June 15

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How to Harness the Power of Customer Reviews for Your Business

By David Holland

June 15, 2020


Products and services out there are screaming that they are the best that you could ever have. In reality, not all of all of them are the best and it’s no surprise that you don’t trust these ads and marketing messages.

Your customers and your future customers feel the same about your product. It takes more than just a catchy headline or attractive ad commercial to win their hearts. 

This is where the power of customer reviews comes to your rescue. Reviews are more than just social proofs. Customer feedback reinforce the credibility and performance of your products beyond how you promote them. 

A study targeting the holidays concluded that 98% of consumers say user-generated reviews are helpful to their buying decisions during these seasons. 88% said they trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. Surprisingly, only less than half of the surveyed company owners said they have review strategies. 

More...

STEP I: Learn the importance of online reviews for your business 

8 out of 10 people say that online reviews are as important to them as personal recommendations. Beyond the obvious, these reviews play a vital role not only on how customers look at your business but also how your organisation keeps up with the ever-changing digital world.

Customer reviews are important because:

  • They are the new word-of-mouth and people are looking for them

  • They show off your brand’s flaws which are essential to transparency for customers

  • They allow you to see how your brand, product and company performs through a customer’s perspective

  • They are proven by businesses to dramatically help improve returns

STEP II: Identify types of reviews and see which works best specifically for your business

Generally, there are four widely popular ways on how customers leave reviews. 

  1. Customer reviews on listings

  2. Video reviews on Youtube, Vimeo or their personal blogs and social pages

  3. Success stories

  4. Social network reviews

What you need to do next is find which review type is commonly done by your customers. For example, local businesses that provide on-location types of services usually get reviewed on their Google My Business (GMB) page so most of these organisations focus their efforts on their GMB listings.

It is essential to know the top websites where consumers usually go to post their reviews. Here’s a list of the top 10 platforms according to data from Vendasta.Com.

Analytics of website reviews

Find out which websites your business gets reviewed the most. List down these sites for your reference which comes handy for the next step.

STEP III: Make use of available reviews

If your business has been around for quite a while, you are likely to have existing customer reviews on your social pages, listings or websites. If you haven’t yet, find out which websites your business already has customer reviews on. It’s time to attend to these reviews whether they’re negative or positive.

For positive reviews:

  • Express gratitude and appreciate the time given by the customer to make that review

  • Point customers to the best offers you have. They will appreciate it

  • Tell them that you will love to see them again

For negative reviews:

Negative reviews are scary but they’re not bad news. Negative comments create transparency among customers which are when building trust, credibility and reputation. 

Studies found that customers are more likely to trust brands when they see negative reviews compared to picture-perfect reviews which they found fishy and scammy. These types of reviews reveal blind spots that your organisation need to work on.

The best approach to negative reviews is to deal with them ASAP. Take the issue offline and resolve it with the customer. Take negative reviews seriously. Be polite on your online responses and acknowledge mistakes if there are any. Take accountability and resolve the issue. 

Encourage more positive reviews to overpower the negative feedback. This means building your own review acquisition and management strategies.

STEP IV: Cover your bases

First you want to take control of websites where people can leave reviews about your business. It’s essential to cover your basis. Claim your business pages on these major review websites and make sure you monitor them regularly.

Respond to existing reviews and understand how these sites work. You may need to assign someone to keep monitoring these review sites.

STEP V: Automate acquisition and monitoring strategies

While negative reviews are essential to transparency, they bring major damage when they go beyond limits. Reports cited that consumers are more likely to trust businesses with 4 out 5-ratings than those with perfect 5-star ratings but businesses with ratings below 4-stars have lower returns. 

No amount of reviews is too many and it’s essential to keep the right balance. That balance translates to at least 90% of positive reviews. You wanted to have instant access to customer reviews as soon as customers post them somewhere on the Web.

This is why we recommend you use an automation system like Podium for your review strategy. Podium automates everything in the process from collecting reviews to monitoring them up to responding to them. 

The benefits go two ways. Podium makes it easier for your customers to leave reviews and more convenient for you to collect and manage reviews from various websites using a single platform. 

Here's how Podium works:

  1. A review request is sent to the customer through text.
  2. The customer selects whether to accept the request or not. If they opt not to leave a review, they will be redirected to a comment box where their feedback isn't publicly recorded.
  3. The customer is then directed to a one touch log-in page where they can leave a review for the specific site e.g. Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. 
  4. An instant notification is sent to you when a new review is posted.
  5. You can respond to the review straight from Podium's dashboard.
  6. Podium lets you track the number of reviews and other valuable metrics. 

STEP VI: Establish the best time to ask for reviews. 

The only way to gather more reviews is to ask for them.

With Podium you make it easier for people to leave a review but you need to identify one ideal sweet spot -- the best time to ask for a review. 

The best times to request a review are:

  • When a customer praises your product

  • When a customer sends you a positive message on your social pages

  • When a customer purchases something and they tell the cashier they’re happy about it

  • Any situation where a customer shows appreciation of their purchase or the service made

STEP VII: Continuously nurture relationships

Keep tracking future reviews and make sure to attend to negative feedback accordingly. Follow guidelines of those specific websites.

Quick tip! You can post and brag with your positive reviews on your website to build more rapport towards online customers.

So to recap ...

  • Understand the importance of reviews
  • Find which review type is most common
  • Utilise ALL previous reviews
  • Ignore your reviews 
  • Manage reviews independently per platform
  • Ask for reviews at a bad time

David Holland

About the author

Nice bloke with practical ideas. Former Procter & Gamble, Kraft and IBM sales and marketing executive. Became a business owner 20 years ago. Started multiple businesses including EXELA which is the most successful Keap® & Infusionsoft™ reseller in the EMEA region.

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