Whether you sell products or services, customer ratings are extremely important - and arguably more so than ever in the modern, connected era.
Reviews and ratings are the first things people will go searching for in the consideration phase Bad reviews, or even few reviews, can have a negative impact, while lots of amazing reviews will obviously boost your response rates.
So, how do you get more customer ratings - or better yet, more great customer ratings?
In this post, I'll outline four key tips that will help you improve your customer ratings.
The Importance of Reviews
But first off, let's just reiterate why reviews are so important, particularly in the modern age.
With people now always connected, and able to check their mobile devices at any time, they're able to research your business and products at any stage, informing their decision on whether or not to make a purchase. And consumers now have more options than ever to share their thoughts - they can post on Facebook, Twitter, they can submit reviews on Yelp or on Google directly. All of these responses are digitally recorded, and can be shown to future potential customers when they go searching.
Overwhelmingly bad ratings will send potential shoppers to your competition, while as noted, having only a few ratings can make you seem too “green” or inexperienced by comparison to your competition.
This is why you need reviews, and a process in place to elicit feedback. So how can you increase your number of online reviews, and generate better ones to boot?
1. Conduct a customer experience audit
Customer experience has become increasingly important in recent years. Services like Amazon, for example, have built streamlined, effective recommendation and purchases processes which include personalization, fast deliveries, and a general ease of use that makes people come back to them time and time again.
One of the main things that many of the biggest companies in the world have in common is great customer experience. In many instances, it won't even matter if you sell an amazing product – if it takes potential customers too long to figure out your website and place an order, they'll go elsewhere, and that might not only be a lost sale, but also a bad review.
In the same vein, if you send customers your product days late, or it comes at a different (and bad) time than initially scheduled, you’ll almost surely get a lower rating. Whether you only sell online, or you have a brick-and-mortar store, you still need to prioritize the customer experience, every time.
The better your service is, the more likely that customers will actually want to leave a review and, plus, buy from you again.
The best way to find out how good, or bad, your customer process is is to conduct an audit of the full customer experience - from the research phase to delivery and to post-delivery.
There are several ways to research your own customer experience:
- Ask your existing customers directly - Use a tool like SurveyMonkey to query your customers and ask for their feedback on their experience. This can demonstrate that you value their feedback, and care about their opinions, while also giving you powerful insights.
- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes - Go through the entire purchase process yourself, as you would if you were a potential customer. Google your business to see where you can find information, and what information is available about your business. Check to see what reviews you can find. Research products on your website and order something. This can be an important, and valuable learning lesson, and should not be overlooked.
- Check the steps - Make a list of all the touchpoints that can impact the customer experience and check each one (pre-purchase, during purchasing, and after purchasing). These may seem obvious, but few marketers actually take the time to see things from the customer's perspective, which can be a key starting point in your improvement.
2. Invest in your services to improve the customer experience
It's worth also considering that, on social platforms in particular, people tend to want to share the more extreme experiences – both amazing experiences and downright annoying ones.
They’ll complain or praise you in posts, they’ll tell their friends and family, and of course, they’ll leave reviews on Google, on your website, and on different review platforms.
Given this, it's worth considering how you can make your customer experience stand out, and investing in such improvements where possible.
Doing so will effectively encourage sharing and discussion - maintaining your core standards of service is key, but delivering experiences geared towards sharing can also be hugely beneficial.
3. Improve your delivery system
Delivery time, and other extra options, can also make a huge difference to your customer experience, and your overall ratings.
And really, everyone's now competing with Amazon on this front - Amazon has revolutionized delivery systems time and time again, and will continue to do so (with options like the ultrafast Prime Air delivery).
Advanced delivery systems like Bringg can enable you to better compete with Amazon, because it’s no longer just about speed, but also about being able to pick a preferred time of delivery, and to track your delivery easily, among others.
You likely can't be as good as Amazon on this front, but it's another key part of the customer experience to keep in mind.
4. Improve your customer service options
Yet another hugely important aspect of the customer experience is the customer service you offer. I would go so far as to say that amazing customer service can even change customers’ perception of your business completely – and it definitely has a huge impact on your ratings.
For example, I recently tried a product for the first time that I thought was great. And yet, I returned it after a few days because I had an issue with it, and I lost so much time trying to get an answer via customer service that I just didn’t want to deal with them any longer. Really, the product no longer mattered at that point.
Take the time to evaluate your customer service, and make a list of all the customer service options you’re currently offering; for example:
- In person
- Via email or phone
- Via a live chat tool
- Via social media
Basically, you should be looking to offer customer service options on every platform your audience uses to interact with you directly in any way.
In short, you need to give your customers enough options to reach you for customer service, and be speedy and polite. These are the most important factors to great customer service.
Customer experience is crucially important when it comes to perception of your business. An amazing experience inspire customers to not only leave positive reviews, but it will also incentivize them to keep buying from you. A bad experience, on the other hand, will likely make them want to complain about you online, and to their friends and family, both via reviews and via digital platforms like their social media accounts.
Take the time to evaluate your current customer experience and to find ways to improve it – there’s always something you can do to enhance your process.