Published by on November 20, 2019 • 0 Comments • Lire en Français

I don't know about you, but when I make a major purchase, such as a new phone, computer or sofa, I don't choose my product lightly, on a crush.

I spend time comparing offers, prices, hesitating, benchmarking.

And let's not talk about holidays: when it comes to finding a holiday destination, a hotel, a rental, and even a restaurant, it's hours and hours finding the place of my dreams.

In the past it was easier: people would go to a store, and go out with a product. But today, the range of possibilities is so enormous that one could spend hours thinking, without ever making a decision!

There's almost something to panic about, a little like Phoebe in that wedding dress store.

Fortunately, we have invented something very practical for hesitant buyers: customer reviews!

The first thing I look at when I hesitate to buy a product is customer reviews.

And I'm not the only one. Consulting online notices before choosing a product or supplier is now an integral part of the purchasing process.

According to an IFOP study, 88% of consumers look for online reviews before making a purchase. And consumers spend 31% more if the company's rating is “excellent”.

If you manage a company, whatever its size, you must therefore set up a system to collect testimonials from your satisfied customers, and make them accessible on the Internet, starting with your site.

In this article, we will take a complete look at customer reviews on WordPress: what they are for, how to use them, where to display them, and most importantly, how to collect and promote them on your site.

This is what we are going to talk about:

1. Why post customer reviews on your site?

Reason 1: Customer reviews will help you sell

To know if your site is reliable, if your products or services are of high quality, your customers' opinions and testimonials are the most effective.

In psychology, this is called the “social proof” mechanism. According to this principle, an individual who does not know what to think will tend to rely on the opinions of others.

If a person hesitates between two restaurants, two plumbers, or two software programs, he or she will rely on the one with the most positive opinions, or the one with the most convincing customer opinions. If he is satisfied and motivated, he too will leave a positive testimony: this is the virtuous circle of social proof!

Let's take an example: on the sales page of the Neve theme, one of the first elements we see, well before the list of features of this theme, is a testimony.

WordPress customer review example on the Neve theme website

Customer reviews and testimonials therefore make it possible to:

  • Give confidence in your products or services;
  • Improve your credibility;
  • Optimize conversions on your site;
  • And therefore improve your sales.

So why go without it?

Reason 2: customer reviews are good for your SEO

Customer reviews help better convince buyers once they are on your website, but it is not their only asset.

They can even help you attract more traffic to your site, by improving your SEO.

How?

Thanks to the “rich snippets”. This is additional information that appears for some sites in Google search results.

Have you ever seen these little stars that sometimes appear?

In the example below you can see that the store has an average score of 4.5 out of 5 based on more than 2,000 reviews. If you have a choice between this store and another with a score of 2 out of 5, or no score at all, your choice is quick, right?

These “rich snippets” are not only useful in trade. You will also find them on cooking recipes, and even blog articles!

Let's say I'm looking for advice on choosing my new scooter.

Here are the results that Google sends me:

The scooter buying guide proposed by Envyride is not the first one displayed in the list, but it has a score of 7,7 out of 10. My eyes will be drawn to the stars, and I will trust the readers who have found this guide to be of high quality. So I will trust him.

Reason 3: Customer reviews are valuable information

Customer reviews are a gold mine.

They allow you to understand what your customers like and dislike about your site, your products or services, your company. They provide you with valuable feedback that will help you continuously improve.

Some companies make customer reviews a key element of their strategy, such as the French company Décathlon: as explained in this article (sorry for non-French-speakers), the famous sports brand has committed to take a product off the market and rework it, because its average score was less than 3 out of 5!

Giving your customers a voice also means showing them that their point of view is important to you, and that you take it into account…

2. Customer reviews: for which type of site?

What type of website should display customer reviews?

Well, almost everyone! But I have chosen to focus on a few categories of sites that are particularly in need of it.

Customer reviews for e-commerce sites

First of all, let's talk about e-merchants.

