If you’re a small business you’ve probably come across the term ‘omnichannel’ whilst building your business strategy. Even if you haven’t, you’re likely already implementing it.
Of the many factors people use to evaluate your business and its offerings, reviews are one of the most influential.
But before you start trying to use customer reviews to build trust in your company, make sure you’ve done everything else you can to convey your legitimacy to your target audience. For starters, keep your ‘About’ page up-to-date, in-depth and relevant (with just the right dash of personality) so you know that new customers researching your company have access to all the information you want them to know.
Once you know you’ve done everything you can to build trust, it’s time to let your customers do the talking.
Why are customer reviews so important?
We’ve all heard that word of mouth is the best form of marketing there is. Existing customers can be much more effective at selling your products than you are: a company is obviously going to say its product is great, but a customer doesn’t have to – so it means a lot more coming from them.
This is especially true on marketplace sites like Amazon, where it is likely that customer reviews will make up the bulk of all content available to potential buyers. Amazon is very strict when it comes to its review section, so customers can be confident that what they are reading is genuine and impartial.
Reviews have another vital role to play on Amazon; getting you into the lucrative ‘Buy Box’. Amazon’s algorithm takes customer reviews into account, meaning if you want access to the tool that generates 82% of all sales on Amazon, collecting as much positive feedback as possible is essential.
Are you offering the best customer experience?
The best way to get more customer reviews is to ensure you’re providing the quality of product and level of service that people feel compelled to talk about.
You can start improving your offering by checking what you aren’t doing as well as you could be. Here, your negative reviews are a goldmine. They may not be pleasant to receive, but they can tell you a lot. See if there are recurring themes that appear in negative reviews; they may not necessarily be your fault, but there are likely to be some takeaways as to how to improve your service.
Prompt customers to leave a review
While some customers will be compelled to leave a review, there are plenty of customers who are happy to leave one, but just haven’t, or won’t, get round to it. These customers need a bit of a nudge. Following up post-purchase with an email not only shows that you care about their experience, it also serves to remind the customer to review the product. Include a link to the review page or form in the email and it will be almost effortless for your customers to leave some feedback.
Incentivise customers to give feedback – the right way
You could provide some kind of incentive for customers to review your products, but bear in mind there are some ethical considerations to take into account here. You obviously can’t offer a financial incentive to leave a review, but one popular tactic is to enter those who leave a review into a competition to win a gift certificate or other prize.
However, this may be unnecessary. Research has found that 90% of customers say they write reviews to help other people make better decisions, while 70% do so to help companies improve the products they offer. Rather than trying to incentivise your customers, simply appeal to their altruism.
Act now to enjoy the benefits of positive customer reviews in 2018
Getting everything in place to ensure a good portion of your customers leave reviews will continue to help you once the busy Christmas period has come and gone. You can collect a lot of additional reviews and feedback over the festive period, which will serve to improve your image and credibility in the New Year, helping you win new customers over the coming months.