With the advent of the Internet and the exponential growth of e-commerce, collecting customer reviews has increased. Earlier, most businesses only relied on personal interaction with customers to derive their feedback. However, today there are numerous ways for both the businesses to get customer reviews and the potential customers to view them.
According to a survey carried out by Fan & Fuel in 2016, 94% of the total online customers read customer reviews before making any buying decisions.
From this, it is pretty clear that customer reviews have a significant impact on its business. If you haven’t already started collecting customer reviews, read further to understand why you should begin doing so today.
Customer review collection can be done through different channels such as social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, websites, email newsletters, etc. The reason behind collecting these reviews is because they provide valuable information about your product/service, which helps you improve your marketing strategy. These reviews also help you identify areas where improvements could be made to make your service more effective. For example, if you see that some people had issues while using your website, you may want to address those concerns immediately.
There are many tools available for companies who wish to collect customer reviews. Some popular ones include Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Amazon, Facebook, Foursquare, Houzz, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Quora, Reddit, ShoutMeLoud, YouTube, Vimeo, and WordPress. Each one provides its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
It is possible to use multiple apps simultaneously but keep in mind that all reviews posted to one particular location appear under that specific listing.
WHY SHOULD YOU COLLECT CUSTOMER REVIEW
1) Understand Consumer Behaviour:
To ace the game of marketing, companies need to step into the customers’ shoes and understand their buying behaviour. As a marketer, you must analyze what factors are valuable to the customers to influence their purchasing decisions. This is where customer reviews can help you immensely.
When customers leave feedback for your customer service, products and services, you can understand how satisfied they are with your company. By considering the review as helpful input, you can improve your customer service by giving them what they want. This not only helps you read the minds of the customers but also builds your company’s credibility. The customers feel that you value their opinion, and thus, your relationship with them becomes stronger.
2) Customer reviews influence buying decisions of potential customers:
According to various studies, customer reviews play a significant role in impacting the customers’ buying decisions.
As per a survey conducted by Brightlocal, almost 88% of the total customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
Therefore, it is clear from the statistics that the customers value what other customers think about the products and services of your company and trust their opinion. It is for this reason positive customer reviews can boost your sales by gaining customer confidence.
3) Customer will give you honest feedback about your products and services:
You can trust your customers to give you honest feedback regarding your products and services more than anybody else. Some might hesitate to express their feelings face-to-face, but they are relatively unrestricted online. Therefore, they can truthfully inform you about what they liked and what did not work for them. You can find out what factors are essential for them and other customers in making purchasing decisions. Most customers also explain why they liked or did not like your company’s offering or customer service. These small yet essential details work wonders for companies, provided they use them to improve their products and services.
4) Improves online visibility of the company:
Today, it is almost necessary for every business to have an online presence. On top of that, it needs to rank high in terms of SEO to ensure good visibility. Here also, customer reviews can help you out. Customer reviews are, in fact, one of the most prominent ranking factors that online search engines use when determining your position in local search. This is because numerous customer reviews indicate that your company is a legitimate one. Moreover, the search engine ranking improves further if you get a high number of positive customer reviews. This builds customer trust and makes them keen to try out your products and services.
5) Save money on marketing:
Believe it or not, customer reviews can help you in saving your marketing costs. Positive product and service reviews automatically act as a marketing campaign. They can even provide much more benefits than a simple marketing campaign. Since the reviews come from real customers, they are much more authentic, and potential customers often trust them more. In addition, they create a positive brand image in the customers’ eyes and enhance brand awareness.
HOW CAN YOU GET CUSTOMER FEEDBACK?
There are several ways in which you can acquire customer feedback for your products and services. Some of them are:
1) Follow-up Email:
The most commonly used method to ask for customer feedback is via a follow-up email. For example, after the customer has purchased and received the delivery of the product, you can email them requesting their feedback on their overall shopping experience.
