In the modern age, most businesses have an online platform where people can access information about their products and services, and most customers are now able to share information related to their experiences about any goods or services they've paid for via those same platforms. With this new trend, new customers visiting the website can be won and lost by customer feedback.
Almost 9 out of 10 customers have looked at reviews in the last 12 months in order to help them make a decision about a business, product or service, concludes BrightLocal's 2014 consumer review survey. Reviews can make or break your business.
Aside from increasing sales, reviews can also provide credibility and build trust between the business owner and potential customers. It also helps your products' search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, as reviews are indexed and used in search results. Considering the high level of impact that reviews can make on your business, deliberate actions must be taken to ensure that you use this option to your advantage.
Here are some tips to help you make customer reviews work to your advantage.
1. Consistently respond to your reviewers
It's a good idea to respond to all of your reviews. Monitor your reviews and respond to each of them, whether it's a negative or positive review. If you've received positive feedback, always thank the customer. If the review is negative, acknowledge the grievances, even when you think they're not warranted, and encourage them to contact you directly so that you can discuss the issue and clear up any missteps. Companies like Malman Law in Chicago, IL, do exactly that: "We take pride in providing compassionate and personal attention to each one of our clients and we aren't satisfied until our clients get what they deserve."
2. Avoid knee-jerk reactions
Oftentimes when we receive online criticism, it can feel like a kick to the gut. We may be tempted to lose our temper if we've received unreasonably low ratings and negative reviews, but be calm, don't let your emotions get in the way. Instead, write a polite and patient response. Remember that nobody's perfect. What matters is how you respond to the complaint or negative review.
3. Respond professionally
Respond to all of your reviews in a professional manner. Reviews and responses go a long way towards providing a quick assessment of your company. Keep it professional, avoid the use of vulgar words and offensive remarks. Don't use generic templates, be flexible in your responses. Take time to write responses that are thoughtful, personal and, above all, human.
4. Keep it easy
Make it as easy and straight-forward as possible for customers to review your products or services. CEO of Phoenix Scottsdale Golf, Anthony Trapani, regularly solicits feedback from customers in order to provide better customer service. You can gather this feedback from customers by emailing them post-purchase and asking them to leave a review, or comment on their recent purchase.
5. Manage the situation
The reason why we want our products reviewed is because we want to improve on the service we provide, whilst also increasing traffic to our sites. With this in mind, the most effective responses to online reviews are the ones that address the cause of the reviewer's dissatisfaction. This will give new visitors assurance that if they encounter any issue, they can get it solved. Write simple phrases to show that you're working on the issue raised, ask the customer to give you a second chance. When a situation is effectively managed, customers are likely to post more positive reviews.
Main image via Shutterstock