Recommendations from satisfied customers have always been an excellent way to grow a business. The current sales climate, particularly in a multichannel community, has taken customer recommendations to a new level. Years ago, when customers were in the market for a new car, for instance, they would go down to the local store and buy a Consumer Reports magazine. They would use these analyses to make an informed decision on their purchase. Now most potential customers, even if they plan to buy in your brick and mortar business, will go online to find out more about a product or service.
Customer Reviews Matter
You can’t afford to dismiss the importance of customer reviews because many buyers depend on these reviews to fill out the full picture of a product before making a final decision. These reviews give depth to a consumer’s research into a product or service. When combined with product ratings—the number of stars a product receives—reviews may make the difference between closing a sale or not. Customers want and value firsthand experience from others who are familiar with your business.
Every online business needs to include customer reviews either on the company website or on other platforms since a majority of buyers will look for them to help in decision making. As many as 72 percent of online consumers report that positive reviews influence what they buy. Be careful about cherry picking the reviews to include only the positive ones or visitors will distrust the information. Let’s face it–even the best company can’t please all of the people all of the time, and your customers know that. To build trust in your business include some negative reviews, but respond to the criticism politely and honestly, preferably in online comments. Monitor the online reviews regularly. If someone is looking for more information about your product or service, point them in the right direction. Make sure that you make your customers know that you appreciate their input.
How to Get Customers to Review Your Product or Service
So, you are a business offering a quality product or service. Now how do you get your customers to actually go online and tell others about you and your product? The first step is make sure you have lots of opportunities for customers to give feedback. In addition to your own website, make sure you have a presence on Facebook, Google+, Yelp, and other more industry-specific sites, such as TripAdvisor.
The next step is simply to ask for feedback. You can do this in a variety of ways. For a brick and mortar store, ask customers to fill out a feedback form at the time of purchase. For online purchases ask for feedback at the time of checkout, and follow up with a thank you email. In all cases make sure that your hard copy or online instructions for leaving feedback are very easy to follow. You can go further and email a select group of customers and ask them to leave feedback.
Use That Feedback
When you have collected hard copy feedback, use that positive feedback in your online reviews. It is polite and appreciated if you ask customers if you can use their comments before posting them. From there, make sure that there is lots of exposure to reviews by making it easy for customers to click and read. You can do this by ensuring that you include a link to a review page–on whatever platform you prefer–Google+ for instance–in your emails and other correspondence.
If You Still Aren’t Getting Enough Reviews
It does take some effort for customers to review your product or service, and it may take some encouragement from you to make it happen. Sometimes offering a free download or another small incentive can push customers to take the time to review your product. Do whatever you can to increase the number of reviews, and you should see a positive response.