Customer Review Sites are now an integral part of every customer journey. It is, therefore, essential for companies to deal extensively with rating portals. Here are some suggestions.
What are customer review sites?
Customer Review Sites are online platforms that enable consumers to make public opinions and ratings (ratings) on products, companies, or services. As a rule, individual review platforms serve specific industries, such as TripAdvisor for the tourism industry or Yelp for the catering and service industry.
It is common for opinions to be given in standardized, quantitative ratings like stars or scores with rating portals. These quantitative assessments are usually justified by free text comments describing the brand or customer experience, i.e., the brand and customer experience.
Rating portals have an opinion-forming function and significantly impact consumers’ purchasing decisions. Consumers use the opinions of other consumers to form an image of brands, products, services, and companies. The ratings, therefore, have a significant impact on consumer behavior.
Rating customer review sites as marketing tools
Review portals also have the aspect of a marketing tool. A good ranking on large review platforms can be a great help in customer acquisition because consumers tend to choose the first visible ads, i.e. those that are particularly highly ranked, as a possible purchase option, similar to Google, Amazon, Ebay.
For this reason, more and more companies are setting themselves the goal within customer experience management of collecting as many positive reviews as possible to improve the ranking and thus be noticed by consumers as early as possible.
In the third quarter of 2020, the rating portal Yelp.com was visited by around 55 million unique users via mobile devices and 43 million desktop users (source: Statista). These numbers illustrate the importance of review portals for companies and ensuring positive customer experiences to receive as many positive reviews as possible.
The more positive this customer experience is, the more willing consumers are to reward this experience with a positive rating on a customer review site. The principle of the Net Promoter Score illustrates this clearly.
Importance of rating portals for companies
For companies, rating portals are essential for quality management, measuring customer satisfaction, and determining online reputation. Anonymously on the Internet, one is often inclined to write one’s opinion with less inhibition than when one is asked for one’s opinion face-to-face in a shop.
Evaluation portals thus help companies to control and monitor their own reputation management since the public image of a company is of enormous importance for long-term customer loyalty.
Reviews on review sites allow businesses to identify potential improvement opportunities and work to provide better customer experiences. Evaluation portals thus ensure unembellished and unfiltered customer feedback.
Importance of rating portals for consumers
Rating portals are useful resources for consumers to find the best service, the best product and the most popular brands as quickly and easily as possible. In reality, it looks like this: you want to eat in a burger restaurant, for example, your cell phone is pulled out and you search the Yelp app for a burger restaurant near your location.
Several corresponding restaurant offers are then displayed and consumers then decide which of these burger restaurants to visit based on the ratings given by other consumers. For consumers, this means finding a restaurant that offers them the best possible customer experience, and for the restaurant, it means finding new customers. An actual win-win situation.
Advantages of customer review sites
There are pros and cons of customer reviews for companies that must be kept in mind when deciding to display products and services in customer review sites.
Some of the advantages are:
- Real customer feedback from real customers on a third party website for free.
- Promotion of customer trust and better chances of gaining customer loyalty.
- Improvement in SEO results and online brand reputation.
- Learning about the customer experience to improve company’s efforts.
Top 9 Customer Review Sites at a glance
1. Google My Business
The Google My Business rating portal provided by Google is one of the most essential platforms for the product, brand, service, or company ratings. It is easy to use, straightforward and very useful, especially for small to medium-sized companies, to optimize their ranking in Google search. According to SEO experts, the ratings influence the Google ranking.
Not only is the higher ranking a clear plus point for the Google My Business rating portal, but positive ratings, as already mentioned above, have a significant influence on the consumer’s decision.
Google is an important element in almost every customer journey, whether it is online shopping or a visit to a restaurant. There is now almost always at least one online touchpoint with the Google search engine, which is hardly surprising given a market share of more than 90% among all search engines.
Most of the time, the first thing that catches the eye of Google users are the reviews of the listed companies. And that’s why Google My Business is so important because customers from the first opinion here, and as we all know, that’s one of the most important ones.
2. Trip Advisor
Founded in 2000, TripAdvisor is undoubtedly one of the most important and largest rating portals for the tourism industry. It is also important to note that TripAdvisor is, above all a comparison portal through which you can book hotels, experiences and restaurants.
With almost 900 million reviews, more than 9 million establishments have been rated so far. In 2019, around 460 million unique users visited TripAdvisor every month. You can see from the key figures mentioned that this evaluation and comparison portal offers a huge marketing potential for companies.
Due to the specialization of TripAdvisor, every company in the tourism industry is well advised to position itself as well as possible and to be rated positively. Not only in terms of ranking in search results, but also in terms of quality and reputation management.
Businesses have an average of about 100 reviews on TripAdvisor. The large hotel and restaurant chains in particular have several hundred ratings per location, and of course, they are not all positive. It is important not to simply leave negative reviews uncommented or not to draw any conclusions from them at all because you do not consider it important.
First, you could lose customers who have had negative experiences for other locations, and moreover, all reviews are important to optimize your offers, especially if you are pursuing a high-price strategy or the market is highly competitive.
