As a business owner, you know reviews are important for building customer trust, improving customer loyalty, and increasing conversions, but actually getting the reviews can be an uphill battle. Many businesses use the pretext that their customers just don’t want to write reviews, but the success of reviewing platforms like Yelp indicate that that’s simply not the case. While the attention spans of today’s consumer are shorter than ever, plenty of businesses are successful at acquiring their customers’ feedback. Mastering customer reviews boils down to a two-part process: the first is getting the customer to write the review, and the second is making sure the customer knows that they’ve been heard and that you want to continue the conversation.
The most important step to getting more reviews is to make it easy to write and submit a review. Customer reviews, positive or negative, are usually sparked by a moment of passion or inspiration–that feeling your customer gets when they have something to say that might interest other people. Make sure that your reviewing process isn’t overly complicated with too many questions and multiple steps, or you may lose those customers whose enthusiasm fades when dealing with a complicated reviewing platform. A simple review process can generate more customer reviews simply because the platform is easily accessible and it engages the customer before they lose interest.
Even though they aren’t posting reviews, it doesn’t mean that your customers don’t have anything to say. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Generating more reviews can sometimes be as easy as switching your ask. A post-purchase email that thanks customers for their support and asks them what they think of the product is a great example of being proactive about getting reviews. The email harnesses the post-purchase energy, when their opinion of the product is right at the top of mind and gives them the push they need to post a review. A warm and lighthearted tone tells the customer you are grateful for their business. A personalized feeling (not salesy) encourages customer loyalty. Remember: sincerity goes a long way and can’t be faked. Your customers will know if you’re not being genuine.
Encourage participation by creating customized competitions and campaigns that are propelled and inspired by their reviews. Show them that what they’re saying is being heard and reward the reviewer by giving them a mention on social media or by putting their specific idea into action.
These are creative incentives that engage your customers. Integrate traditional reviews into other platforms of user-generated content and engage customers through a variety of social media platforms. For example, post a photo of your product on your social media platform of choice with a few specific questions and request feedback. This encourages responses from people who may not otherwise reach out. It’s not necessarily about what you ask, but about how and where you ask it.
Be sure to respond! This may sound obvious, but when your customers say something to you, whether through a customer review, social media comment etc., respond to them as promptly as you can so they know that their input matters and is appreciated. There’s nothing worse than asking a company a question and receiving nothing…no response at all. Responding to all customers quickly and authentically shows that you’re on top of your business and reminds the customer that, behind the company, there are human beings. This helps foster customer trust and loyalty which also allows you to further engage and communicate with your customers, which is, after all, the point of customer reviews.
No company wants to receive a negative review, but the fact is that negative reviews are actually an opportunity improve customer trust and project credibility. Negative reviews that appear alongside positives ones reinforce the authenticity of the reviews and proves to the customer that they aren’t falsified. Negative reviews also offer a unique marketing opportunity, when handled properly. Addressing the negative review, as well as the upset customer behind it, can build confidence in your business. Make sure to answer the negative review promptly with a personalized response–one that faces their complaint head-on and with specific details, so it doesn’t come off like a standardized response. Offer a sincere apology and ask for an opportunity to have their business again, potentially with an some type of incentive. Once the mistake has been corrected, ask for another review of their experience. This will show potential customers that you are willing to go the distance to take care of your customers.