According to Bright Local’s 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey, 92% of consumers now read online reviews. In Igniyte’s The Business of Reviews Report, 75% of businesses polled said that online reviews, comments and forum posts were important to their financial and reputational status. Almost two in ten (17%) said that online reviews have the power to make or break their company.
It is vital that your business attracts reviews. With this content, potential customers will be able to see that you are a trusted provider of products and services, helping you secure new business. Here we outline the key considerations when asking customers to leave reviews of your business online.
- Start offline: If you want customers to review your business, give them a reason to do so. Focus on providing quality products and services, as well as releasing innovative products and services, so your consumers have something to write about when leaving reviews.
- Focus on customer service: It is vital that you supply first-rate customer service. This will make customers feel valued, incentivising them to share their experience with others online. If you handle any negative reviews you receive effectively, you can take advantage of an opportunity to show that you are committed to providing excellent customer service, turning a negative into a positive promotional tool for your firm.
- Provide the means: A consumer will not review your business if they do not know where they can do so. Make a range of online review options available to your consumer base. Include links to these platforms on the footer of your website, your social media profiles and other digital assets, so they know where to go to review your firm.
- Embrace a variety of platforms: Bring in a mix of review sites, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google, so consumers can review your business where it is most convenient. It is especially important to attract and manage Google reviews, so you can ensure that the first page of a Google search for your name provides consumers with a positive perception of your firm.
- Actually ask: If you ask for reviews, consumer are more likely to give them. Encourage consumers to feedback on their experience with your company, both offline and online, to ensure you collect a steady stream of valuable customer testimonials.
- Make it easy: If a customer has to make a concerted effort to review your business, they may feel as though it is not worth the hassle. Make the review process as simple as possible for consumers, so they can fit this activity into their hectic schedules with ease. According to Ofcom, the UK is now a smartphone society, so provide consumers with mobile friendly review links across your digital assets so they can review your business on the go.
- Handle reviews properly: Make sure you reply to reviews, as ignoring them may make a customer feel as though you do not value their business. Always respond quickly and professionally, enhancing your reputation for providing great customer service. Ensure that a member of staff is monitoring and responding to all reviews and feedback. Provide your employees with appropriate customer services training, so they can communicate with reviewers appropriately online.
- Avoid bad practise: In 2015, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published an investigative report on review sites. The CMA found that some businesses are engaging in a number of review management bad practises, including paying for reviews. The CMA has cracked down on these issues, so it is vital that you are aware of these guidelines and focus on attracting consumer reviews organically.
Reach out to consumers
Online reviews demonstrate that your firm provides first-rate customer service and great products, enhancing your reputation online and helping you secure business. It is essential that you provide customers with the means and opportunity to review your business, so you can use their testimonies to develop a positive image online.