Implementation of verified customer reviews

Our latest blog posting this month is about a new feature – Google’s verified customer reviews. This topic may look a bit familiar to you, and indeed you would be correct. It is related to a posting we did a few weeks ago on review sites being beneficial. This however is something a bit different and looking at a different angle.

Reviews are a very important tool for both businesses and consumers these days. For the consumer it can help steer them in the right direction as to whether they are purchasing something quality. For the business, it can give them greater online presence and a new advertising platform (assuming the reviews are kind of course.)

You may be asking what the difference is between a ‘normal’ review – ones which we are familiar with seeing, and a verified review. The answer lies in the verified part. Everyone has heard of fake news by now, and along those lines fake reviews also exist. These can be damaging potentially for businesses because they can seriously impact the credibility and reputation with not an ounce of truth being behind them.

In a move to try and combat the problem with fake reviews, Google has made a step forward by introducing and rolling out verified customer reviews. As the name suggests a verified review means both businesses and consumers can rely on the fact that the review is genuine because people must engage with the company before a review is allowed to be posted, and even then, this is only through a special procedure which is often emailed to the recipient or appears after the checkout and payment section on a shopping website.

The above is certainly a big step forward to addressing the problem. We have spotted one problem however. Just because the review could be for real doesn’t mean the content inside the review is. Someone could purchase something, have a good experience, but report it as bad. A bit extreme and unlikely perhaps, but loopholes do exist as with anything.

One of the things about this new feature is it requires opt in participation, meaning you need to enable or ‘encourage’ its use. To find out more information on this, visit the Google blog which provides instructions.

With their obvious use and importance the question becomes how do you need to engage with it to make sure you benefit from a business perspective? Below we give you some tips.

1) Encourage people to use the facility – perhaps by providing an incentive. We all regularly get emails asking if the survey can be filled out. If someone has a tangible and realistic incentive they are more likely to do it.

2) Reply to all comments whether good or bad. This shows that you are a normal business which makes mistakes from time to time. It also gives you the chance to put things right. Most people accept that not everyone is 100% happy 100% of the time and the odd less than perfect review isn’t necessarily a disaster.

3) Follow up with the customers. Ask them personally whether they will fill out the reviews and thank them after for doing so – don’t rely on automated prompts. Remember that as a business good reviews are your responsibility so you should go after them. Don’t hassle anyone however!

If you are unaware of verified customer reviews, then seek them out and make them (indirectly at least) part of your advertising strategy. As long as business is good at what it does, they can only benefit you!

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