When was the last time you bought something, visited somewhere or watched something based on the recommendation of people you know?
Word of mouth advertising is one of the most valuable and efficient tools for businesses – primarily because it costs nothing and automatically confers the trust and reliability that consumers are increasingly looking for in companies and brands. One such form of word of mouth advertising is customer reviews – taking the concept of shared recommendations a step further by encouraging loyal customers to leave reviews which will entice and appeal to potential new customers.
For a business, a single customer review has the power to answer and resolve potential customer concerns, deliver a value promise and ensure the reliability of the brand itself all at once. In short, customer reviews have tremendous value, so how can you get more of them, and how can you make sure that the reviews you get are always great?
How to Get More Customer Reviews
The secret to getting more customer reviews lies in the variety of touchpoints you provide to customers for reviewing. While Yelp, TripAdvisor and Trustpilot may seem like the frontrunners in terms of reliability, consider your audience and where they’re most likely to go to leave a review or find a review.
Some high quality review touchpoints include Facebook, professional social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, Google, and your own website. The more places you encourage customers to leave reviews, the more of those customers will actually take you up on your request, especially if you make the process as simple as possible for them.
Here are a few things to think about when asking for a review:
- Instead of suggesting specific areas of your business or service to review, keep the review field open. Let the customer identify the areas they were particularly happy with or where they experienced challenges. Not only will this lead to more reliable and honest reviews, but it will help draw attention to areas you may not have considered as valuable.
- A star system creates a universal language which is simple for anyone to follow, meaning international customers are just as likely to leave a review as those who write in your native tongue.
- Give customers the option of leaving anonymous reviews if they prefer. Too often review sites want to link reviews with customer social profiles, but this can be a turn-off for those who prefer to keep their identity private.
- Consider your target audience – age, location, lifestyle – and place the review tool prominently on the sites they regularly use.
How to Improve Customer Reviews
The number one challenge of asking customers for reviews is that you will inevitably get some negative comments – and they are not always going to be your fault. Just today we saw a reader leave a one star review of a newly-released book because their Kindle failed to download the book properly. Was it the author’s fault? Not at all. But because they asked for a review, the reader vented their frustration via the only touchpoint available.
Juggling the negative with the positive is a reality for any business that encourages customer reviews. Regularly vet the reviews you receive and keep an eye on all your customer touchpoints to see what people are saying about you.
We also recommend that businesses respond to all reviews no matter how good or bad. If you leave a reply, either thanking the reviewer or promising to look into their complaint, you’re showing your business is in touch with its customer base and committed to providing the best experience possible. This can reverse a potentially damaging situation, and help you improve customer relations and allow you to work on an issue that another customer may have experienced.
Taking action on negative comments is of course one of the best things to do in the face of bad reviews, especially when you can convert the experience into a selling point. For example, “We listened to our customers and because of that, we have now implemented…” and so on.
Here’s what NOT to do in the face of poor reviews:
- Don’t be overly defensive in the comments.
- Don’t ignore negative comments, or you will allow them to breed. Respond to comments and defuse negative conversations quickly.
- If the review refers to areas outside of your control, don’t take it personally.
The Endless Value Of a Single Review
Let’s look at the life cycle of a customer review.
Positive: The customer likes the product or service they receive. They leave a great review and tell all their friends. Not only does their review help convert customers who were already on the fence, but it also draws in their friends and family as potential new customers. You reuse that review on your website and share it with your following as a real life example of a happy customer.
Negative: The customer is dissatisfied and leaves a review telling you so. You respond and promise to look into their problem. You find a solution and contact the customer with some form of offer. Meanwhile, this has brought your attention to an issue which you have now fixed so you can avoid the same problem in the future. The reviewer takes you up on your offer and remains a customer and tells their friends and family about how attentive and helpful you were.
If that’s not endless value, then what is?
For More Information
To learn more about the Better Business Bureau in Los Angeles & Silicon Valley and our mission to promote marketplace trust, shoot us a message or call at (408) 278-7400. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to always be up to date with the latest business news and protect yourself of next-gen scams.