It is no longer a secret that social media platforms like Facebook are powerful tools…
How often have you not ordered from a particular brand or business because it didn’t have enough positive reviews online? Or perhaps, maybe because it didn’t have any reviews at all?
The ultimate question here is, how likely are you to be affected by online customer reviews and recommendations from people you know when making a purchase?
According to a BrightLocal survey conducted recently, nine out of ten consumers refer to online reviews for local businesses, and 68% of the respondents said that positive reviews encourage them to buy from a business.
So, as a business owner, wouldn’t you want to promote positive customer reviews online about your business in order to not only maintain an excellent reputation and image online but also have lifelong customers? After all, a bad review will leave a dent in your reputation, and you certainly don’t want that given the immense power of social media and how it can impact a business.
Be it a restaurant, a skincare brand, a laundry service or a shoe business, if you have constructive reviews online, the chances are that more and more people will purchase from you. Simply put, in today’s day and age, word of mouth, personal recommendations and positive customer reviews are essential deciding factors that play a huge role in a customer’s purchase decision.
Lucky for you, there are several effective and useful strategies that help businesses encourage and generate positive customer reviews.
Make Sure Both Your Products And Service Are Top-Notch
One of the simplest ways to motivate your clients and customers to praise your business online is to provide them with top-notch service and excellent quality products. The relationship between the two things is quite simple – the more satisfied a customer is with your business, the more likely they are to leave a nice review about either your product or service online.
Quality offerings go to show that a business is trying hard and doing its best to ensure a positive, happy and satisfying experience for its customers. This, in turn, motivates the customers to write a nice, detailed review about their overall experience.
Offer a Personalized Customer Experience
When you walk into your favorite store or shop, doesn’t it feel so great when the salesperson there not only greets you warmly but also remembers your name? Or when a business emails you about promotions or new products, for instance, and addresses you by your name?
A lot of businesses don’t realize this, but when you offer a personalized customer experience, it is likely to result in positive customer reviews for your business. Knowing a repeat customer’s name will help make them feel special and will surely go a long way in establishing great levels of trust and loyalty.
Respond to Online Reviews
The way a business responds to an online review, whether positive or negative, has a serious impact on its online reputation. It is essential that you show your customers you personally answer and respond to each review. So, when a new customer of yours sees that you take online reviews very seriously and you also take out the time to respond to each individual review, they are likely to also write a review of their own and paint your business in a positive light.
A study once conducted by Harvard University shows that if a business responds to online reviews, it can improve its overall rating to a great extent. Bad experiences and mistakes can happen, but if you take it in your stride and properly cater to negative reviews as well, it can go a long way to build your business or company’s online reputation management.
Solicit Reviews Through Email and Text Message
Another great way to encourage positive customer reviews is to actually go the extra mile to solicit reviews either through email or text message.
This might sound like a simple and easy thing to do, but it really isn’t. Soliciting customer reviews requires a lot of care and caution on your part because you need to do it at the right time and moment to generate optimal results.
Timing is of utmost importance here, and as a business, you should be very particular about that. For instance, if your customer has purchased a beauty product from your physical store, it would be absolutely pointless to ask them for a review while they are on their way back home because they can’t possibly review your product without trying it, right?
Depending on your business and the kind of product or service you have to offer, make sure to identify the right time to ask your customer for a review.
A few strategic moments that are ideal to do that include:
- When they make another purchase of the same product
- If they refer you to another customer
- If they tag you on social media or write about you on their page or blog
- If they update you about their experience or success with your product or service
An important thing to understand here is that services and products generally work within different time frames. So, when soliciting reviews from customers either through email or text message, make sure that the time frame is right. You definitely don’t want to be that nagging and annoying company that keeps bugging customers for feedback and review because doing this will eventually put of those people who initially did want to write a review.
Offer Multiple Avenues for Customer Reviews
If your business has a website with a separate review section, it’s not necessary that potential customers will visit it in order to find out more about you. Similarly, it is not a given that an existing customer will want to use the website review option to post a review about their experience.
With that being said, it is essential to understand that you need to be able to offer multiple avenues or platforms for generating positive customer reviews and for helping others learn about you through a variety of different sources.