2) Incentives in exchange for feedback:
Not all your customers would be interested in giving you feedback, as customer surveys often take some of their valuable time. Therefore, many companies offer incentives like discount coupons, free stuff, etc., to encourage the customers to provide feedback.
3) Using social media channels:
Most of your customers are using some of the other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Since these platforms are important marketing tools, both the giants offer various features to take customer reviews. For instance, Facebook has a business review page. On Instagram, you can interact and invite customer feedback directly using the several options on Instagram Stories or by directly messaging your customers.
4) Using online search directories:
Getting listed on local online search directories is crucial for every local business owner. Websites such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Yahoo Local Business offer their members the opportunity to write reviews about the local businesses. These reviews are visible to anybody who searches for your company’s name online.
More and more people are trusting reviews available on Google before visiting any local store or restaurant. Google My Business allows users to create an account free of cost and post reviews directly from within the app itself. It requires no registration process, unlike other sites mentioned above. This makes it easier for newbies to start posting reviews without worrying about creating accounts elsewhere first. Additionally, Google My Business does not require any login credentials to access the site. All you need is your phone number and password. You can easily log in to the platform via mobile devices or desktop computers. You can also provide a direct link to your Google My Business page for customers to leave a review for ease of use.
That is why it is recommended to set up your account on these websites and encourage your customers to post reviews there.
5) Using Niche Review Sites:
Some sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, TrustPilot, etc., allow customers to rate and review businesses belonging to a particular industry only. While Google, Yelp, and Yahoo allow all local businesses to open accounts and get customer feedback, the niche review sites only apply to a particular industry. So depending on the industry you fall in, you can find a relevant website and get listed there.
6) Requesting Video Testimonials:
Another way to request feedback from your customers is by asking them to film video testimonials. For example, you can request them to record their views regarding their recent purchase and send them to you. You can later share them on social media, websites, and other platforms. As video marketing is rapidly growing, there is a higher chance that these videos might reach a larger audience, and thus, you might get in touch with a bigger audience.
7) Turn on Google alerts and social media mentions:
Whenever anybody mentions your company in their posts or blogs, Google alerts and social media mentions will inform you about the same. In addition, customers often pen down their experiences in the form of blogs or social media posts. By following what is being shared about your company and its products, you will remain aware of your company’s customers and public opinion.
HOW TO ADDRESS NEGATIVE CUSTOMER REVIEWS
It is always possible that some of your customers might not like your business offerings and express the same online. Negative reviews do have an impact on your sales and the reputation of the company. You must always acknowledge all kinds of feedback and work on addressing the issues of the disappointed customers. If handled correctly, negative reviews can give you more business than before instead of resulting in a loss of customers. Such reviews will help you in identifying where you are going wrong and correcting the same. Here are some tips that can help you in the same.
7 Tips for Handling Negative Customer Reviews
1) Respond swiftly to the aggrieved customer.
2) Do not create excuses.
3) Answer the negative reviewer politely and professionally.
4) Instead of copying and pasting the same response for every negative feedback, answer them individually using custom answers.
5) Do not take the negative comments personally. Instead, consider them to be constructive criticism that will, in turn, help you in improving your sales and business.
6) Thank the customers for their feedback and for appreciating their concerns.
7) Take the necessary action to solve the customer’s issue as soon as possible. Once done, inform your customer about the same and then ask them to remove the negative review.
It is also possible that people might be posting fake or misleading reviews about your business. Such reviews might come from your competitors or former employees. If you fear that to be the case, you can request the removal of these reviews by reporting the same to the appropriate person of the platform.
In short, customer reviews are essential to understand the psyche of your customers, their shopping behaviour and gain honest feedback about your company.
While positive reviews can get you more customers and build brand awareness, negative reviews can point out areas of improvement. Consequently, both help in growing and improving a business.
So, if you are not already encouraging your customers to give reviews, begin today!
If you’d like help with your reputation management, we can help. Contact us today.