As time goes on, marketing is continuing to shift towards the digital realm. While Print will always be important in making sure a business succeeds, customers are also looking to online reviews to determine the credibility of a company. In fact, 70% of online customers rely on reviews to make buying decisions. That’s a large percentage and should not be ignored.
Online reputation management is more than just responding to negative reviews; it’s also about having enough reviews for your business to be seen as trustworthy. As an example, would you rather choose Company A with 6 reviews (with 1 excellent, 1 very good, 2 average, 1 poor, and 1 terrible)?
Or would you rather buy from Company B with 1,185 reviews (with 650 excellent, 280 very good, 150 average, 80 poor, and 25 terrible)?
While these are made up numbers, the concept is the same. Company B, with more overall reviews is more likely to be trusted than Company A, even though Company B has more negative reviews in total than Company A. This is because the positive reviews start outweighing the negative. This is why it is important to have as many online reviews as possible.
Obviously, it is better if your company can garner more positive reviews because 52% of consumers say that a positive review makes them more likely to use a local business. It’s also important to note that 52% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations and 76% of consumers regularly or occasionally use online reviews to determine with local business to use. These are all important statistics in understanding that online reviews really do have a large effect on the success of your business.
Now that we’ve gone over why you must have online reviews for your company’s reputation, we want to show you how to get those positive reviews. While there is no shortcut in building up your online reputation, remembering these tips should help you gain more positive reviews and increase your customer base.
We are starting out with the simplest one but it is by far, the most important. If you want your customers to leave a positive review, make sure they have a positive customer experience. If your customers do not have a good experience with the company, why would they want to give you a positive review? However, if they do have a good customer experience, they will likely do far more for the business than just leave a positive review. On average, happy customers tell approximately 9 people about their positive experience, essentially giving you 9 referrals. Having good customer service is critical in not only generating positive reviews but in business success as well.
In life in general, when do we get things we want without asking for them? Not very often. It is the same with customer reviews. You can not expect your customers to just post a review on their own. While businesses focus on improving the lives of their customers, customers do not focus on improving the “lives” of businesses. This is why you have to ask them to leave a review and there are a few ways to do this.
- First, add an obvious section to your website for customers to leave reviews on whatever platform they choose (Your website, Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc.). Let them know that their feedback is highly valued by the company and then display that feedback on your website so other customers can see it.
- Second, if you have an email marketing campaign, use it. You can send emails to recent customers asking them to leave a review on your website or other platform. You can ask for a general review or even send them a survey to get more detailed feedback. However, you have to remember to ask at the right time. Do not wait weeks after purchase before asking for a review. That forces the customer to think back to that time and makes them less likely to respond. Give them just enough time to receive the product and use it before sending them an email.
- Third, if your sales are not online but over the phone or in person, remember to ask those customers to leave reviews too. Not only could you verbally direct them to your website, but they could also write out a quick review on paper and you can then staple it their receipt or contract etc. In fact, CustomerLobby CEO Ted Paff has said that “Comment card reviews solicited at the time of service can see completion rates of 80-90%.” This statistic speaks for itself so do not forget to get reviews from non-online customers as well.
There are a few things you must absolutely remember when soliciting reviews. You must remember to ask for an honest review, not a positive review. Obviously, it would be better to have a positive review but asking for it makes the customers feel as if the company would rather have them lie about their experience. That is not good for your online reputation so do not do that. Second, always ask permission to share customers’ feedback. If they are giving their review on your website, make sure to include an option of private or public viewing. If the review is given on paper or on the phone, make sure to ask if it is okay to share online. You never want to just assume that it is.
Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews
Every review is important and you must respond, in some way, to all of them. If you receive a positive review, great! Thank the customer for it by liking, retweeting, or commenting on their review. This will help strengthen your relationship with those customers. Then, when you receive negative reviews, because you will, that’s great too. Negative reviews give you a chance to look at your company and fix any problems that have arisen.
When those negative reviews do come up, do not just ignore it. Contact the customer, either through the original review, or through some other form of communication, and work to resolve the problem quickly. Oftentimes, the customer will go back and edit the negative review if the problem is taken care of quickly. This means that the negative review could turn into a positive review.
Every review is important and can have lasting effects on your online reputation. The more online reviews you can obtain, the better it will be for your business. By providing a great customer experience, asking for reviews at the right time, and responding to all reviews, your company should begin to see more positive reviews from your customers. The more positive reviews you receive, the more your company will succeed.