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Why Customer Reviews Are Good News For Your Business

by Julia Ngapo

Why you should be using customer reviews in marketing

Online shopping. Don’t you just love it? No crowds, no sore
feet and no closing time.   But when was the last time that you bought
something online without looking at the reviews first? Even if you are 99% sure
you’re going to make that purchase, don’t you read a couple of reviews just to
make sure? And what happens if those reviews go along the lines of “Don’t
touch this product with a barge pole”… “Total rip-off”, or
similar? Reviews have the power to make or break a purchase.

But, when it comes to reviews and testimonials for your
business, are you quick to request feedback and what about using customer
reviews in marketing?   Are you
leveraging this powerful tool to its best advantage?

Around 91% of people read online reviews and use them in their buying decision. If your audience can see reviews of your products or services, they are drawn to “follow the crowd” – that’s just how we, as humans, are programmed to act. So, it stands to reason, that the more great reviews you have, the more social proof that will draw people to you. But, once you’ve got your customer’s (hopefully) kind words, how can you use them to your best advantage?  Here’s 5 tips to using customer reviews in your marketing

1. Be bold!

As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get and it’s all too easy to forget to ask a customer for some feedback.  Build a request for feedback into your sales procedure.  Either include a form with their invoice, or include a link to an online review form (like Google forms for instance) in your email footer. Leave cards requesting feedback on your shop counter, or on Restaurant tables or put a request with links to review sites on the back of an appointment card and remind customers that you really appreciate (and act on) feedback through social media and emails.

Once you
have some feedback, proudly display it on your website, in your email footers
and make sure it’s prominent.  You really
need to shout it from the rooftops! If you’re displaying reviews on your
website, then create a custom page for them.
Apart from making you feel all warm and fuzzy, reviews help answer
visitor’s questions about your goods or services and go a long way to building
the “Know, Like and Trust” of a successful buyer/seller relationship.

Use one of the free graphics programmes available. We use Canva.com to create a branded template and slot your testimonials in as and when they arrive.  You can then post these on social media.

2. Be responsive

When someone takes the time to leave you a review, be timely in responding.  A simple thank you goes a long way, demonstrates that you monitor your social media or website and that you care about the customer – and isn’t that the customer experience we all want?

3. Spin the negative

Anyone who has heard me talk about this, or who has undertaken social media training with me will have heard the story of when my husband and I owned a café in New Zealand and a woman once complained that her coffee was “too wet”! It can be soul destroying to receive a negative review when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a project. What’s really imperative though, is that you respond quickly and ask the complainant to contact you directly to discuss the problem. Demonstrate that you are willing to do all you can to rectify the problem.  A good phrase to use is, “How can we put this right?” This allows the reviewer to feel that their complaint has been heard and is being acknowledged.  Others that come across the negative feedback on your site, will note how you dealt with it and the strange thing is, the review then becomes more about how you dealt with it positively, rather than the issue itself!

4. Make it easy for your customer

How many
times have you been asked to provide some feedback and then felt burdened by
page upon page of “on a scale of 1 to 5…” type questions?
Make any review process short and sweet.
If you’re using a printed or online feedback form, tailor the questions
so that you can use the information provided.
For example, instead of an open-ended question such as, “How did you
find our range of services?” prompting a likely single-word answer, craft the
question  to encourage a full sentence
answer, which you can then use as a quote (subject to the reviewer’s
permission, of course)

Why not
consider creating a poll on social media to find out what your audience
think?  Questions trigger the human
reflex of instinctive elaboration.  This
forcesus to stop and start formulating an answer.  We all just love to give our two penn’orth!

5. Create brand ambassadors

Make using
customer reviews in marketing easy – get your customers to do the work!  Ask them to tag or mention your brand in
their social media posts.  Give them an
incentive to follow the link you provide to your Facebook reviews page, “Leave
us a review and be entered into our monthly draw…” Create a custom hashtag that
they can use in a Twitter or Instagram post.
If you treat your customer right, they will come back for more!

In summary

We all think
our business is great (at least we should do!) but you can shout it from the
rooftops until you’re blue in the face.
The proof of the pudding, so to speak, is in the hands of your
customers.  When they give you feedback
it’s in their own, distinct voice – it’s authentic, it’s real and your audience
will pick up on that. Using customer reviews in marketing gives you the
opportunity to showcase your goods and services, sure,  but also to demonstrate your authenticity as
a brand; to show that you value your customers and their opinions and that you
are taking these into account and constantly evolving.

Your business is great – now prove it!

Virtual Marketing and Social Media Manager
Julia has almost 30 years of marketing experience and, together with her small team, is passionate about providing social media managementsocial media training and marketing support to small businesses.

Juiia Ngapo