We recently spoke about how to solicit testimonials from B2B clients to help with your online reputation. Now, let’s switch gears and talk about the B2C crowd. When you deal directly with consumers, it’s those sweet reviews you are after.
You might think that it’s friends and family who people most trust when it comes to getting feedback on a business, but recent research has shown some surprising results when it comes to reviews and recommendations.
As reported on eMarketer, a May 2016 survey by Salesforce found that among Millennials, 40% trusted online reviews for the most accurate information about products and services compared to just 24% who trusted their friends, family and colleagues for the most accurate information.
And people are obviously looking at these reviews. AYTM Market Research found that just over 20% of US internet users say they always check reviews prior to making a purchase while nearly 30% say they check them most of the time.
So, clearly reviews are important and people love reading them. That must mean they also love writing them, too, right?
Well … no.
That same survey from AYTM also found that a mere 6.2% say they leave reviews all of the time and 14.8% say they do it most of the time.
So, you know you need reviews to attract customers, but people tend to skip the whole review writing thing.
The answer to this dilemma is clear: You need to ask for reviews.
Businesses that make it a policy to request reviews from customers after they’ve made a purchase are more likely to receive a higher number of positive reviews and will usually get more detailed feedback from both satisfied and dissatisfied customers. More detailed feedback leads to better improvements.
Also, by asking for reviews, you’ll be prompting people who have had pleasant experiences with your business to give that coveted positive feedback. Generally, only dissatisfied customers will leave a review, so by asking for them, you’ll be ensuring that you get some happy customers leaving their opinions, too.
Train your employees to verbally ask for reviews after every transaction they have with customers. A face-to-face request will garner more positive reviews than non-personal ways of asking.
Digital marketer Brian Patterson says in-person requests garner seven or eight times as many reviews when compared to requests sent via email.
“The person-to-person request is incredibly effective, particularly if the requester has spent a lot of time with the customer,” Patterson says.
So, make it part of your policy to request reviews politely and in a non-invasive way. Also, avoid asking the customer to say something positive. Simply ask that they leave you a review if they’ve enjoyed their experience. If you want to be extra cautious, ask them how their experience has been before the transaction to gauge whether they’ve had a positive experience. If they seem like they have, then ask for the review.
On the other hand, if they indicate they’ve had a negative experience, rather than requesting a review, try to record their grievances somehow before they leave. This proves to them that your staff is willing to listen to what they have to say and may prevent an online outburst later. And, of course, it gives you information you can work with for improving your services.
Many people will say they’ll leave a review, but they’ll forget or just not get around to it because reasons. You can help resolve this by sending people digital reminders. If they’ve already agreed in person to give you a review, it has already put that task in their minds and they’ll be more likely to follow up on it if they get an email about it.
To make things as easy as possible, send a link to your preferred review site, whether that’s Google, Yelp or your Facebook page. Speaking of Facebook, sending out general reminders to customers on social media to leave a review if they’ve visited your business is a good way to get more reviews, too.
A lot of businesses go out of their way to make their customers say “Wow!” These businesses want to surprise and delight their customers by going above and beyond what those customers expect from a business.
But, you don’t have to do this to get good reviews. In fact, most customers don’t seem to notice these efforts, according to the Harvard Business Review, which states: “89 of the 100 customer service heads we surveyed said that their main strategy is to exceed expectations. But despite these Herculean—and costly—efforts, 84% of customers told us that their expectations had not been exceeded during their most recent interaction.”
Turns out that instead of trying to wow customers, all you need to do is have excellent basic customer service. Smiling, asking if someone needs help, asking if they were able to find everything they were looking for and just being all around pleasant is the key.
Listening to customers is, of course, important and you should go back and check your older reviews, particularly the negative ones, to see if there is a pattern that you can spot and fix. If they all seem to be mentioning the same thing or the same person, you can easily address that single issue.
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Although it would be a bit much to respond to all your reviews individually, you can say a thank you to the especially glowing ones and address the negative ones.
Replying to negative reviews will show that you take them seriously and that you are committed to addressing any shortcomings in your business. You’ll need to assume that whatever the reviewer is saying is true. Even if it seems outrageous, you don’t want to call them a liar and get into a petty argument on a public forum.
You can offer them some kind of discount to keep their business and make sure they come back, but do this in a private conversation. If people see that you automatically give discounts or deals to people who leave negative reviews, you might end up getting false negative reviews just so people can snag a discount. (It happens.)
Once you have reviews rolling in, you should keep track of them so you can mine them for helpful information. A certain product or service might elicit more positive reviews, so you can concentrate on pushing that item.
You might find that certain tactics for getting reviews work better than others. Sending email reminders might work better if they come from an address that contains a name rather than a generic address like “info” or “support.”
As you collect data, patterns will emerge and you’ll be able to identify what works well for getting positive reviews. One tactic that works well is sending an email with an animated video reminding people to leave a review. Click here to schedule an appointment with WizMotions to see how we can help you make the perfect review request video.