If you manage an online sales site, it is in your interest to set up two types of customer reviews:

  • Product reviews: these are reviews posted on each product page, but also, often, in product lists (where the product rating is often summarized by a number of stars), and which provide feedback from customers who have purchased this product. They allow visitors to your site to know if these products meet their needs.
  • “Generic” opinions: these are opinions that are not specific to products, but rather to your site and the experience of customers: is the site well done? Is the delivery fast? Is customer service responsive? In short, it is opinions that encourage trust, purchase and re-purchase.

Customer reviews for hotels and restaurants

After e-commerce, the second category of companies for which customer feedback is essential are the players in the accommodation and catering sector.

We are all aware of the influence of TripAdvisor, the giant customer reviews website in tourism, but also of Yelp‘s and others.

Here are a few figures that make you dizzy:

  • 65% of travellers are more likely to book a hotel that has received a TripAdvisor award
  • 80% of travellers read at least 6 to 12 reviews before booking a hotel
  • 83% of travellers read TripAdvisor reviews because it helps them choose the right hotel for their needs

(Source: Tripadvisor)

If you manage a company of this type, you are certainly already aware of the impact of customer reviews on your business. But you may not have thought of posting these famous customer reviews on your website.

However, this is fundamental because your site is, in theory, the first to be displayed when you type the name of your company on Google!

Customer reviews for corporate sites

Do you manage a company that offers products or services for companies or individuals?

Before choosing your company, your prospects will do research on the Internet, and compare your reputation with that of your competitors.

In this fierce battle, the testimonials of your satisfied customers can make a difference.

But be careful: there is no way to post on your site commonplace and anonymous testimonies.

For “social proof” to work, the testimony must be:

  • Authentic
  • Nominative
  • Detailed

Your website's visitor must be able to identify himself in the person who wrote the notice, and understand the value provided by your service or product. For the review to be credible, it is very interesting to be able to display the name of the customer who wrote it, but also his photo and function.

Collecting customer testimonials is therefore of great importance: we will come back to it.

3. Where to post customer reviews on your site?

If you have read us so far, you have understood the value of customer reviews.

But where should they be displayed so that they have maximum impact?

Of course, if we are talking about an e-commerce site, you will display the product reviews… on the product pages. Makes sense.

It is generally recommended to display the average rating of the product (often in the form of stars) in a very visible way at the top of the product page, but also in product lists and search results. Some sites even offer the satisfaction score as a filter criterion in their catalogue.

Beyond the average score, it is recommended to display the number of reviews in a visible way. An average satisfaction score does not have the same impact, depending on whether it is calculated from 2 or 500 opinions!

Beyond product reviews, we have seen that it can be very interesting to collect reviews on your brand. These generic notices can be integrated in several places:

  • On the homepage: Some companies display a selection of customer testimonials on their homepage. That's smart, because no matter what you can say to promote your products and services, no one will do it better than a customer. Displaying a key figure (98% of satisfied customers, 4.5 out of 5 of average satisfaction…) is also a very good way to attract the attention of prospects as soon as they arrive on your site.
  • On strategic pages (to optimize conversions): this can be on the user account creation page, or on the payment page.
  • In the footer or sidebar: for example a selection or summary of your customer reviews in the form of widgets. Be creative!

4. WordPress Customer Review solutions

Now that we have understood the value of posting customer reviews on your WordPress site, let's compare the different ways to collect and display these testimonials.

Depending on your activity, it's in your interest to choose one or the other of these methods as a priority, or to combine them. This will determine the choice of customer review plugin to install on your site.

Integrating customer reviews posted on social networks and platforms

There are many platforms on which Internet users will post a review on their own after interacting with your site or company: TripAdvisor in tourism, Yelp for local businesses, Google Places and Facebook for everyone.

Feel free to encourage your customers or visitors to leave an opinion on one of these platforms.

avis client google place
Googles Places reviews are highly visible in search results.

Relying on these platforms is a simple and efficient method to collect customer reviews; you can then display them on your site with dedicated WordPress customer review plugins.

You can simply display on your site a “badge” that summarizes your average score, like the widgets offered by TripAdvisor.

widget tripadvisor
TripAdvisor widget that can be integrated on a website

You can also display a selection of reviews posted on a platform, or all of them: it is up to you to see the solution that suits you best.

