Ratings, reviews, and testimonials are brilliant forms of advertising for your business. Not only are they free, but they also carry a great deal of weight when it comes to helping people decide whether they want to use your services.
Research has found that a staggering 90% of potential customers are influenced by positive reviews they read online. If you’re not capitalising on this, you’re potentially missing out on expanding your business! Good reviews (known in the industry as social proof) can increase revenue, drive conversions, and provide an invaluable metric of your business’s success.
How to Generate Reviews
It’s very important that you find a way to generate a steady stream of customer reviews, as one study found that 69% of customers think reviews older than three months are irrelevant. People like to see you’re still keeping your customers happy!
Remember to follow up with your buyers after they’ve purchased – not everyone is going to leave you a splendid review based on one transaction. Additionally, if you’re selling tangible goods, they’ll want to receive the products first and test them out. You can use this as a valuable opportunity to get and publish feedback and gain insight into your customer experience (known in the industry as CX).
As well as following up with an email invitation, make it as easy as possible to leave a review on your website! Having an in-built feature will make the process as smooth as possible for customers – not everyone wants to register for an account on a third-party site.
Shout About It!
Not literally, of course! Use your positive reviews to publicise your business. Add a testimonials section to your website and make sure it’s as visible as possible – you could display it as a banner going across the bottom of each page.
You could also think about repurposing choice reviews as social media content or even paid ads. Of course, you’ll need to either ask permission to use people’s names or suitably anonymise them by using their initials. The last thing you want to do is annoy the customers who have taken the time to give you positive feedback.
Respond to Your Reviews
Review sites are not one way streets! Make sure you take time to reply to all reviews you get – both positive and negative.
Responding to positive reviews is an obvious choice – it makes your previous customers feel appreciated and should make them more likely to use you again. Everyone likes being validated and appreciated, and replying to good reviews encourages other people to follow suit. You never know; they might even share it on social media!
Responding to negative reviews might be a more polarising idea. It can be tempting to bury your head in the sand, discount it, and pretend it doesn’t exist; however, you’re potentially doing a disservice to your business by doing this. Replying to poor feedback (in a measured way) reassures people you’re always working on improvement and will go the extra mile to correct any wrongs.
We never get everything right all the time, but if people can see you’re open to dialogue, suggestions, and righting wrongs, they’re more likely to trust you. One study found that Trip Advisor clients who responded to all types ofreviews increased their business by an average of 12%.
Run Promotions and Competitions
You could tempt people into giving reviews with discounts or giveaways.
One of the most popular ways is to ask people to share an image, hashtag, or your company name on social media. You could also offer customers who have left a review a discount coupon for their next purchase. Both these ideas don’t have to hit your bottom line too hard as you only have to select a few winners randomly or time limit the discount codes.
Another option is to team up with another company that offers a complementary product or service and do a joint giveaway. The added advantage with this approach is that you’re exposed to a whole database of potential customers that wouldn’t necessarily see you otherwise. And if the other company’s reputation is strong, there’s a massive endorsement for you in that too.
Ultimately, if you’re delivering a great service, communicating with your customers, and are registered on sites they’re likely to use, then getting positive reviews shouldn’t be a problem.
A word of warning though. Don’t fall prey to the hundreds of sites out there offering to write phoney reviews for you – they’ll stick out like a sore thumb and could even result in you getting penalised. Instead, make sure your customer experience is the best it can be, and the rest will fall into place naturally!