For instance, you could have a Facebook page, an Instagram page and even Yelp, which is a trusted and one of the most popular sites for customer reviews.
Another thing you can do here is refer to industry-specific review websites that are popular in your given industry. This is a super-effective option, and if done right, it can actually help generate not only positive customer reviews but also spread the good word about your business.
Make the Reviewing Process Easy for Customers
Don’t you just hate it when businesses have super complex websites that aren’t even mobile-friendly?
This is exactly how a customer is likely to feel if your business website isn’t compatible with mobile phones, for instance.
In order to be able to encourage positive customer reviews, you need to make the reviewing process easy for them by ensuring that all the avenues are simple, quick and convenient. If it’s too difficult, even customers with the intention to leave a nice review are likely to give up.
So, first things first, make sure that your website is fully mobile-friendly so that your customers can easily access existing reviews and also write one of their own from their cellphone.
Secondly, make use of streamlined templates for review requests for both email and text messages in order to make it a comfortable, pleasurable experience for the customer.
Share and Promote All Your Positive Customer Reviews
If your business has been around for a while now, you’ve probably already received quite a few reviews on your page or website, both good and bad. In addition to encouraging new customer reviews, it is ideal that you share and promote the existing positive customer reviews you’ve received over the years. This is an excellent way to inspire other people and to help keep the momentum going.
Not just this, but recognizing your customers for their efforts will help you create a community of satisfied and happy customers who are super keen and eager to review your business.
There are a few things that you can do here:
- Share all positive customer reviews on your social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
- If you use a third-party website that generates reviews, mark all good reviews as helpful to move it up so that a greater number of people can view them.
- Give a shout-out to reviewers by their names on your social media pages, and thank them for taking time out for reviewing your brand or business.
Give Your Customers an Incentive to Purchase
A simple thing to understand is that if a person has a good experience with your business, they aren’t always likely to go out of their way to write a review and post it online. However, if the same customer ends up having a terrible experience, they will probably make sure to leave a bad review for your business on all online platforms. This is simply because unsatisfactory experiences get reviewed more than satisfactory ones.
In this case, you might want to give your customers an incentive to make them motivated to write a review for your business. Note here that this is not a bribe in any way or form, because that would be unethical.
This is just an opportunity for them to write a review, and in return, they might get lucky and win something. For example, you can ask your customers to review their purchase, and in doing so, they will get a chance to automatically enter a drawing competition with a great cash prize.
You can also write something like, “Like it or hate it? Leave a review and get a chance to win exciting prizes!”
Note here that this isn’t creating any kind of pressure on your customers to write a review; it is simply offering them an incentive that they can even ignore or refuse if they like.
Make Sure Your Employees and Customer Representatives Are On Board
Positive customer reviews play a very important role in establishing a good reputation for a business online. Therefore, it is essential that all your employees and customer representatives are on board and fully understand and know the importance of these reviews.
Your staff should be able to do all the core things required for encouraging customer reviews, such as asking customers for reviews, thank them for their efforts, and let them know about the various online platforms you have for posting reviews.
If, for instance, your product or service is perfect without question, but your salespeople are doing a bad job when dealing with customers, you run a high risk of being shamed online by a disgruntled, angry customer.
So, you might want to keep stressing on the importance of local business reviews to your employees and customer representatives so that even if an unforeseen situation does occur, they know exactly how to deal with it and make things right.
A majority of consumers are influenced by a review that they see or read online. If that doesn’t highlight the importance of generating positive customer reviews, we don’t know what does.
While businesses generally don’t really have control over what their consumers or customers have to say about them, they do have the ability to influence their words and reviews that they write online with the help of the above-mentioned strategies to promote positive customer reviews.
Doing all this hard work and going the extra mile to paint a good image of your business online is actually well worth your time, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now. The online world is an incredibly powerful tool, and you might not be able to see it, but a single good review can boost your image and bring in new customers, whereas a single negative review can reverse the situation and can terribly affect your business.
So, as a business, your ultimate focus should always be on encouraging positive customer reviews and ensuring that you are providing them excellent service, perfect products and an overall incredible experience, all of which leaves them with no option other than writing a nice review for your business and posting it online.