Pros of this method:

  • This reinforces the trust that visitors have in your site. If the review comes from a platform, there is a greater tendency to believe it is authentic.
  • It's a sign of transparency: Displaying your TripAdvisor, Google or Facebook reviews on your site shows your customers that you have nothing to hide.
  • It's simple: you rely on a system that already exists, and you don't have to manage the customer reviews that arrive on your site.

Cons of this method:

  • This method does not allow you to manage product reviews for your e-commerce site.
  • For this to work, you need to encourage your customers to leave opinions on these platforms, which you don't control.

Here are some WordPress plugins that allow you to display on your site customer reviews posted on platforms:

Google Reviews Widget

This simple plugin allows you to display a badge or a list of Google Places reviews in any page of your site, via a widget or shortcode. It also offers a version for Yelp and Facebook. The paid version of the plugin allows you to aggregate reviews from these three platforms.

WP TripAdvisor Review Slider

This free plugin works the same way as the previous one. It allows you to retrieve the latest reviews posted on your TripAdvisor page and display them on your site in the form of a slider, a list, or a grid. It also exists for Google, Yelp, and Airbnb, and of course offers a paid version.

Instagram testimonials Plugin for WordPress

Do your customers celebrate your company on Instagram? It's a shame not to display their review on your site! Well, it's possible with this little 24$ plugin. You can select which Instagram posts to display on your site, and encourage your visitors to write their own testimonial.

WP Business Reviews

He is a bit of a star of customer review aggregators for WordPress. It connects to Google Places, Facebook and Yelp, and also allows you to integrate your own customer reviews. It displays notifications in many ways (carousels, lists, galleries) and offers many possibilities to organize customer notifications. This plugin is available starting at $69 per year.

Integrate customer reviews to WooCommerce

If you have created an online shop with WooCommerce, you may have seen that by default it has a customer reviews system.

This option allows you to display a notification module on each product page. By default, customer reviews are enabled when you install WooCommerce. You can manage this setting from the WooCommerce menu > Settings > Products.

paramétrage avis client woocommerce

You can choose whether everyone has the right to leave a review, or whether only the real customers of your site are allowed to do so.

Plugins allow you to enrich the basic functionalities of WooCommerce with additional possibilities for managing your customer reviews.

We won't repeat it enough: display customer reviews on your product pages, if you manage an e-commerce site, it's mandatory!

And as already mentioned earlier, it complements the opinions your customers will be able to post on your brand, in which they will no longer rate the products, but the overall quality of their experience.

Pros of this method:

  • Notification management integrated into your WordPress site: notifications pop up in your administration, which are linked to a customer account, and you have complete control over how they are displayed on the site.

Cons of this method:

  • No cons here: if you have an e-commerce site, you will not be able to do without reviews on your product pages.

There are a number of plugins to improve how you manage WooCommerce's customer reviews. Here are two that I found particularly interesting:

Customer Reviews for WooCommerce

customer reviews for woocommerce

This very complete plugin allows you to send an email automatically after each purchase on your site, to encourage your buyers to write a review.

After the purchase, your customer will receive an email from Customer Review, with a link to a form to write his opinion.

formulaire avis client customer reviews
Example of a Customer Review form.

The form is very well done: it displays the photo of each product purchased by your customer in his order, with below, the possibility to put a note and write a comment.

The customer can choose whether to display his name on the site, or remain anonymous. Notices are automatically integrated into WooCommerce.

This plugin has other advantages:

  • It allows you to display product ratings in Google search results, and even integrates with Google Shopping.
  • It allows the customer to enrich his opinion with the photo and even the video of the purchased product.
  • It allows you to manage product reviews, but also generic reviews on your shop.
  • E-mails and forms are customizable.
  • Notices are displayed in the classic way on the product pages, but can also be integrated elsewhere on the site via shortcodes, and summarized with a badge. The plugin even includes a Gutenberg block.
  • Finally, you have the opportunity to thank customers who have posted a review, thanks to a discount code: a great way to keep your customers satisfied!

Cherry on top of the cake: the free version of this plugin is very complete, and if you want to go further, the paid version only costs $49.99 per year.

