There’s no way around it: If you want to convince consumers to spend money on your product or service, you first have to convince them that you’re trustworthy. Proving trustworthiness can be easier said than done, but in today’s consumer landscape, there’s one very basic currency for credibility… and that’s online reviews.
Consider: If you’re researching a business on Google and you see that 100+ other people have left positive feedback, that can’t help but be reassuring. It’s a meaningful form of social proof. And even if there are a handful of suboptimal reviews mixed with the raves, it’s still pretty persuasive that a lot of people have used the company in question, and generally they’re satisfied with the experience. By contrast, if you Google a company and see that they’ve never received a single review, that hardly gives you any reason to trust them.
The problem is, you can’t force anyone to leave your business reviews on Google, Facebook, or Yelp… but there may be some ways to encourage them. Here are a few suggestions.
Create the Right Accounts
First and foremost, make sure there are platforms where your consumers can leave you reviews. In particular, make sure you create a Facebook account and a Google My Business page, both of which are free and can be optimized in just a few minutes.
Remember that, as potential customers search for your brand, Facebook and Google are the tools they’re most likely to use, so it’s a natural place to plant your flag and start encouraging feedback.
Ask for Reviews (At the Right Time)
Once you have those platforms established, develop a habit of asking your customers for reviews; in particular, ask at the moments when they’ll be most likely to oblige.
Getting the timing right can be challenging. If you’re offering a simple product, like a necktie or a desk lamp, you probably want to ask for reviews shortly after the product is delivered, when it still seems fresh and new. If you offer something a little more complicated, like a highly sophisticated software system, you may want to give the customer some time to get their feet wet before you ask for their opinion. And if you provide a service, like drain cleaning or Jeep customization, then you probably want to ask for a review as soon as the job is satisfactorily completed.
As for how you ask, again, it depends. Sending follow-up emails is one approach, especially if you’re shipping products from an ecommerce store. For services, train your technicians to mention reviews at the point of service, or have someone on staff trained to send text messages requesting a review.
Respond to Reviews
Another important step is to actually respond to every review your business receives. If you show that you take feedback seriously, rather than just ignore it, people will be more likely to chime in with their two cents. This also shows potential customers that you are paying attention and care about what your customers are saying.
The best way to respond to positive reviews is with a short, personal thank you. Simply let the customer know that you appreciate them taking the time to leave a review, and that you value their business.
For criticisms, take the time to graciously acknowledge the problem, offer an apology, and suggest some ways to make things right. View it as an opportunity to exhibit customer service. Remember that close to 90 percent of online consumers read a business’ response to reviews, in addition to the reviews themselves, so it’s a good chance for you to show how friendly, service-oriented, and attentive you can be.
Finally, make sure you’re monitoring all of your online review platforms, and that you know when new reviews are posted. If at all possible, try to respond to all reviews within 24 to 48 hours.
Share Your Best Reviews
Receiving a really positive consumer review is something to celebrate. In fact, we’d encourage you to do a little bragging! Share the review on your social media platforms. Take a screenshot or make an image, then share it to Instagram. Highlight some of your best reviews on your business website.
A really good review can be an effective piece of user-generated content, so don’t let it go to waste. Be intentional about showcasing it far and wide.
Use the Right Tools
One more thing that’s worth noting is that there are some very good review generation platforms available that allow you to send your customers an invitation to review your business. This can be set up manually as part of your checkout process, or automatically tied to your CRM. These platforms allow you to make this process seamless and use email as well as text messaging to encourage your clients to review you. We’d be happy to chat with you at any time about the different options and benefits of review platforms, and which one might be the best fit for you.
To talk with us about any of these points, or about general strategies for managing your company’s online reviews, reach out to the enCOMPASS team at any time.
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