Zendesk recently sponsored a survey, tapping Dimensional Research to do the task in getting information as to how the online reviews influence the customers’ decision making in buying a certain product or service. It turned out that 90% of the respondents admitted positive reviews have a great impact on their buying decisions while 86% confirmed that negative reviews affect their buying decisions.
That’s the power of online reviews generated by social media sites nowadays. The relevance of what other people have to say about your business really matters. Gone are the days when small businesses exerted extensive marketing schemes to ensure public awareness of their business endeavors. The current trend shows that peer review is somehow an effective tool to attract customers.
If that’s the case, then you need to solicit reviews from customers rather than painstakingly marketing your business to the point that most of your time is allotted to it. However, it isn’t that easy. You need to lay out a good foundation to encourage them in doing so. And here are some practical tips you might consider for this purpose.
Make it Easier, be Candid and do the Same
Make it easier for customers to write reviews on your company, perhaps having direct links that bear your review profile such as a follow-up and thank you email. Otherwise they will not offer a review unless they have an unfavorable experience to share so they will definitely look for ways to express what they feel.
Don’t be shy but be candid with your customers. Asking for a review is just a normal business undertaking these days that can also be done through a virtual PBX. Online reviews can really make a difference so make it a point to have a simple yet bold statement asking for a review from customers regarding their experience with your business.
Do the same thing. It’s like returning the favor. You ask for reviews and these were granted to you so you better do the same thing to establish strong connections. It also helps to visit review sites where business owners and customers alike sometimes meet. Your presence on a certain review site that is somehow related to your business makes it even easier for you to solicit reviews for your own business.
Consider Demographics, Offer Incentive, Acknowledge Reviewers and the Negative Reviews
Mature customers need not be encouraged to share their thoughts for they will certainly do it without much prompting. Younger generation on the other hand hates to be bombarded with request to post a review and they will most likely turn them off. But older customers as well as those who are not internet savvy need a little push or guidance to leave a review.
Writing a review takes time and it is just fitting to offer incentives such as small discount to those who do it. This shows that their effort is appreciated and it will certainly encourage other customers to give their opinion too. You may also do this right after the customers posted their reviews. Thus you know that your incentive did not influence their decision to write a review and its content.
Acknowledge the customers who wrote positive reviews for you. Perhaps you may produce a video testimonial highlighting their great experience with your product or service, thus making them brand ambassadors. Nothing beats this kind of marketing strategy, video clips showing real people. That way a good relationship is established and the customers will then keep on writing good reviews for you.
Take the negative reviews as constructive criticism even if they’re not. Just try to look at the brighter side. At least you know that there’s something for you to work on and when you do, you will turn a discontented customer into a satisfied brand promoter. And if you continue doing great, apparently customers will be more than willing to leave positive reviews.