Every successful marketer knows that word of mouth advertising is paramount when it comes to generating new business. When your potential customers or clients hear positive opinions from others, it builds trust and influences decision making in a way that regular advertising can’t.
Customer reviews are the new word of mouth. People seek them out, learn from them and base their buying decisions on them. Positive reviews can spread quickly and lead to explosive sales, while negative reviews can hurt revenue and force a business to take a backseat.
Luckily, getting great customer reviews isn’t just about marketing your products and services and hoping for the best. There are strategies you can use to ensure customers are satisfied and willing to leave positive feedback.
Why People Look at Online Reviews
Typically, there are four reasons someone would look for reviews online:
Getting social proof from customers who have used the product or service
To learn more about the product they are buying
To reduce your chances of making a bad purchase
To get a better understanding of the benefits and limitations of the product
Naturally, the goal of any business is to get positive reviews and use them to drive sales and enhance your brand online. Here are seven tips you can use to get great customer reviews.
1. Ask for Reviews across a Range of Platforms
The first step in getting great online reviews is to make it as easy as possible for people to leave them. The more effort it takes to leave a review, the less likely someone is to dedicate the time to leave the review you want. Social media and third-party review sites are great platforms to help get the good word out about your company, product, or service.
Some of the most effective ones include:
- Google My Business
- Trust Pilot
There are also many niche review sites (depending on your industry) that may be effective for eliciting great customer reviews. An example would be Trip Advisor in the travel sector or OpenTable for restaurants or cafés.
The key for all of these platforms is to keep it simple and ask for reviews, so there is no confusion about what you want your visitors to do.
2. Make the Most of Your Website
Your website is a great tool for getting customer reviews. Your web pages and blog posts should be optimized so that visitors can leave their comments quickly and easily. You should also provide a clear path to all your social media channels.
If you have an ecommerce site, you may want to consider adding live chat to get instant feedback from customers. Chatbots are also useful in answering questions and using automation on platforms such as Messenger, Instagram, SMS and email.
These functions can satisfy people’s “I want everything now” mentality. It also provides value as it reduces response time and enhances your customer service.
3. Solicit Reviews in Your Emails
If inbound marketing is part of your process, you’ll have a great platform to ask for customer reviews.
Nurture and convert using email at key points in your customer journey. For example, you can send an email for a review after a purchase (set a timeline that’s appropriate for your brand). You’ll get the most honest feedback because people feel like they’re having a one-on-one conversation with you. This will help you increase sales or make necessary adjustments if you spot negative patterns in the responses.
4. Incentivize and Reward Reviews
If you find that you aren’t getting as many reviews as you’d like or you just like the idea of rewarding your customers, consider adding incentives to the process.
Everyone recognizes that their time is valuable, so give people a reason to leave a review. Incentives like discounts, coupons, gift cards, or contests should motivate people and increase your sales when they return to buy again.
Here’s an example from peer-to-peer review site, G2. Be aware when using this strategy that you need to develop a reward system that produces the right results for your company. Offering incentives has been shown to improve the positivity of reviews. However, you also want to be transparent and make sure the reviews are genuine and not just motivated by the ‘offer’.
5. Work on Your Timing – Know When to Ask!
Asking for reviews at the right time will help you get more out of the process and improve your customer service. Whether it’s on social media, your website, or through email, timing is always important. The last thing you want is to get under someone’s skin at the wrong moment and end up with a negative review that others will see.
This means that you need to understand and track your customer journey. Know where and when a person interacts with your brand. This will help you to map out the channels and points of interaction that will have the most impact and help you to drive engagement.
Good times to ask for a review include:
- A product order
- A product re-order
- Using a social media tag
- A blog or landing page comment
- An asset download e.g. an ebook
- A customer referral
The idea is to approach them when they are feeling satisfied or fulfilled so that they will pass that feeling along in the review.
6. Promote Your Reviews
If you already have great reviews, promote them! There’s no point in having them hidden away or stored on a database. Not only will it encourage people to buy from you, but it may prompt them to share their own thoughts.
Consider putting reviews on your website homepage. If you have product pages and reviews that relate directly to that product, include them there too. You can also add a ‘Testimonials’ page where all your reviews are housed and people can access them easily. Here’s an example from cereal company Surreal that promotes testimonials on its homepage and also has a ‘Review’ section in ‘About Us’.
7. Respond to Reviews (Positive and Negative)
It’s important to be proactive when it comes to customer feedback. If you’re out there looking for reviews, then make sure you or someone in your marketing, sales, or customer service team makes the time to go through them and respond.
Positive reviews are easy to respond to. A simple acknowledgment and thanks for someone taking the time to leave one should be enough. However, negative reviews require more time and attention.
Did you know that 94% of consumers say that a bad review has made them avoid a business? However, 45% said they are more likely to interact with a company if it responds to negative reviews, according to Review Trackers.
So it’s important to pay attention to what the reviewer is saying and respond with either a solution or an opportunity to contact the company to rectify the situation. Here’s a great example from Jobber of how to deal with a negative review.