Judge.me for Woocommerce

judge me for woocommerce

Judge.me is a customer feedback management solution that integrates with several e-commerce platforms, including WooCommerce.

Its features are quite similar to Customer Reviews, with one difference: Judge.me significantly improves the standard display of customer reviews on product pages – and that's a real plus.

This is a product page with the standard WooCommerce notification module: as you can see, notifications are “hidden” behind a “Reviews” tab.

avis client woocommerce

When you click on this tab, the reviews will be displayed in a list.

With the Judge.me plugin, here is how the review will be displayed (by default, below the product description, but it will depend on your theme).

avis client customer reviews woocommerce

As you can see, Judge.me includes a summary with the number of reviews per rating. It's still a real plus.

Finally, Judge.me allows me to customize the review form: questions asked, type of scoring…

As for the price, Judge.me is available in a free version. For the full version, it will cost $15 per month.

To conclude, customer reviews on your e-commerce site are fundamental. However, you must go beyond the default reviews of WooCommerce to capture quality testimonials, and display these reviews the best way possible so that they increase your sales.

Generic customer review WordPress solutions

You get it: any website can set up a customer reviews collection, with a scoring system.

If you manage a blog, a recipe site, or a product catalogue without online sales, it is very easy to set up a customer feedback form, which simply relies on the WordPress feedback system.

Example: On this French food blog, reviews are simply integrated into recipe comments.

avis recette blog culinaire

You also have the possibility to integrate on your site a page dedicated to customer testimonials, with a form allowing a customer to leave his own review.

Pros of this method

  • You have total control of the form and the questions asked, you have the possibility to moderate the opinions, to answer them, or even to modify them.
  • You are not dependent on platforms, and can therefore collect testimonials without going through Facebook, Google or other. In B2B, it is much preferable.

Cons of this method:

  • You will be tempted to keep only positive customer reviews. This is good for your image, but your website's visitors will not be fooled.

Here is a selection of plugins to set up a customer review system on any WordPress site:

Site Reviews

This free and very simple plugin allows you to collect reviews and display them on your site. Forms and reviews can be integrated on your site via shortcodes, widgets, and Gutenberg blocks. A review can be generic, or associated with a post / page. The result is clean and will easily integrate with your theme. It is a simple and effective solution that will suit many needs. And in addition, your reviews are compatible with Shema.org microformats that allow you to display them in Google's results (rich snippets).

WP Customer Reviews

This free plugin is quite similar to the previous one. It adds on each page / post a Reviews block, allowing you to enable or disable notices for that page. It also allows you to display review using a shortcode. It is therefore particularly suitable if you want to set up WordPress customers reviews on your blog posts or other content. The free version is quite complete, but you will have to go a little bit into the code to customize it because by default, the look is a little old-fashioned.

Trusted third parties to obtain verified reviews

In the early 2010's, as we witnessed the boom in customer reviews and user-generated content, we also began to see an explosion in false customer reviews.

You could pay a company on the other side of the world to write false positive opinions on your Tripadvisor or Yelp page, or even negative comments on your competitor's page.

Since the very principle of customer reviews is based on trust, companies have started to think about how to ensure that customer reviews posted on an e-commerce site or a review platform are authentic

How can you be sure that they have been posted by someone who actually bought this product, ate in this restaurant, or stayed in this hotel?

That's when trusted third parties began to appear. These organizations act as intermediaries between you and your clients. They ask your customers after each purchase to post a review on your site or your products.

They then allow you to integrate these reviews on your site, via a badge or a list of opinions, or on the product pages of your e-commerce site.

Pros of this method

  • You only display on your site reviews from real customers. It is the ultimate trust guarantee.
  • The collection of review is carried out by a third party, which reassures your customers against the possibility of fraud.
  • Generally, these providers offer additional options: RGPD protection, AFNOR certification, review displays on Google's rich snippets…
  • These solutions also provide a moderating space to engage in conversation with unsatisfied customers.

