The results are in and they all agree that customers go where reviews tell them to go.
In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as their friends!
Reviews are essential for your company’s reputation, and reputation management is key.
Think about how many times you personally have reviewed a product before buying it or have read reviews on a company before going there, you can bet your customers are doing the exact same thing.
Most people find it beneficial to look at how a company treats its customers to see what kind of service they can expect.
Many people don’t trust internal reviews
The thing is, your internal review system (if you have one) isn’t going to work by itself.
Many people don’t trust internal reviews because they’re easy – and often – manipulated.
It’s simple for a given company to just remove a certain amount of 1 and 2-star reviews to get your product/service to the rating you would like.
But don’t think internal reviews aren’t important!
Just because people are more distrustful of them doesn’t mean they aren’t considered.
Customers will consider all factors going into a purchase or service before putting their money into it.
Having an internal review system is just another layer of good reputation management.
Use 3rd party review websites to your advantage
Most often, clients will go to review websites such as Facebook, Google, Yelp or Tripadvisor.
The problem there, as you may have already noticed, is that it’s nearly impossible to get fake reviews off of the website.
You’ll actually see many reviews from people who were never there!
The other problem is that people don’t review when they have an “okay” experience.
Most clients will only review if they had terrible or exceptional service.
It’s hard to keep a good reputation if you only have the best and the worst reviews. What’s needed is more reviews from the average customer.
Get as many reviews as possible
Since the average customer isn’t going to think to review he/she is going to need to be encouraged to some degree.
Personally asking them to do it is the #1 way to prod them into leaving a review. Here are a few simple ways to ask them:
- At the end of your appointment remind them to review you or your company on your choice of a review system
- Have your secretary tell customers on the way out of the facility
- Have tablets available in your lobby for customers to review the company while they have spare time
- Erect a sign that instructs clients to go to a website to review your company
You can subtly mention to your clients is a good way.
Remember, these reviews will help mitigate reviews from trolls or people who are looking to ruin your business. For small businesses, this can be one of the best ways to boost your brand.
Funnel your reviews.
One tip you need to make sure to take advantage of is funneling!
Funneling is simply making sure people with good experiences leave reviews of your business while people who are angry and had some sort of difficulty with your service will get funneled into a contact form. This provides two benefits:
- You avoid 1-star reviews by directing poor experiences away from your review system
- Issues can be resolved with people that had a lackluster experience hopefully leading to more business in the future
In order to funnel you’re going to want to ask customers to evaluate their experience, and then dependent on their answer, you’ll funnel them into one route or the other.
To get the customer’s evaluation you’ll want something such as an online portal or an in-person survey they can fill out. The key point is that you want to find out who liked the service and who didn’t.
Encourage customers to write specific things.
Obviously telling customers to write very specific things is sort of… well… frowned upon. But hinting and implying they should write certain things is totally alright!
It can be as simple as saying “If you liked our (staff, product, checkout process, etc.) then make sure to leave a review!”
Just by mentioning it the likelihood of the customer putting that in their review goes up exponentially.
Of course, there are other ways to get clients to mention specific things too.
Casually mentioning that your company has been working on your product or something you’re doing with the client means it’s much more likely to stick in the client’s mind.
The key is to be subtle about what you want in your reviews. Being too blunt could negatively affect your reputation.
Speaking of, you’re going to want to make sure certain buzzwords get added into reviews to up your reputation.
These words should be pretty clear, these are words such as quality, friendly, capable, and professional.
Words you would put into your resume are equally great to have in your reviews. You may also want customers to mention a new product/service that your company has been pushing.
Get the customer’s email and follow-up.
There’s a reason your inbox is always full of spam: emails are priceless. Getting a customers email and then occasionally emailing them can lead to recurring business and better your reputation.
Being focused and streamlined in your emails is essential in getting growth. Here’s an example of a successful email:
Hello, (client name)!
Just checking in on you. As a valued customer of <company name>, we’d like to encourage you to become a member of our loyalty program so you can get the most bang for your buck!
Remember loyalty customers <list of benefits> so you definitely don’t want to miss out.
We’ll see you at <company name>!
As you can see this email will encourage the customer to join this company’s loyalty program which is going to give the customer benefits for coming back and spending money on this specific brand.
The other thing successful about this email is that it’s professional yet optimistic.
By using exclamation marks and other things that portray happiness, the company shows a positive image that the client will then associate with it.
Pay attention to your reviews.
Just because reviews are great for marketing and reputation doesn’t mean that you should ignore its function.
The main purpose of reviews is to help you as a brand improve and fix issues that customers find.
By doing this, you’ll continually improve and you’ll see more and more positive reviews and customers.
In addition, you can see things that customers noticed and liked and you can use this to your advantage. Find the things they like and boost them. Find the things clients don’t like and fix them.
If you need help setting up reviews for your business don’t hesitate to contact us at www.cbsmithdigital.com