Turns out 6 out of 10 customers look for Google reviews before buying a product or availing a service. Those little gold stars that pop up near your product or business name across review websites can make or break your business. If you have not managed to get at least 4 stars and above, you are more likely to lose business to competition.
Customer reviews are the new word of mouth marketing. They are the best publicity your business can get in the digital era. But, you cannot buy customer reviews. Perhaps, the best you can do is to collect them.
Here are some hacks that will help you collect more reviews for your product or business and in the process acquire more customers also.
How to get more product or business reviews?
The more your business grows, the more customers you have to care for. All those customers you have managed to satisfy can help you acquire new customers. No, that was not any random statement. Spiegel Research Center’s 2017 research on How Online Reviews Influence Sales found that nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase.
Ask for it
BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey found a good news. 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked.
But, don’t expect customers to voluntarily give you reviews. They may not even remember about it. Unless your business has given a terrific customer experience that they are willing to go and out and spread the good news to their near and dear. In other cases, you have to explicitly ask for customer reviews.
You can ask for customer reviews through various channels. The most common ones being phone calls, text message, handwritten cards, direct personal requests, etc. If you are an online business, you can use tools like pop-ups and push notifications to request for customers at the checkout page. In either case, asking for customer reviews is the straight-forward to getting more customer reviews.
Make it easy to leave reviews
The same BrightLocal survey that we cited above also found that almost one-fourth of customers have never been asked for customer reviews. So, if you make it easy for them to leave reviews, your business is bound to get a truckload of reviews (70% at least).
You can make it easy for customers to leave reviews by placing clickable star buttons. Also consider leaving text columns where they can write long-form reviews about the product, their experience of using it in the long-term and so on. Another smart way to collect reviews is to let prospective customers interact with each other through user-generated questions.
Amazon does it perfectly user-created questions to customers who have already bought the product.
Reward for reviews
There are simple reasons why customers are not leaving reviews for your products/business without being asked. First, it takes time and effort. Two, it does not make a difference to them. What if you can create a win-win situation by incentivizing the habit of reviewing?
Think giving loyalty points, promo codes or special discounts for every review that give after a successful purchase. The loyalty points or some similar gain will give them a reason to take the time and effort to leave reviews.
Display social proof
All the reviews that you collect are not to be stashed away in your databases. They are meant to be showcased to the world at large. So that customers who see the reviews would buy more and with the aid of rewards for reviews would also volunteer to give their reviews.
You can display social proof of your customer reviews on your website, as a summary of star ratings in the product page, as a special icon/logo on the home page and so on. If your business has managed to win any coveted five-star review from top reviews and rating websites, then leverage that as a trophy item to be displayed.
You can also use the trust seals or trust badges that SSL certificate providers offer to show that your website is an authentic one. This will help thwart the damage that duplicate or fake websites could be causing to your business and increase confidence in the website, which helps to add a more positive point in the user’s assessment for business.
Automated email follow-ups
Retarget buying customers with emails to leave a star rating or written review. Even if you make it easy for customers to leave reviews easily, chances are that they will postpone the exercise or forget it altogether. In either case, following up with an email specifically asking for a review will increase the chances of getting one. Ensure that the mail redirects the customers straight to the page where they can post the review without any interruption.
Treat all reviews equally
Good, bad and the ugly – all reviews are reviews. It would be tempting to show bias towards positive reviews. But, it is a wrong move which can backfire. The fact is, customers who left negative reviews have more power to spread the news about your brand than the rest. So make sure you treat all reviews equally. Also, if you go through the negative reviews as well, you can spot areas where your business needs improvement.
For every negative review, follow up the customer personally and ask how you can make corrections. Request for feedback that might salvage the negative experience they had. If it was something trivial that they were unhappy with, make it right with an invite to use your product/service again after fixing those issues. If possible, give it for free or at a concessional rate.
To sum it up
Good customer reviews can give a boost to your business. It will instill confidence in prospective customers who are skeptical about buying your products. But, collecting reviews from existing customers is not as easy as it seems. It is a sensitive task which if executed poorly can lead to mishaps. You can manage to collect as many as reviews you want by asking for it directly, making it easy for them to leave reviews, incentivizing the review process, displaying social proof as well as giving all reviews equal attention.
If you know of any more ways to collect customers reviews, please feel free to share the knowledge.