How to Encourage Customer Reviews to Improve Business Ratings

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Your best marketers are your existing customers. No one can convince a prospective customer to buy your products or services better than someone who has already bought them. Having customer reviews available may be an inexpensive marketing strategy, but it’s highly effective. Not only can they sway consumer opinion, but they can boost your ranking on search engines and increase traffic to your website by increasing online conversations about you. 

The human need for social validation is a psychological necessity. People tend to follow the actions of the masses because it helps validate their choices. If a certain number of people buy your product and seem to be happy with it, then others will find themselves in an online group call being attracted to it as well. This is called social proof, and customer reviews are a great example. 

82% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. The online word of mouth deserves attention as customer reviews are the tipping point for web conversions.

Recycled from: LOCALiQ

Customer reviews need to be trustworthy and credible sources of information. They need to be authentic and they need to look authentic. If there are some less-than-positive ones, that’s fine – especially if you’ve taken the time to respond and address the issues raised. 

Potential customers will look to testimonials for information about your business. For example: if you want to buy from an online communication software provider and are wondering what does VoIP call mean or what the best CRM software is a good place to look would be review pages. 

To intelligently harness the positive influence of customer feedback, there are a few strategies to encourage customers to give reviews:

Ask Customers and Tell Them the Importance of Their Feedback

Simply asking the customer is the best way to get them to review you. People love to share their opinions. If you are confident in your product and customer service, you should be willing to ask and wait for them to oblige.

If you’re wanting to ask in person – whether in store, or on the phone, then your employees need to know how important reviews are to your business. They should be trained to request reviews at the end of the buying process. This is especially important if they can tell that they have a satisfied customer on hand. Remember, it’s always worth telling the customer how much a review would be appreciated.

Reviews are most effective when they are available online, on your website or other review websites. To convince an in-store customer to leave a review online can be challenging. You can make it a standard to get customers’ emails at check out and then follow up online, or add a survey link to their receipt with promises of a discount if they respond. 

Setting up a telephone speed dialer and automating email requests so you can scale up and contact more customers at a time. Computer telephony integration systems and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software can help you with this. You can keep a track of what your customers have bought and personalize the review request accordingly. 

Making customers aware of how important their feedback is to put the ball in their court. You give them the authority to make a decision about how others will feel about your business. If you provided an excellent product or service, they won’t be annoyed if you ask for a review – especially if you tempt them in with a slight discount!

Make Reviews Part of Your Processes

It is well worth incorporating a review strategy into the customer journey. For the sake of brand recognition, asking for reviews and ensuring that you receive them needs to be an integral part of your process. At the end of the buying stage, standardise the requests for reviews. Whether on the phone, through email or through in app reminders, requests should be sent out as soon as possible (post-delivery, of course). 

Once your employees understand the importance of reviews and it is incorporated in their training, it will be natural to request customers for reviews. Especially if you standardize the process, whether on the phone or email or your website. Ensure through your call center analysis that customers are being asked to leave reviews online. 

Employees can be given incentives for the reviews their customers post. These could be cash bonuses, extra time off, or even just paid-for lunches for the team. It’s useful to factor this into your digital marketing budget, as reviews can make a huge difference.

Leverage Social Media

Social media is rampant with reviews. A good omnichannel strategy will encompass this. Your buyer could have been through your website, but you could be asking for the review on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram. Many customers will tend to check social media pages as much, if not more, than business websites, so it’s worth ensuring you have a presence there too.

Reviews on social media can be very influential because people use their names and profile. The reader can identify with the reviewer unlike reviews on the web which simply have a name attached. This lends authenticity and your testimonials avoid looking ‘made up’. 

Empowering customers to share reviews in a ‘not so formal’ setting can also boost social media engagement and help in building your brand on social media. Sharing reviews on your social media profiles can also encourage more customers to give reviews. 

Respond to All Reviews

Your customer review strategy needs to prioritize one thing: instant feedback. Reply to every review, because it is your duty to respond to someone who has gone the extra mile for you. You can also invest in a live chat support software. A simple “thank you” can encourage customer retention and start a conversation. Equally, a response to a negative review can show you care about your customers. Actively responding to all your reviews is an investment in your reputation and should be one of your key digital marketing KPIs. 

Any reply you make needs to be prompt, personalized and unique.When you respond to negative reviews, try to engage with the customer to find out why they feel the way they do. Be courteous and acknowledge your mistake. Apologize and offer to resolve the complaint or compensate immediately. If you manage to resolve the customer’s concerns, they might even change their review to a more favorable one. 

Bad reviews are an opportunity because they force you to look inwards and fix yourself. You should incorporate customer feedback into improving your products and services. Reviews are not only important to convert prospects but also to improve your own business. They can provide important information on how customers interact with you, what problems they are trying to solve, and which of your campaigns are catching your attention. From this, you can build your buyer persona and plan accordingly. 

Entice with Promotions and Discounts

We mentioned it briefly earlier, but it’s worth highlighting again. Offering a discount in exchange for a review is a great way to entice people. Just make sure your offer is simply for writing a review and not for writing a good review.

It’s important to find the right balance between an incentive and what might look like a bribe. Discounts like 10% off your next purchase are fine, whilst offering 50% will look suspicious. You can even offer an entry to a sweepstakes, rather than an individual discount.

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Make it Easy for The Customer and Yourself

Customers ignore review requests because they find it to be a hassle. If you make the process easier, you will get more customers leaving reviews. It’s important to be quick, accessible, and mobile friendly

Give them options to review you on different platforms, so they choose one to their convenience. For instance, the RingCentral US review page shows that they have reviews on over 19 websites. Since they have customers reviewing them on so many platforms, they have more testimonials to share. These reviews cover all their products, such as whether they have the best free file sharing service available or if their VoIP service is worth it.

Not only does the comfort of reviewing it on a platform of their choice make it easier for customers, it also looks more legitimate. After all, you may be able to remove negative reviews from your own website, but not from 19 different sites!

The process shouldn’t only be easier for the customer. Make it simpler for yourself too. Many parts of the process can be automated, and machine learning is getting better at recognising key terms for reviews that may need more detailed responses.

A Delightful Customer Experience Is Your Priority

So now you know how to get customer reviews. But…how do you get positive reviews? You make sure your product or service is exceptional. A good review is the culmination of a delightful customer experience at every step in the buying journey. It does not matter if you have an ecommerce business or a brick and mortar store, the experience -as well as the product – is key to more and better reviews. 

Exceeding your customers’ expectations is critical to the quality of reviews you receive. By ensuring you leave you customers so overwhelmed with the quality of your products, services or customer service, they’re more likely to  feel appreciative and actively want to review you. Invest in an extraordinary customer experience and customer journey, follow-up with customers, and the reviews are sure to follow.