I have not made a single online purchase in the last two years without reading customer reviews on the product before buying.
Why would I take the risk of buying something when hundreds, if not thousands, of other people have taken the risk for me and can tell me about their experience? Some people may be afraid that the reviews are biased or that a devious marketing team wrote some of them. And that may be true for some of them, but that’s why I look for the number of reviews, the average score and then read the individual reviews to see how relevant they are to me. Regardless of any qualms you may have about reviews, you need reviews for your software on your site and on external sites. It’s that simple.
Word of mouth plays an important role in business software purchases. Many buyers come to Capterra saying things like, “My buddy, John, uses Micros at his restaurant so that’s what I want to use, too.” But what about the hundreds of other options out there? Reviews help to put them in the running. If buyers see that your product has 20 reviews, and the majority are positive, you’re now in the running! And it’s all because you have harnessed the strongest factor in the software buying process: social proof.
Here are 5 things to remember about reviews:
- They don’t all need to be perfect.
- What’s negative for one buyer may not be a negative for another.
- Five reviews is a good start.
- Your score should be displayed on your site.
- Your prospects aren’t the only ones who will appreciate them.
You don’t need all five star reviews. Buyers don’t expect you to have the miracle product that can do everything perfectly. They just want you to have a great product that has the functionality they need (it’s actually good to not have all 5-star reviews so no one questions their validity). If your prospect reads a review where someone is complaining about functionality that doesn’t affect them, then it doesn’t impact their decision. Also, don’t worry about a few low scoring reviews. It’s all about the average.
Here’s an example:
Did you even notice the eight 1-star reviews for the MacBook Air when there are more than one hundred 5-star reviews? Probably not.
Every review doesn’t apply to every buyer. Here’s an example of a 1-star review that I took the time to read, but then didn’t matter to me at all:
The reviewer who gave the mattress cover 1-star said the low rating came from the fact that the plastic could not withstand wind speeds of over 65 mph down a 100 mile stretch of a highway. Since I didn’t have any plans to go windsurfing with my mattress cover, I dismissed the review and clicked “Buy Now.”
Time to promote those reviews!
Once you’ve collected at least five reviews, you need to find a way to promote them. There’s no point in having a room full of diehard fans if your prospects can’t meet them. Add a reviews widget to your site. Capterra offers a pretty sweet one that loads your review score on your site in real time. Prospects can click on the widget to see all of the reviews. Having the reviews hosted on a different website also helps to legitimize them. Alight makes great use of the Capterra widget by incorporating it into their website template; that way, it’s available to prospects regardless of which page of the site they visit.
Respond to your reviewers.
The best review programs allow the product manufacturer to post a response to the reviewer. If a reviewer complains that certain functionality is missing (and it’s not), the manufacturer can respond and show them how to access the functionality that they overlooked. If nothing else, responding to reviews will show your desire to make the customer happy.
If you’re still not convinced, why not just give it a try?!
Most buyers start their software search with no idea of which options are out there—use reviews to put your products in the running.