According to one annual consumer review survey, 86% of customers (95% of millennials) read online business reviews. Even more significantly, 91% of millennials – now poised to enter their prime spending years – trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. So how can you leverage statistics like these to achieve greater success with your business? Based on prevailing research, here are 5 ways to get customer reviews and feedback that inspire confidence in potential buyers.
1. Get the Word Out
Customers will read an average of 10 online reviews before trusting a company.
Find out where your clients are spending their time online, then make sure your business is there, too. You might consider:
- Using Google My Business to improve your online presence and searchability,
- Registering and setting up accounts on popular sites like Facebook and Yelp,
- Starting a conversation on social media,
- Inviting customers to post comments on your website, and
- Taking advantage of your email contact list to conduct client surveys
Remember, the more channels you make available for customers to review your business, the easier it will be to gather and share valuable feedback.
2. Be Consistent
Steady feedback is critical – 40% of customers will only look at reviews from the previous two weeks.
It’s important to keep customer opinions rolling in on a regular basis. Research suggests that some of the best times to ask clients to review your business include:
- When they place a new order or engage in a follow-up service,
- After they refer an acquaintance, and
- Any time they search your website for new products or services
Rather than asking for a review directly, however, consider posing a question designed to start a conversation. You might ask how a customer is enjoying their new purchase, for example, or how they felt about their recent customer support interaction.
3. Encourage Participation
Only 41% of consumers over the age of 55 have written an online review.
Consider offering your customers an incentive for providing feedback about your product or service. Depending on your business model (if you sell products on Amazon, for example), you could start by leaving a glowing review for your customer first. Other common enticements include offering a reward – such as a coupon, gift card, discount, or contest entry – in exchange for your client’s review.
4. Respond Regularly
Responding to customer reviews is important – almost 90% of consumers say they read company replies.
Not only will taking note of customer comments help you improve what you sell and how you sell it, responding to points raised by clients shows them – and other potential buyers – that they’re essential to your company.
But as important as it is to thank clients for positive reviews, it’s equally if not more important to address negative feedback. Acknowledging your mistakes, and describing how you plan to do better, reminds customers that your company is run by real people – people who care enough to make things right.
5. Brag About Your Achievements
More than half of potential buyers will only consider working with a business if it’s earned “4 stars” or more.
If your business is already doing a bang-up job of delighting customers, make sure you let people know! Share your positive reviews by:
- Featuring them on your website,
- Highlighting them on your social media channels,
- Resharing them on your company’s Facebook page, or
- Making them more visible by marking them as “helpful” on third-party websites
The reality is that previous and existing customers have the power to be your company’s best marketers. What they say about your business carries a lot of weight – so it’s in your best interest to actively solicit, listen, and respond to their feedback.