Cons of this method:

  • It is more difficult to set up than the others. You will have to set up an export of your customer orders to the service providers so that they can send the form.
  • The rates are higher than other solutions. Count between 40 and 70 $ excl. tax per month for 500 orders per month.

Here are some of the famous players in this market:

WordPress testimonial solutions 

Much has been said in this article about classic customer reviews, with a note and a comment, as seen on e-commerce sites or cooking recipes.

But this type of review does not fit all needs.

You may need to display on your site personalized testimonials, with your client's photo, a quote, a logo, a link to a website.

You may not want your clients to write their own testimonials, but to use a more personalized solution.

This is commonly referred to as “testimonials”. A testimonial is more than just a customer review: it is a strong testimonial that aims to help your site visitors project themselves into the use of your product or service.

If you go to WPChef (a French website to learn about WordPress), you will see an example.

Avis WPChef

Testimonials are often used by B2B companies.

To collect these testimonials, you can send a satisfaction survey once a year or at the end of a service to your customers.

To do this, use a free questionnaire service like Google Form, Typeform, or a form creation plugin like Gravity Forms or Ninja Forms.

Analyze the results, and when you come across a complimentary comment, ask your customer for their agreement to post their testimonial on your site.

You can even interview your customers by phone and then, with their agreement, write a testimonial that you will publish on your site.

An important element in obtaining quality testimonials is to ask the right questions. Since you are familiar with the questionnaire yourself, do not hesitate to ask several of them, for example:

  • Why did you choose this product over another?
  • Would you recommend our product / company to a friend?
  • What has this product changed in your daily life?
  • Why do you like this product?
  • Do you have any improvements to make?

Pros of this method

  • The strength of the testimony is that it is generally nominative, even illustrated with the client's photo: your customers are definitely your advocates, and this is worth all the arguments.
  • You have complete control over the testimonies posted, their content, the way they are written.
  • Testimonials are often formatted in a more advantageous way than basic customer reviews, and most themes and plugins offer many customization options.

Cons of this method:

  • You need to get your customers' agreement to post their testimonials on your site, which is not always easy.
  • Customer testimonials are not exhaustive: you generally post 3 or 4 on a site, sometimes more, but in any case, they do not claim to be representative of all your customers. It's more of a marketing process, and your site visitors are not easily fooled.

To display these review in an elegant way on your site and thus boost conversions, you have two solutions:

  • Either your theme natively integrates the notion of testimony: this is the case for many themes such as Astra, OceanWP, or Divi.
  • Either your theme doesn't support them, or not enough, and you will need a plugin. I have selected some of them and I present them below.

Here are 3 plugins dedicated to testimonials that stand out from the crowd:

Strong Testimonials

This plugin is sort of a customer review plugin for WordPress mixed with a testimonial plugin. Indeed, it allows you to display your customer testimonials on your site in a very flexible way, with a shortcode system and several templates: you can display where you want a particular testimonial, a list or a grid of testimonials, a slide show… But you can also set up a form on your site to collect these testimonies. The rendering is professional and integrates well with most themes. No bling-bling functionality: it's a simple and efficient plugin. The custom field system allows you to choose what you want to display on your customer testimonial: name, company, function, photo, logo, website…

strong testimonials plugin wordpress
Example of a testimonial slider created with Strong Testimonials

Easy Testimonials

This plugin, as its name suggests, is quite easy to use. It allows you to write customer testimonials from the backoffice and display them in various forms (unit, list, grid, slideshow…), via shortcodes, but also thanks to the Gutenberg blocks integrated in the plugin. However, we regret the lack of personalization. Impossible to add custom fields, or to easily customize the display of testimonials.

Thrive Ovation

This paid plugin, which does not offer a free version, simply appears as the Roll's Royce of the testimonial plugins. This plugin integrates a whole bunch of very clever features, such as the ability to transform comments from your blog or complimentary tweets into elegant testimonials to display on your WordPress site. This plugin also allows you to create dedicated Landing Pages to collect your customer testimonials. It even allows you to have your testimonials approved by your customers!

thrive ovation plugin wordpress
Thrive Ovation allows you to transform tweets into customer testimonials.

Do you use customer reviews on your site? Tell us about your experience in the comments!