These days, before (and sometimes after) people buy something, they want to know what others were saying about that product or service on the internet. Just go to Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, NewEggs.com, etc. and you will see the online reviews customers have posted for each product. Customers even bring their discussions onto social media to express their “feelings” about certain experiences they encountered with products and services. And, as customers value the “experience” more and more, they will voice their satisfaction as well as their complaints online. This makes online reviews the most critical factor for gaining the trust of your new customers.
While many business owners have yet to believe in or fully leverage the power of online reviews, research has shown that 92% of customers actually read online reviews to determine their level of trust for that business, service or product. Other research has confirmed that younger customers are more likely to use online reviews as one of the key factors in their purchasing decision. This implies that if a business does not establish good online reviews, they will be less attractive to customers compared to competitors who do.
Your business website is often the first and only thing customers know about you. Feedback from online reviews provides customers a different perspective to consider, lending greater validity and comfort in their final decision. Thus, if you establish good online reviews on channels such as Google Review, Better Business Bureau Review, Yelp Review, etc., you can use them as references to gain credibility. In fact, no matter how professionally you portray your business on your website, most customers care and trust more of what others (their peers) say about you and your business.
At ProWeb365, every so often business owners ask us to help remove bad reviews (about them) from the internet. They say those reviews were posted by some of their hot-head customers, but if that type of review comes in consistently, you don’t have a hot-head customer problem, you have a business problem. You need to take a step back to review your products, services and business to see which changes will improve your sales and your reputation.
Before online reviews became the norm, businesses rarely received direct feedback from customers. But now we do, and we can use those opinions and observations to favorably adjust our businesses. You should take advantage of it and strive to provide the type of good experience that your customers will never forget. If you do that well, your customers will spread the good word about your business for FREE.
You can even take a bold step by reallocating a good portion of your advertising money toward programs that will delight your customers or create a fun memory that they will never forget. One great example of this is Red Bull. It hosts Red Bull sporting events across the world that give its audience something to remember (for a long time) and talk about on social media and websites. In this digital age, online social sharing is the most effective “words of mouse.”
However, you don’t need to go to that extreme to get good results. Just find and focus on small things that make a great and lasting impression on your customers. For example, if your business is automobile services, when customers bring in their vehicle for an oil change, tell them that you will do a tire rotation for free every time. Or, for windshield wiper blade replacement, you will top off their windshield fluid at no charge. Small things like these may cost you five minutes or $1 but they will remember you. Even if you are already doing some of these things, make sure you let them know. Why? Because not many places go to that extent to make their customers feel special. Remember the popular saying “Givers Gain.”
And hey, when your customers tell you they are very pleased with your overall service, ask them to give you a Google review when they get back to their computer. Remember to ask for their email address and email them (right away) the step-by-step instructions on how to give a Google review for you (here’s an example of how we created our own page). Don’t make them figure it all out on their own because that would significantly lower your chances of getting their review.
Furthermore, to improve your overall online reviews, here are 3 steps you should do:
- Review current bad review(s) and adjust your business and/or products accordingly. If possible, reach out to your upset customers to find remedies and get the bad reviews removed as much as you can.
- Make sure your team members value Great Customer Service as you do and are willing to integrate it into their daily interactions.
- Ask happy customers to give you online reviews. Many businesses forget or are reluctant about asking their customers for online reviews. If you are proud of your excellent customer service, there is nothing to shy about. After the customers give you a review, remember to send a thank you message to each of them via email, telephone call or thank you note. Hand written is best because it shows you really appreciate their input and you do take your customer service seriously.
As our technology continues to improve, there is an inevitable cycle that follows. Opinions of our products and services that meet customers’ expectations will increase and then become average again because, eventually, almost every provider can deliver those results. To cope with this cycle, the providers that set themselves apart are those who are willing to create a “great experience” that is hard for customers to forget, in addition to their standard product and service offerings.
In conclusion, remember that customers will share their experience with others on the internet. Online reviews are now the most valued and trusted factor for customers who are making a purchasing decision. If you want to increase the chances of new customers choosing you, pay close attention to your online reviews. I hope you find this article helpful. If you do, please share it with others who you believe will benefit from reading it as well. Thank you very much!