Before you even think about asking ”Why do I need to have a customer review strategy?”, check out our list of well-researched and meticulously compiled reasons why. The bottom line is – online customer reviews matter.
Since customer reviews are the virtual word-of-mouth, they can easily become the best means of advertising (even if they are negative), with even a modest budget.
In truth, it takes planning and dedication, but can be incredibly fruitful. Here’s what you should do get the juiciest fruits.
Don’t Be Shy to Ask
It’s no secret that people like sharing their experiences with others. If it weren’t so, social networks wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular. Turn this fact to your advantage – simply ask your customers for reviews.
Not only are customers eager to leave reviews, they are also expecting a ‘’rate your experience’’ option. Online interaction is a two-way process, and it’s all about maintaining a healthy giving-receiving ratio.
Don’t be afraid of negative reviews – there are ways for you to flip a negative review and show that you learned something from it.
Take ”Post-Interaction” Action
You won a prospective client over and got them to purchase your product. Good for you! But it doesn’t end there. Sustainability of a business cannot be measured by a series of solitary successes. Instead, you need to nurture the relationship with existing clients.
One way to do it is through post-interaction (or follow-up) emails. After a customer has performed an action you intended, send them an email politely asking for a review of their experience. Ask them to suggest ways in which the experience could be improved. In turn, express genuine interest in their feedback.
What you achieve by this is show your clients that they are not just another notch in your belt, but that you intend to invest in a long-lasting relationship based on mutual trust.
Take ”Pre-Launch” Action
Apart from sending follow-up emails, you can also try asking for reviews before you’ve even launched a new product. You can achieve this by product sampling.
Put simply, what you do is send samples of a product to interested communities and gather reviews prior to launching the product. In that way, you’ll already have invaluable feedback.
The feedback you obtain can be used to further market the product. You can openly address the concerns your reviewers had, and show how you resolved them.
React to Reviews
First of all, maintaining your online reviews may not require a great deal of money, but let no one fool you it doesn’t require time.
Mind you – obtaining a review is just the first step. It shows that a customer valued the initiative and, therefore, deserves to be rewarded. If you ignore a review, you might as well not have asked for it at all.
What Does This Actually Mean?
At the onset of 2017, user/customer experience is a household name on the competitive marketing block. With new strategies being laid out, everyone’s buzzing about the next big step. Mobile-first indexing has already reshaped the website design landscape.
So what’s next?
Engaging your customers into a conversation, and showing them that their input makes a difference. All the while, you have to make sure the experience is smooth and easy across different devices.
Ideally, a customer will simply leave a positive comment praising your service/product and the shopping experience you provided. But remember this: they have actually taken the time to write a favorable review. The least you can do is respond with a thoughtful ‘’thank you’’.
Customers are no longer passive recipients. If you haven’t gotten to grips with this fact by now, your prospective clients are already knocking on your competitor’s door.
Be As Good As Your Word
So far, you’ve done a great job. Your customers have reviewed your services, and, in turn, you have politely responded. But what will really do the trick is showing that you have acted on your customers’ suggestions for improvement. How?
Let’s consider one of many possible scenarios. You noticed that a number of customers expressed doubts about how to use one of your products. As a response, write up a blog piece addressing this issue and make sure it’s emailed to the inquiring customers. They are sure to value the effort you made.
What you are trying to do here is transcend the cold quid pro quo scheme. Show your customers that by leaving a review, they will get actual value in return.
Last but Definitely Not Least
Now that you know you have to reach out, one question remains – where should you do it? Apart from embedding the ‘’leave a comment’’ feature on your website, make sure your customers can review your services on relevant review sites.
And what are the relevant review sites? For starters, ask Google. These guys were pretty clear about taking online reviews into account when ranking, especially for local. So, managing a profile on Google Reviews is a safe bet.
Furthermore, look for industry-specific review sites. For example, if you are a home improvement contractor, Houzz is most likely the platform your customers will rely on. Houzz boasts more than 35 million unique users. A staggering 90% of these are homeowners searching for contractors to hire.
There are other popular third-party review sites like Yelp. With over 142 million monthly users, Yelp established itself as the go-to place for online reviews. That means that millions of people make their purchasing decisions based on Yelp reviews. So, having a well-managed Yelp profile seems like a good idea.
So – what are you waiting for?
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