As a business owner, customer reviews matter a lot. Giving customers what they need and want, and doing so in a way that delights them, ensures that you’re meeting customer needs and hopefully building loyalty for life. This is also a surefire way to making the revenue you want. And hearing from your customers, whether it’s positive or negative will help you in developing your product or service better. And the better your products and services, the happier your customers.
And, of course, customer reviews and testimonials are the perfect social proof that your products or services are the solution for others too!
Why Are Reviews Important?
- A good review can really help pique interest in your product or service as well as drive traffic to your website. On the other hand, a bad review at the wrong time can have terrible effects.
- They’re great for SEO, especially if you’re a new local startup. Having good reviews on popular sites like Yelp and Google gets you to land higher on search engine results when people are looking for you or your product and service.
- Consumers use reviews to do some self-guided research, relying heavily on the opinions and experiences of their peers while evaluating their options before making a purchase.
- People trust one another more than they trust companies. In fact, 90% of all consumers actually read online reviews before purchasing anything.
Ways to Ask Your Customers for Reviews
So how do you get reviews from customers without sounding annoying? Sometimes, consumers get inundated with surveys and get fed up. They don’t want to interact with a company and instead prefer a personal touch. Here are a few clever ways of getting reviews for your business.
Draft emails with good content and send them to your consumers, asking for feedback. Being proactive shows them that you’re interested in what they think and customers then feel valuable because they realize their opinion really matters. They tend to view this as a good initiative by the company to develop more products or to improve their services. If these customers are happy with your products and services, they will move from consumption to loyalty and eventually the advocacy stage. And if they’re not totally happy but they’re able to tell you how to improve (and you do!), they’re likely to stick around.
Be Specific About What You Want Them to Review
Is there a new product you’ve launched? Or do you want consumer’s insights on your business as a whole? Either way, reviews, and feedback forms can help you get the information you need. You would want to know if your customer has purchased your product from an eCommerce website like Amazon. How was their shopping experience? If they’re shopping on your website, are they dissatisfied with something? This helps both when you’re an established company or a new company.
Choose Your Channels Carefully
Now, this is the tricky part. There are multiple channels of communication and ways to ask for feedback and reviews, each of them having its pros and cons.
- Email – A classic method of getting reviews, this channel allows you to craft interesting and personalized messages. The downside to this is sometimes your content could be relegated to the spam folder and you may have to take special measures to avoid this.
If they receive your email, you can offer customers the opportunity to be in a drawing for a prize if they return their feedback by a specific day. Free stuff tends to encourage people to respond. Emails are also of two types. There are after-sales emails that ask customers’ views about specific products, and there are check-in emails that ask them how they’re doing, before proceeding on to getting a review about either a specific product or anything else. Know which one you want to use and be careful you don’t overdo it by asking for too much feedback.
- SMS Texts – This is a quick way to get reviews, however, your messages need to be short and you’ll need to include a link to a survey, rather than embed it directly into the text. This could annoy your customers, and they may not take your survey at all. However, giving customers a hint, like telling them to visit your website, where you have a nice landing page could be a way to get reviews.
- Social Media – This is where it gets interesting. 78% of American consumers discovered a product on Facebook (source) and 73% of America’s population uses Facebook daily. Facebook is the leader in terms of reach and reviews left on Facebook make a huge difference for your brand. Encourage your happy customers to leave favorable reviews on your Facebook page and respond to them to increase engagement.
- Website – If you sell products on your website, customers could leave reviews on purchases. If you want to get their reviews in a special way, maybe you could create a landing page and create a notice board with pins? An interesting design would grab their attention, while the board with the pins would give them a store walk-in feel.
Use Promotional Branded items
Using free merchandise can definitely help encourage people to give you feedback. Doing a giveaway of company-branded cups, stationery, or anything useful can be a great encouragement, especially for those who love your products. As an added bonus, they’ll see your logo, again and again, every time they use your giveaway
Use a Blog
If your business doesn’t have a blog, creating one on your website is incredibly easy and a good way to engage with customers. Blogs give you more space than an email or social media post will, and you can tell your customers how helpful their reviews are to your business. You can even give them step-by-step directions and highlight important points for the skimmers.
Target Satisfied Customers, but Address Bad Reviews Too
Ask for reviews and testimonials when the customer is happiest. Don’t ask customers who seem disgruntled with your product or services to leave public reviews, though it is beneficial to have conversations with them so you can correct any issues.
You may, from time to time, get negative comments and reviews from unhappy customers and it’s important that you don’t ignore these. However, do not ignore the bad reviews because they’ll pile up and you’ll be under fire for negligence. Even individual tailored responses are given by companies like Amazon on their website, or social media pages can cause issues for you down the road.
When you receive a poor review, don’t delete it or try to deny that something wasn’t satisfactory. Instead, address the issue head-on. The unhappy customer and prospective customers will appreciate the transparency and your willingness to correct the situation. Sometimes, asking the customers for feedback instead of reviews seems less intimidating, and they might be more comfortable sharing their opinions with you.
To conclude, always be open in your communication and ask for the feedback you need. Engaging positively with customers to find out their experience, even if they have had a bad experience with a particular product or service, could raise your company’s impression in their eyes. Good brand stories can only take you so far, but if you don’t engage with your customers, there’s no point. Read this article about how online reviews matter to eCommerce, to get an idea of how important reviews truly are for your business.