Today’s consumers are indisputably driven by digital. Online reviews impact an estimated 67.7% of purchasing decisions, and 84% of people now trust online reviews as much as their friends’ opinion.
With the power of the internet at virtually every consumer’s fingertips, your online presence is as much a benchmark as it is a promotional tool. Even for those with physical stores, ubiquitous smartphone ownership makes it easy for consumers to find online reviews just seconds after they see a business in person. This convenience that has lead a staggering 90% of consumers now reading online reviews before visiting a business.
Getting reviews for your business and managing them can seem a daunting task, but with these four simple steps, you can start boosting your business in no time.
Step 1: Encourage online reviews
First things first, you’ll need to build a decent number of online reviews. The more reviews you can get, the better: a high number creates the impression of popularity and helps to assure potential customers that the opinions that they’re reading are consistent.
Getting them is a relatively simple matter; so long as you’re willing to ask, 70% of consumers will leave you a review. If you have the customer’s email address, following up a visit or purchase with an email containing links to relevant review sites is a simple way to make your customers aware that you’re actively seeking reviews. It also requires minimal effort to complete, always an important consideration when you’re asking your customers to do something. If you don’t have the customer’s email address, a business card with the address of relevant sites also works, but requires more effort on the customer’s part.
Step 2: Put that positivity to work
Once you’ve got some reviews under your belt, it’s time to help them go that little bit further. The most obvious way to do this is to find a way to include them on your site - if they’re not already visible on your Google My Business account or business Facebook page.
You can achieve this by integrating the review site, such as Feefo or TrustPilot, into your own. If they don’t offer that feature, embedding them as testimonials on your homepage or in a blog is also a solid option.
If you get a glowing review, sharing it on social media is a great way to let the world know what a brilliant job you’re doing. You’d be surprised at how valuable this can be in both retaining customers and generating leads. The one thing you’ll need to be careful of is not to post too much: one review a week is plenty to get the message across without seemingly too self-congratulatory.
Step 3: Addressing negative feedback
If you truly want to make the most of customer reviews, you can’t just listen to praise. Showing that you can directly address criticism is vital: how a local business responds to reviews is a key factor in how 30% of consumers perceive them. When you’re at fault, honesty and even compensation are usually the best route to take, and will help to assuage any reservations potential customers have about their own experience.
When responding to negative comments, it’s important to maintain a polite, informative and helpful tone, even when the customer in question is being rude or unfair. There are many, many, many examples of how badly things can go when you let things get personal, so keep it calm and professional at all times.
Step 4: Keep it up!
The nature of reviews means that making the most of them is a truly continuous effort. Reviews from the last month tend to have a heavier weighting in a potential customer’s mind than older entries. And, as mentioned, the more reviews you have, the more customers tend to trust the opinions that are expressed in them!