Positive online reviews have an enormous impact on customer purchasing behavior. Studies show that 95 percent of consumers tend to read reviews first before buying anything online. On top of that, eight percent of buyers use Google ratings and reviews to discover new local businesses. (Spiegel Research Center, 2021)
The same study also points out the value of verified buyers. Customers who post verified or authenticated reviews tend to give higher ratings than anonymous reviewers. Consumers also perceive these reviews as more credible. Because of this, businesses should formulate a review generation strategy that focuses on verified reviews.
Verified vs. Unverified Reviews
Verified reviews are reviews that consumers post online after purchasing a product or service. They are tied to actual transactions customers have made, which is why people trust them – they’re based on real customer experience. As such, these reviews have a stronger influence on a buyer’s behavior than anonymous reviews.
Studies show that 27 percent of consumers will trust reviews only if they can verify that it’s authentic. Having more authenticated reviews can boost your business’s credibility and transparency. In contrast, using fake reviews to increase your online business reputation won’t produce the results you’re expecting. (Power Reviews, 2018)
Research by Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center also shows that verified reviews tend to generate higher ratings compared to unverified reviews. Here is some critical data from their research on certified and uncertified reviews:
- Verified customer reviews produce an average star rating of 4.34 stars, which is within the ideal range of 4.2 to 4.5 stars to increase the probability of generating sales.
- Unverified customer reviews, on the other hand, have an average rating of 3.89 stars, which is below the ideal level.
- Verified client reviews mention 6.5 percent more pros and 50 percent fewer cons about a product.
- Unverified client reviews are 80 percent longer, making them harder to read, which shows that expounding negative opinions requires more words.
- Ten verified four-star reviews have more impact on the customer’s mind than 10 five-star reviews that aren’t verified.
Managing Fake Reviews
Google ratings and reviews are excellent lead acquisition tools. They create a verifiable marketing message informing potential customers how well your products or services solve people’s problems. In addition, consumers can consider them as an unbiased guide when deciding whether to do business with your company or not. For this reason, you should include them in your review generation strategy.
However, not all customer reviews are written by actual customers. Some of the reviews you’ll see posted online are fake. In addition, there are competitors who are using fake reviews to boost their industry ranking.
Studies show that fake reviews are pretty common. According to one survey, 62 percent of consumers online have read fake Google reviews. (Bright Local, 2022)
This can be a problem for companies struggling with Google ratings and reviews who want to attract more leads. Fake reviews can sway the public’s opinion against their business. On top of that, you’re dealing with content on a third-party review portal, which means you can’t just take down fake Google reviews on your own. You need to go through Google’s reviewal processes to have them removed.
Because of this, an effective online review monitoring process should be part of your strategy. Online reputation consultants can help you create a robust review response using the latest online reputation management software. They can also assist you with online review monitoring to catch fake reviews quickly.
You’ll have the advantage of using powerful review management software to identify when people are using fake reviews to tarnish your brand image. Your review response will be two-fold: spotting fake reviews on time and then flagging them for removal. You can do that more efficiently using online reputation management software.
Spotting Fake Reviews
The following are some best practices for spotting fake online reviews. Included in the list are signs you should look out for.
- Fewer details about products or services
When people use fake reviews to damage a company’s reputation, they tend to include more personal stories rather than details about the product or service they’re reviewing. They don’t have first-hand experience with the product, so they have to boost their content with subjective opinions instead of product-specific details. (Cornell Univeristy, 2013)
You can spot more fake reviews in your online review monitoring process with the help of effective review management software. You can analyze the content and check how many product details are highlighted and determine whether the review is fake or not.
- Analyze the complexity of the words being used
Studies show that when people are deceptive, they tend to use simple words. This is because their focus is on fabricating a believable story rather than expressing facts about your products or services. Crafting a well-composed and articulate review response can help negate the points raised by the fake review. (Research Gate, 2003)
- Watch out for multiple exclamation points
One MIT study shows that fake customer reviews contain more exclamation points. You can use online reputation management software to locate reviews with this type of content. You can later flag these reviews if you suspect them to be bogus. In addition, customers who sincerely complain about your products or services tend to provide actionable and thoughtful feedback. (MIT, 2011)
- Flag reviews without comments
Google and other third-party review portals can allow ratings without comments. However, as a rule, all negative reviews without comments should be flagged for removal.
- Check how often the commenter leaves reviews
People who are paid to write negative reviews post their comments in bulk. Inspect account summaries on Google or other platforms to see how often the reviewer has left comments and ratings. When reviewers submit multiple reviews in a single day, they’re likely submitting fake reviews.
Removing Fake Reviews
Spotting fake reviews can be a tedious process, which is why it is best to partner with a reputable online reputation management services provider. They can equip your team with leading review management software to help you identify fake and unverified reviews. In addition, their online reputation consultants can also assist your team in removing fake reviews.
Here are the steps in the review removal process:
- Determine the reviews you want to remove.
- Log into the review portal (Amazon, Google Business Profile, Facebook, etc.).
- Select the reviews to flag.
- Choose the appropriate category for that review (SPAM, inappropriate, etc.)
- Submit your request for review.
- Respond to the fake review.
It may take some time to have the flagged reviews removed. In the meantime, you can work with a seasoned online reputation management agency to generate reviews that are verifiable. The goal is to demonstrate that your business has more verified positive reviews and that negative reviews are rare or unverified. Online business reputation managers can help you fine-tune your review generation strategy to help you get more certified reviews.
How to Generate More Verified Reviews
After managing and removing unverified and fake reviews, your next step is to generate reviews and improve your ratings. Gaining optimal ratings can increase your company’s gross income by 28 percent. In addition, getting more brand mentions can improve your local search rankings.
Here are some of the best practices to generate verifiable reviews:
- Post verified customer reviews on your site’s home page.
- Get more honest feedback by making your social accounts more accessible. Allow customers to comment and ask questions on social media.
- Follow up with buyers by sending them texts and emails inquiring about their product experience.
- Contact clients who provide glowing reviews. Ask if you can share their comments.
- Reward customers who post positive reviews using discount coupons and other promotions. Sometimes a thank you note can go a long way.
- Respond to negative reviews promptly.
Apart from the methods mentioned above, you can take advantage of data-driven review management strategies with the help of expert online reputation services.
Generating Verified Reviews Using Data-Driven Strategies
You can target specific customer segments who are more likely to provide certified reviews about your products and services with the help of a seasoned online reputation management agency, like Rize Reviews.
You can gather customer insights to understand your clients better and leverage multiple customer touchpoints. In addition, 82 percent of purchasing decisions will be based on the quality of your review response. Our team helps you create custom and templated review responses to make your processes more efficient.
Providers of online reputation management services like Rize will equip your team with review management software. You’ll get in-depth reporting and analytics that can also help you track published and unpublished reviews.
Rize’s reputation managers launch strategic SMS and email campaigns to generate reviews using targeted data. Our software automates the review generation process and helps your team remove invalid and duplicate information. In addition, our specialists create personalized campaigns with an urgent and clear call to action (CTA). These campaigns will be automated, freeing up time for your team to focus on more important matters, such as growing your business.
Partner With a Seasoned Verified Review Generation Team
Rize provides seamless online reputation services using top-of-the-line reputation management software. Our team of industry experts optimizes your processes so you can generate more verified reviews using customer targeted solutions. Reach out today so we can show you how to boost your review management strategy.