The B2B marketplace is still unsure of the value that online client reviews have in the business-to-business buying process. While some organizations understand that client reviews could help lure in new customers, many don’t realize the weight that buyers place on client reviews.
A new study by Clutch quantifies the value of client reviews for businesses. The research shows that doubling the number of online client reviews can increase prospective client interest by up to 60 percent.
The Clutch data shows that increasing the number of client reviews can improve a company’s visibility. Buyers not only research and read client reviews, they show further interest in companies with more client reviews. What does this mean for businesses? Businesses that want to increase visibility should encourage past clients to write reviews about their experience.
On top of increasing visibility, client reviews can provide further benefits. Quality reviews give buyers real client feedback, and provide vendors with a source of qualified reputation management. An increased number of client reviews can confirm a firm’s experience, demonstrate past success with clients, encourage client relationships, and help to distinguish a company from competitors. Here’s how:
Client reviews can demonstrate expertise in a specific field. More reviews verify that a company has an appropriate amount of experience in their particular niche. Reviews can confirm that a company is able to provide the different services they offer and that they have the expected abilities relevant to their industry. Moreover, vendors can use these reviews as a form of reputation management and point potential clients to real examples of industry experience.
Besides experience, a buyer wants to work with a company that has demonstrated success with past clients. It is invaluable to have past clients endorse a company. Not only are clients generally showing their approval of a company by providing a review, they can also describe how a company provided successful results.
More reviews can also show how a vendor has been successful with a variety of clients. This can express that clients in distinctive sectors value a vendor. It can also show that a vendor specializes in servicing clients in a specific sector. Buyers want to be assured that a company has had a similar experience with previous clients and that those experiences resulted in a successful project.
Not only can client reviews showcase past customer relationships and successes, they can also strengthen relationships with current clients. By reconnecting with past clients and asking them to validate past services, those clients recount the project and, if it was successful, will be more likely to recommend that vendor to others.
It is important to continue to stay in touch with past clients. By encouraging a client to write a review, a company proves that they value customer service, which is an important factor for many buyers. In general, buyers look for a company that places value on customer service.
When searching for a product or service, a Google study found that 71 percent of B2B buyers start their online research with a general search term. That means these buyers are not beginning with a search of a specific company, they are searching for possible vendors that provide a specific service. The competition among B2B services is fiercer than ever before, and it is crucial that businesses find ways to differentiate from competitors.
The Clutch data shows that a higher number of reviews can be a differentiator for visibility. When a potential client lands on a page of competing companies the number of reviews that a company has can influence views. Encouraging clients to write reviews is one way that a vendor can attempt to differentiate itself from its surrounding competitors.
Reviews play a part in helping buyers choose a short list of vendors that they wish to pursue further. Although reviews cannot guarantee that a buyer will choose a specific company, they can aid in the competitive B2B buying and selling process. Reviews clearly matter for visibility, and the additional benefits of reviews will only continue to increase in the future.
Vendors can influence the number of client reviews they receive by encouraging previous clients to write about their experience. With all the benefits that come with an amplified number of reviews, why wouldn’t more companies look to encourage clients to submit reviews?