It’s no secret that reviews are taking over the shopping world. More people are leaving reviews and even more are reading them and taking them to heart.
So how do you ensure that you are steering the review ship instead of letting it take you wherever it wants?
Whether it be reviews on Google, Facebook, or elsewhere, there are things you can do to control how reviews reflect your business or brand.
#1. Be Awesome.
This might be obvious, but one of the best ways to control customer reviews is to give customers a reason to leave you a great review. Today is all about the customer experience. So give customers a great experience and they will give you a great review. Even if the customer seems to have crazy demands ( you know what I’m talking about), acknowledge them and do your best to give them a great experience even if you can’t give them exactly what they want.
#2. Be Responsive. Even when it’s hard.
I am a big review reader and am always impressed by companies that respond to reviews. A response from the business owner is starting to become an expectation for many consumers. In fact, Review Tracker found that over 53% of consumers expect a response within 7 days.
I’m especially impressed when businesses respond to negative reviews. That’s not always easy to do. Maybe you are fortunate enough to never have had a negative review. I hate to break it to you but it will probably happen to you. Even if you offer a stellar customer experience and sell amazing products, you can’t please everyone. Actually, 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores. (That doesn’t mean you should try to get them though).
I recently went on vacation and came across the following review when looking for local tourist attractions. This review was originally lower based on something that was out of the owner’s control.
While the museum could be amazing and the owner could do everything right, they could not control the traffic.
More importantly, notice that the reviewer didn’t even get to go to the museum but changed his review to 5 stars just because the owner responded.
This is not a unique case.
Many times, customers just want their frustrations acknowledged. They want to be heard. So tell them that you hear them and see what you can do to improve their experience with you. Inc.com quotes that up to 70% of those who leave negative reviews will do business with your company again if the complaint is resolved.
As Forbes put it,
“If you run a small business, it’s time to embrace online review sites and use them to your advantage. Word of mouth happens online now, and small businesses finally get to add their voices to the conversation. Better yet, leaning into the world of online reviews might be the only marketing plan a small business needs these days.”
It’s important to realize that you are being put to the test. You will be much more likely to succeed when you put on display your care for your customers. When others read the conversations and interactions you have online, they will make a judgment call to see if they want to shop with you. When polled, 88% of consumers say reviews influence their purchase decision. Give them a reason to choose you.
#3. Be Aware.
In order to use the great tool of response when it comes to reviews, you need to know about them. If you register your business on review sites and update information such as your website address, you will likely receive notifications when you get a new review. But if you don’t, make it a part of your daily routine to check reviews. Or assign an employee to look out for them and make you aware. Of course, there are companies that will do this for you as well.
#4. Be Relevant.
Be relevant. 63% of consumers are more likely to buy from a site with current product ratings (iPerceptions). On another poll, 44% say a review must be written within one month to be relevant.
While hundreds of great reviews are important, they are not as effective if they are from 2 years ago. Things change. There are probably new employees, new products, a different quality of product, a different experience altogether. To assure customers that you are still as great (or even greater) as you were 2 years ago, you need to keep reviews up-to-date.
Don’t be afraid of online reviews. Embrace them and see them as an opportunity to market your business and demonstrate why consumers should shop with you.
“If you run a small business, the very best thing you can do to attract more customers is to maintain a high star-rating on the most popular review sites.” (Forbes)
Take charge of your online reviews and you’ll see an increase in traffic and sales.
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Also published on Medium.