Generating good online reviews is good for business. They’re more than just a feather in your business cap. Great reviews are also a marketing tool as invaluable as Search Engine Optimisation, email marketing and Facebook ads.
- 90% of potential customers read online reviews before contacting a business.
- 92% of users will go to a local business if it has a rating of at least 4 stars.
- 72% say a positive review makes them trust a business more.
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends.
- A business with excellent reviews can expect customers to spend 31% more with them.
- 72% of customers only take action after reading a good review.
- 86% of people are wary of doing business with a company that has negative online reviews.
- A survey found that reliability (27%), expertise (21%) and professionalism (18%) are the most important traits in helping to generate a positive review.
You might think that the key to generating positive online reviews is to provide an excellent product or service, and back that up with impeccable customer service. Sounds simple, right? And while some customers will be proactive and write a good review unprompted, it’s widely accepted that consumers are more likely to take action and post a negative report if they’ve had a bad customer experience. It’s their way of venting and getting their frustration and anger off their chest. But if you’ve done everything right, the customer is more likely to bask in the warm glow of satisfaction and not share their pleasure with the world. So, you might have to take the initiative to get those good reviews online and in a place where the marketplace can read them.
Asking your customers for reviews is an obvious step, yet so few businesses do it. When you know that a customer is happy with the product or service you’ve provided them, simply ask them if they would mind submitting a review. To make it easy for them, ask “How was your experience buying this product or receiving this service?” When they reply positively, ask if they would mind posting that same feedback on your company website or a review site. Most customers will agree to do it, but you’ve got to do what many businesses don’t: ask them! You can offer a token of your appreciation, like a gift voucher or a discount for submitting a review, but it’s best to earn a good review without offering a reward. Some review websites filter out reviews that were posted because of incentives, while Google uses analytics to monitor review traffic. It’s best to keep that review as “clean and pure” as possible.
Another thing you can do is to reward employees for gathering reviews. While your employees will be aware of the need to provide a superb customer experience, you can take that one step further and teach them how to ask for customer reviews. Reward them for every posted review that they have initiated.
If you haven’t done so already, start looking at online reviews as marketing tools instead of kind words that boost esteem and massage egos. While the feel-good factor of a glowing review should always be celebrated, the business-boosting benefits of that review should also be embraced.