Many business owners have a complicated relationship with customer feedback—especially that which is offered through anonymous online review sites. Receiving praise from a customer is always a good feeling; receiving critical feedback, while painful, can at least point toward opportunities for growth. Sometimes online reviews can simply be mean-spirited, highly negative in their tone but lacking any substantive tips for improvement. These tend to be the most frustrating of all.
These reviews shape brand perception and influence customer-decision-making—which makes negative reviews all the more lethal, but positive ones truly precious. Indeed, the savvy business owner doesn’t shy away from online reviews, but rather encourages satisfied customers to leave their feedback at an online review site. These reviews are significant for building the brand’s credibility and luster.
Reviews: The Ultimate User-Generated Content
But savvy business owners do more than just encourage reviews: They also put those reviews to good use. One way to do that is to embrace reviews as the ultimate user-generated content, or UGC. UGC has been shown to enhance search engine optimization and to drive sales—but the first step, of course, is to actually get users to create the content! One of the easiest ways to do that is to simply ask customers to offer their reviews.
There are different ways to encourage positive reviews. Including a link to your online review site, plus a call to action, on each e-mail invoice and receipt is a good option. Directly e-mailing your best and most loyal clients and asking for their help can also work. Incentivizing the process—offering a 5 percent discount to those who provide user feedback—can also be a good strategy.
Once the reviews are written and posted, the next step is to recycle them. A review written on Google or on Facebook can be added to your company’s testimonials page. It can be turned into a graphic and used in social media promotion. It can be inserted into marketing e-mails, too. Leveraging these user reviews ensures you’re really getting their maximum value.
Even more fundamentally, you can use the online review process to build trust among your customers and clients. In fact, reviews can be integral to the personalized shopping experience. Directly asking each customer for their feedback—and sending a reply that makes it clear you’ve actually read and engaged with their content—can be an invaluable way of showing that your business is customer-focused and ultimately transparent.
Of course, negative reviews may happen sooner or later, and there is nothing that can be done to totally prevent this. What business owners can do is respond appropriately—not argumentatively or defensively, but with a spirit of real customer service. Show that you’re listening to the feedback being offered, and do what you can to improve that customer’s experience.
To learn more about optimizing your website with reviews and other UGC, we welcome you to give us a call at your next convenience.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE: