Online reviews are more important to today’s overall marketing than you might be willing to admit. Even if you personally don’t use reviews to make purchase decisions you can count on the fact that at least some of your potential customers will consider what others think about your business before they buy.
1. Pay attention to the reviews you already have.
It may sound obvious, but you can’t generate good reviews (at least not legally) unless you have happy customers to write them. No amount of asking for user reviews or soliciting feedback will help compensate for a bad first impression. Start by making sure to resolve any issues that particularly bother your customers if you can.
2. Consider asking for reviews.
Not good reviews — just reviews, and not until the end of the transaction. You don’t want to be pushy, but after you’ve delivered a service or product, it makes sense to ask that they review it on Google or Facebook, for instance. Let them know that the company takes their opinions seriously and checks that feedback daily.
3. Simply make your Web presence known.
If your customers are under 30, encouraging them to post a review may turn them off. Instead, simply engage them in the online world, by creating a Facebook and Twitter account for your business. Customers in this age bracket are so accustomed to posting online about every experience they have, they will almost certainly share their thoughts about your product or service without any prompting.
4. Respond quickly to bad reviews.
Never make an argument public by airing it on social media. Resist the urge to defend your company, product, or employee, an approach that almost always makes things worse. DO NOT fire back at the customer, the key is to examine the problem and resolve it. Also, if a bad review is warranted, thank the customer for the review and apologize for the bad experience. We find a customer will often go back and update a negative review once the issue has been resolved, so you can turn a negative into a positive if you act quickly. Best practice is to appologize for the negative experience (even when it’s not your fault) and offer to make it right in person/offline.
5. Reach out to negative reviewers directly.
Not everyone recommends responding publicly to bad reviews. Many professionals never respond online to negative reviews, because even doing that much tends to put the company in a defensive position. Instead the company contacts negative reviewers directly if it can find them, and tries to resolve the issue. If it’s thoughtful, constructive feedback, you may offer an extension of a free trial or a free upgrade.
The more reviews you get, the more likely you are to get one or more bad reviews. Even if you are providing the best product or service you can, some people will tend to complain. So your goal should be a large number of mostly good reviews. If we get 10 reviews, eight good and two bad, that’s a lot better for us than only one good review.
7. Make reviewing as easy as possible
Offer a ‘give feedback’ button that users encounter at the end of the process. Some leading edge websites offer the user three choices: one to send feedback, one to suggest a new feature, and one that sends them to a review site. We do this hoping they would mostly write positive reviews, and that’s how it’s worked out most of the time.
Positive reviews will earn you plus business and could impact your long term profitability. If you’d like help managing your reviews or any other part of your marketing, call us. Branding Iron can help.