If you have been trying to sell your products or services without reviews, you have been doing business the absolutely wrong way. A customer review is worth more than any sales copy you can write. Think of it this way: if you are trying to convince a potential customer to buy from you with all your catchy phrases, the person might think, “Well, yeah! What else would he say? It’s his product after all. He would not say anything bad about it.” A review coming from a person that has bought from you in the past, however, comes off as genuine.
There are numbers to back this up. Several sources, including BrightLocal, say that 87 per cent of consumers read online reviews before patronising a business for the first time, and up to 79 per cent of them trust these reviews as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from a family member or friend. A whopping 94 per cent of customers say that positive reviews help them in deciding to do business with a brand faster, while 92 per cent say that they are put off by negative reviews.
Once you understand this, you’ll understand that customer reviews should be a core part of your marketing strategy. In some cases, reviews and testimonials can be all the content you need to use in your marketing campaigns. Customers want to feel like they have an undiluted, first-hand report of another customer’s journey with you. This could be the determining factor in converting a customer or losing them to your competitors.
Take yourself for instance, when making a purchase online or offline, do you just buy blindly, or do you go online to see what others have to say about what you intend to buy? What others have to say about a product or service carries more weight than what the seller is saying.
Reviews are not just great for business. They should be prioritized
Getting reviews should be a part of the sales process; from orders to payments, deliveries, and then reviews. You have to fix getting reviews in somehow. If you have had customers in the past who never left you a review, this might be the time to go and ask them for reviews. Of course, you need to offer good products/services to get good reviews, therefore you should always take extra care with whatever you’re selling, even if you are a reseller because your business reputation is on the line.
There are several review platforms that you can use to get reviews online; Google My Business, your social media platforms, your websites, and industry-specific review sites. Did you know that improving your review star rating by 1.5 points could equal 13,000 more leads? That’s the power of positive reviews!
Why should you ask customers for reviews?
Typically, when customers have a bad experience, they are likely to instinctively drop a negative review or even “call you out” online. However, when they have had a good experience, they are more likely to drop a “thank you” and move on. If you do not make asking for reviews a ritual, you could find yourself stuck with several negative reviews even though they might be from a tiny 1 percent of your customers. Take a cue from those apps on your phone and how they ask, “Are you having a good experience so far? Take one minute to rate our app on Playstore.” They know that if they do not ask you, you can go on using the app until the day you run into a problem and then rush to the Playstore to drop a negative review.
Next up is how to ask for reviews. You can do it in several ways, over the phone or via SMS, thank you notes or thank you pages (that also request feedback on experience), email requests, a single line on your electronic invoices, or in person. It all starts with asking the customer what (s)he thinks about the product or service, and then requesting that they leave a review.
You can chip in statements like this when receiving feedback from your customers: “You know, if you could write what you just said in a review on [platform], that would be awesome. Comments like this really help prospective customers to feel more confident in choosing us.” Another approach is to include an offer or a bait, like asking them to leave you a review in exchange for a discount on their next purchase or a gift on their next order. In this way, you are ensuring that they put the positive word out there while guaranteeing their return because of your offer.
What do you do with negative reviews?
The first thing you should not do is delete them. It is all shades of wrong for you to delete a review or block customers because their reviews don’t favour you. Even if you delete them, a very offended customer can proceed to drop a review on a third-party platform like Google, where you have no reach or control. Have you noticed what the banks do with negative reviews on their social media handles? They apologise and ask the disgruntled customers to send details of their bad experiences to their DM for resolutions. This is the approach you should take.
Resolve the complaints amicably, and then get the customers to post updates that their issues have been resolved. When prospective customers see things like this, they are more confident that even if they run into an issue, you would be there to resolve it. Don’t delete negative reviews; address the problem.
How fake reviews can affect your brand
There are several review generators out there that will promise to generate reviews for your business. However, if you are looking to build a sustainable business brand over time, you should avoid them as they would hurt you in the long run.
Recently, tech giant Amazon filed a lawsuit against the administrators of more than 10,000 Facebook groups for coordinating cash or goods rewards for people that are willing to post bogus product reviews. Several reports have discovered organized efforts to spam the store with meaningless five-star reviews in exchange for products or cash. The tech giant has been suing people as far back as 2015, and several review brokers have been shut down.
There are regulatory bodies that are on the lookout for businesses and individuals using bogus reviews, and you could get slammed with a heavy penalty.
In the end, there is always a difference between an actual customer review and AI-generated reviews. The best approach is always to offer excellent services and products and then solicit reviews that would no doubt bring your next customers. Some very satisfied customers will even allow you to use their text and video reviews to run your campaigns!