average of 18% (ibid.). What is more, user-generated content increases your website’s visibility and drives traffic. Customer reviews also help you to create a feedback loop and to adapt and improve your products. Therefore, based on all this we can say that customer reviews are here to stay.
Word-of-mouth (also known as referral marketing) is the original customer review. It was the way people found out about a business and whether or not it was any good. It was the “social proof” needed for many customers that a company is legitimate. To put it in numbers, customers are 4 times more likely to purchase an item recommended by a friend (Nielsen, 2018).
Despite how popular customer reviews are nowadays, word-of-mouth is still a big influence on people’s purchasing decision. Personal recommendations by friends and family are a deciding factor for many customers.
3. Which one is better?
So, which one is better: online reviews or word-of-mouth? The truth is that even though both are vital, customer reviews are becoming even more important lately. In fact, even if word-of-mouth is the preferred marketing tool for a company, they would still need some digital help in the form of an online referral program. Even though word-of-mouth has its value and applications in today’s business world, customer reviews are ultimately a very effective way to increase business. Therefore, be innovative and use customer reviews as your word-of-mouth! Encourage customers to leave you reviews online and on social media. Thus, you turn your customers into brand ambassadors.