In addition, companies should always respond to negative criticism to signal to customers that you take their ratings first and want to keep them. Due to the high number of users and importance of the TripAdvisor rating platform and the arguments mentioned, companies in the tourism industry should promote good quality and reputation management here.
Yelp was founded in 2004 by former PayPal employees Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppelman. Around 200 million reviews and 16 years later, Yelp is one of the top rating platforms for reviews and ratings in the field of gastronomy.
Unlike TripAdvisor, Yelp is less industry-specific. Yelp gives you the ability to rate almost any service. The structure of the rating portal is somewhat reminiscent of a social network. Yelp offers its users the opportunity to share and like, users can interact more with each other on Yelp than is the case with other rating portals.
Reviews and ratings thus spread faster, this applies to both positive and negative ratings. Yelp’s business model is purely based on advertising revenue, companies pay money to advertise on Yelp. Reputation and quality management is extremely important here.
Due to the faster distribution of reviews, the viewability of reviews is significantly higher than on other review platforms. That’s why you should focus even more on responding directly to negative comments in order to possibly improve the review.
Kununu is a rating platform on which employees can rate companies. This review is publicly available and provides a potential new employee with an opportunity to find out more about the company. According to their own information, almost 965,000 companies with 4.5 million reviews have been rated on the Kununu rating portal.
Employees can rate the company based on 13 characteristics in 4 categories. Applicants can also rate the application process. Kununu has become a confidential source in the DACH region when it comes to publicly available employee feedback.
The goal of von Kununu is that everyone finds the right company for themselves and, conversely, every company finds the right talents.
The rating portal G2 is better known in specialist circles and in technology companies since G2 specializes exclusively in software. The market for software and web applications of all kinds is so huge and therefore confusing that G2 is a very useful platform to find out about customer experiences in this area before deciding to buy or license software.
That’s why G2 is also one of the best-known B2B marketplaces in the world. Review platforms have a significant impact on the marketing and sales of companies. That’s why companies should take their presence here very seriously and seize the opportunity to generate leads and increase sales through as many positive reviews as possible.
Wondering why Facebook is listed here? Of course, Facebook is not really a review portal in the true sense, but primarily a social network. But Facebook also offers users on the so-called company pages to rate products, services and brands. When talking about Facebook, the number of users should not go unmentioned.
Facebook has 1.9 billion users, 342 million of them in Europe alone. This is one of the reasons why Facebook is an indispensable marketing tool for companies. A company that has a company page on Facebook can therefore be rated by Facebook members.
Depending on the presence and popularity of the company, the visibility of these company pages and thus also that of the ratings fluctuates, but nevertheless, due to the high number of users, it can be assumed that the visibility is similar to that on classic rating portals. And finally, as a company, you can also book advertisements via Facebook, which significantly increases visibility.
Trustpilot is certainly one of the most important review portals in the world. Trustpilot is also one of the 1% most popular websites worldwide. No wonder, then, that Trustpilot has become an indispensable part of many a customer journey.
When you think of a customer journey, you probably think of the usual touchpoints such as Google search, social media, TV, radio, etc. On average, a customer often has more than 20 touch points before a product is bought. And each of these touchpoints has an impact on whether customers decide to make a purchase.
Trustpilot has over 4 million reviews per month, which means there’s a very good chance a potential customer will stumble across a review of your business through Trustpilot. Trustpilot also offers companies services such as getting more reviews and thus greater visibility on this important review portal. This should help to create greater trust among consumers.
8. Trusted shops
Trusted Shops probably has the most well-known seal in the world of e-commerce. With its Trusted Shops seal, the rating portal guarantees that a company that receives this award is a reliable provider. Trusted Shops attaches great importance to the fact that ratings are authentic and not fake.
Test analysis and artificial intelligence ensure that suspicious reviews are identified and deleted accordingly. This has the advantage that consumers have a high level of trust in the ratings and can be sure that they are not unfair entries. On the one hand, Trusted Shop fulfills the purpose of a rating portal, on the other hand, it is also a company that ensures the security of the consumers when shopping online.
As the name suggests, Golocal is a review platform that aims to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find local service providers. In addition, the rating portal, similar to Yelp, offers the opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with other users via a forum. For companies, Golocal provides a widget for integration into their website. Consumers can access the reviews on golocal to find out more about the company and write reviews about their experiences themselves.
Always keep an eye on customer review sites
Rating portals are very important for companies because, with millions of users, they are real opinion-makers and are therefore integrated into the customer journey. The great marketing and sales potential that companies with a particularly large number of good ratings have is of course the main reason why companies should take rating portals very seriously.
Rating portals are also extremely important for quality and reputation management, as this has a direct impact on sales. Good reputation management can ensure that consumers remain loyal to companies and recommend products, brands and services. Quality management should be one of the most important topics in the company, and rating portals are also a valuable feedback provider for this.
Companies should therefore take rating portals very seriously and provide human resources to monitor them and react immediately to negative ratings. QuestionPro is the perfect solution for this. With the web app for online reputation management, you always have an overview of all important rating portals on a single user interface and can react to ratings directly from the app without having to constantly log into each individual rating portal and navigate through the ratings .
→ Information about the reputation management app from QuestionPro.