Online reviews: How to gain consumer trust

David Barker, managing director of InspireKBB, explains how to make online reviews work for your retail business

04 Nov, 20

Here’s a question you’ve probably asked yourself on many an occasion: In a world full of media spin, fake news, rogue traders, scams and spam, how do you get your prospects to trust you? There’s no one answer to the question, but one thing that’s definitely a part of the solution is online reviews.

Online reviews: How to gain consumer trust

Critical online reviews

Here’s a  few key stats to back that point up:

  • 90% of consumers say online reviews are of major importance to them when deciding where to buy products and services
  • 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a business more
  • Over 50% of people won’t consider a company if there are too few reviews


The long and short of it is this – if you don’t have any online reviews, then 9 out of 10 people simply won’t consider transacting with you. And unless you have a decent number of reviews, more than 5 out of 10 people won’t contact you. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to have ten reviews for every year you’ve been in business. At least five per year is still solid. So, if you’re not playing the review game, you’ve lost before you’ve even started.

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The good news is that it’s never been easier to get reviews. Platforms like, Google, Facebook, Houzz and Trustpilot make it simple for your clients to leave feedback, meaning without any technical knowhow, you can have your customer comments online, pushing prospects in your direction.

Gaining online reviews

Over the past year, we’ve developed an extremely effective strategy for soliciting positive online reviews and there are three key elements to our approach, which you can take and use in your business.

  1. Ask for them

It’s all very well bemoaning the number of reviews you’ve got, but as the saying goes, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. And you should indicate early in the relationship that you would like a review following completion of their project. However, a personalised post-transaction email campaign will help ensure that you offer your key customers the best chance to leave a review.

  1. Make them specific

The least useful reviews are the ones that say something like ‘Great service, thanks.’ Encourage your customers to be specific about your service and what they loved about it – this will help prospects build up a picture of what it’s actually like to work with you.

  1. Deal with spurious reviews.

It’s tremendously difficult to get Google to remove a review – even when you know that it’s false, it’s also important to realise that a bad review is likely to have a bigger impact than a good review. In other words, you do need to deal with them. The best way to do that is to ‘push them down’ by soliciting more positive reviews – better and more recent reviews will overshadow a bad review. So, if you ensure you keep soliciting new ones, you’ll eliminate the damage that phoney reviews can do to your business.

The truth is, reviews are critical today, especially in an uncertain economic climate. If you haven’t really engaged with them yet, then it’s high time that changed.

David Barker is managing director of sales and marketing consultancy for kitchen and bathroom agency InspireKBB