18 Aug The Power of Customer Reviews & How You Can Capitalize on Them
Cultivating a steady stream of positive customer reviews is a surefire way to set your business apart from competitors. Many companies even gain an edge by incentivizing their customers to leave a positive review after service or orders have been completed. According to SearchEngineland.com, 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews, and most of those people believe positive reviews enough to make online purchase decisions based off that brief snippet of information. Here are some other things to keep in mind as you consider how to take advantage of positive customer reviews.
Benefits of positive reviews
Because customers have demonstrated trust in online reviews, they have a measurable impact on converting potential leads into sales. In fact, Unbounce.com reports that some surveys have shown that customer reviews boosted online conversions by as much 35 percent. “Nothing breeds trust quite the way an unfiltered customer review stream does, but that doesn’t mean you should just add a template review form to your site,” Unbounce.com’s Pratik Dholakiya advises. Companies still need to have more control than just opening an online forum for people to post whatever they’d like.
Angie’s List and Yelp still top the list for trusted Internet sites for customer reviews. These types of sites require some attention to drive customers to your business.
- Thank people for doing business with you by sending a gift basket or small gesture of gratitude. Similarly, if they leave a positive review, let them know you appreciate it.
- When customers take time to weigh in with their positive experiences, reach out to those people individually and see if they’ll authorize the use of their testimonial on your company’s website.
- Encourage customers to review your business online, but focus your efforts on one key site, like Yelp for food-related businesses or Angie’s List for service businesses.
- Have confidence in your customer service and the quality of your wares. Ask people to weigh in honestly, and use feedback as a way to make further improvements.
Addressing negative reviews
Negative reviews do happen from time to time, leaving businesses left with the task of deciding how they should be addressed. There are several options to mitigate the damage.
In an American Express OPEN Forum, small business owners listed contacting the review site as the first step toward dealing with an unreasonable reviewer. If you can make a case that a competitor is trying to damage your reputation, or if the venom of the review is outside the bounds of the review site’s policies, the site may assist by removing the post.
Chances are, however, the review stays—which leaves you with the option of firing back in a manner that gives you an equal voice. The online forum is ever changing, and comment threads provide opportunity to respond and add to the list of opinions. Many companies choose to respond on behalf of a manager or owner, leaving a positive message that encourages a reasonable resolution. While the customer may or may not respond or retract their statement, the demonstration of good customer service even in light of a bad review will demonstrate to other readers that your company cares.