Anyone can write a review. That’s a good thing.
But, then again, not everyone should write a review.
Don’t worry, we’re not turning into the Bullingdon Society of review sites… But we do think that if you have an open-door policy to reviewers, you might end up with reviews written by the riff raff. Copy and paste jobs or reviews written by fakes, frauds or fools are of no use to your customers at all.
So to stop that happening, we’d recommend opting for a closed review system.
What’s a closed review system?
This is where you proactively collect reviews from verified customers. It means no ‘write a review’ buttons and no open submissions. Basically, it’s better in two ways:
- You send every customer a review request, which means more volume and more accurate feedback;
- And there’s no chance of a fake review (only people that bought the product are contacted).
At Reevoo we do it by contacting reviewers via email based on purchase feeds we receive from our clients. We think that’s the most effective way to do it.
Below, we take a look at the six main advantages to a closed review system over an open one. It will make a world of difference for your brand.
1. No fake information
Fake reviews aren’t fair.
And with an open system, unflattering, inaccurate and downright libellous information could be turning away your potential customers.
An open review ecosystem allows anyone to write anything they feel about anything they feel, with no vetting or verification to ensure that their criticisms are fair or grounded in actual experience. Not good.
Sure, you might cop some bad reviews – that’s part of the game. But at least they’re fair criticisms from people who own the product, or stayed in the guest house, or experienced the service.
In a closed review ecosystem, where reviews can be verified as authentic, you get valuable feedback. - Highlight to share -
A closed review system lets your customers discuss the features, issues, and questions they care about – and your potential customers know what they’re reading is a real account.
2. Reliable feedback
One of the coolest benefits to a vibrant review ecosystem is the feedback loop it creates for your business, from the product team down to the sales and marketing departments. If there is something you are doing right – or wrong – you’ll hear about it in your reviews.
In a closed review ecosystem, where reviews can be verified as authentic, you get valuable feedback.
You’ll know if part of your messaging just isn’t translating, or if consumers are clamouring for new or different features.
You gain lots of valuable insights that you can use to head back to the drawing board, improve, and come back to sell even more.
But in an environment where fake reviews abound and troll reviewers seek just to make companies look silly and discredit them, no review can be taken at face value, and nor can its criticisms.
With a closed review environment, you can trust – and act on – your feedback.
3. No bias
A benefit to contacting every customer for a review is that you get a more balanced spectrum of opinions from a more balanced spectrum of people (not just the really angry or really happy ones).
In fact, we find that the people in the middle (the ones who don’t normally think to write reviews) are the ones with the really valuable nuggets of insight.
We’re repeating ourselves, so check out this blog for our thoughts on review bias (and how to stop it).
When you collect reviews from existing customers, you gain valuable market data. Closed reviews let you segment customers in useful ways. - Highlight to share -
4. Greater satisfaction
When people know exactly what they’re getting, they’re much happier.
They are more likely to become loyal to your brand and frequently become repeat customers. They will advocate for your brand, write more reviews of your products, and generally reward your transparency.
Reviews are a great way to create this environment – as long as they can be trusted.
One review on a product might not be an accurate summation. One hundred (or even better, one thousand) is more likely to be close to the mark.
Opt-in Ask-an-Owner features are another good way to let people find precisely what they want to know before deciding to buy. Even if your product information page is extensive, product owners are always on hand to clear up any remaining vagueness that may surround your product and its performance.
The number one reason for product returns to online retailers is because the product received was not what the customer was expecting. A broad and trustworthy set of opinions from your customers might save you valuable time and money in reshelving, restocking, shipping, and inventory management.
5. Greater trust
As study after study has shown, consumers trust others “like them” far more than they trust corporate marking copy, paid celebrity endorsements, or even expert opinions. They want to know what regular folks think about the product because they believe they can trust them.
That’s why reviews are so powerful.
Reviews tell your customers, “Don’t take our word for it. See what other people like you are saying.”
They enable you to leverage the true quality of your product by trading on the real goodwill it has earned among your customers. This positive word-of-mouth is more valuable today than any footballer’s smiling endorsement, or a catchy pop jingle.
So it’s on you to make sure it can be trusted.
Using a trusted third party provider (and slapping their Trustmark on your reviews) shows customers that their trust matters to you.
But if you’re found to have fraudulent or unverified reviews, that trust is gone forever.
6. More data
When you collect reviews from customers, you gain valuable market data. But it’s when you can segment customers that it gets really useful.
You can organise your customer base into things like “city drivers,” or “experienced photographers,” or single television owners.” This is great for two reasons.
First, it gives you insight into how different groups react to your product. You can tailor your messaging to the exact needs and concerns of each group, improving conversion with more relevant marketing.
Second, it gives you the ability to let your customers sort reviews by their own demographics, letting them see only the reviews that are relevant to them.
Choose a closed system to collect reviews that are genuine and genuinely useful for your customers.