Our digital world gives buyers a unique opportunity to compare alternative products, find and read recommendations and product reviews, compare prices, customer service and much more.
This makes it more critical than ever to be aware of and use this knowledge to your business advantage.
Research shows that 97% of buyers read product reviews and recommendations before they make a buying decision, and 89% of them consider reading reviews an essential part of the buying process.
Receiving positive reviews, especially on increasingly important channels such as social media and search engines, should therefore be an essential part of a small business' marketing efforts. So, how do you encourage positive reviews online?
In this blog, I'll provide a specific suggestion on how to set up your email marketing to facilitate positive reviews. But first, I will list a few points to remember when working to increase the number of positive reviews you receive.
1. Have a great product and/or great service
If you supply a great product and your customer service is good, it would take a lot to get a bad review. This is a good starting point.
Pro Tip: Do not ignore great post-sale service.
2. Make it easy for the customer to give you feedback
A dissatisfied client is often quicker to give you a bad review than a happy customer is to give you a positive review. Happy customers often just do not think about it. This is why it's important to encourage clients to leave a review, and make it easy for them to do so.
Pro Tip: Don't give too many options of channels to give feedback on and don't require people to log in anywhere to give a review.
3. Be prepared for negative feedback
Have you ever given positive or negative feedback to a company, and not gotten a reply? That's not a good look for a company.
Negative feedback is actually a great opportunity to show the human side of your business. By showing that you take feedback from customers seriously, and that you're willing to correct bad impressions of you, can sometimes work to your advantage. It can create trust in a brand and customer loyalty.
According to research, 85% of buyers actively look at negative reviews when making a decision to buy to see what could go wrong and how the business dealt with the problem.
Did you know: People are more inclined to buy your products or services when your average star rating is between 4.2-4.5 (out of five stars), as a perfect five-star rating often is perceived too good to be true.
4. Ask for an internal feedback before you actively ask for a review online
Ideally, you want to identify unhappy customers and improve their impression of your company before you ask them to leave a review online. It's therefore a good idea to know if the customer is happy or unhappy, before potentially asking him or her for an online review.
Happy customers can be asked to give a review on the channel of your choice. An internal follow-up procedure should be set to handle unhappy customers. By communicating with your unhappy customers, you get the opportunity to correct and improve, which might also lead to a new positive review on your great customer service.
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How to set up an automated review process
In order to save time and also make sure that you always ask, you can automate the process of asking customers for reviews. This way you also ensure that it's done correctly every time.
Step 1: Send an email to all customers asking for their feedback
Make it simple for customers to give this feedback in one click. Make it as easy as giving them the option of clicking "Thumbs Up" or "Thumbs Down" or clicking on a specific number of stars directly in the email. By allowing them to give you a rating directly in the email, and not on a separate webpage, you're likely to increase the amount of feedback you receive.
Pro Tip: Having a high feedback rate is something that you can use in your marketing material, and it will also increase the chances of getting positive reviews.
Step 2: Segment your customers based on their rating
Immediately encourage your happy customers to go to your Google page and/or your social media profiles to leave a review. Note that they most likely will only leave a review on one channel, so promote the channel that you prefer for receiving reviews.
Pro Tip: The channel you promote here should be the channel your majority of buyers would look to for reviews (so know your Buyer Personas).Unhappy customers should be given the opportunity to provide you with more information and to be followed up internally.
Step 3: Know who has given feedback and say 'Thanks'
The power of a "Thank you" is underestimated, regardless of the feedback being positive or negative. If the feedback is negative, you should make sure that you inform the unhappy customer of how their feedback will be handled internally and let them know when they can expect a reply.
Pro tip: To increase the amount of feedback received, one should follow up and again ask customers that do not open or click in the original email.
About the author
Ines Rosef-Ingram is the founder and CEO of Pine3 Marketing, and is the head of the company's CRM and Marketing Automation Services. She is motivated and inspired to help businesses grow and always goes that extra mile to help. She also drives her scooter to work in high heels, and she doesn’t eat onions.
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