No matter how great your data-driven, predictive marketing algorithms are, they can always be trumped by one old-school type of brand information: customer reviews. If they’re great, they’re the best asset your brand has to gain the trust of new customers and retain old ones; if they’re terrible, they’re the hardest setback to overcome.
The data is in: over 80% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 90% read less than 10 reviews before they form their opinion about your brand. That’s a pretty tough crowd to please, and it’s pretty obvious why bad reviews are so detrimental. As long as the poor review is in your top 10, they’re driving away potential clients before you even get a chance to talk to them!
The only thing worse than bad reviews? No reviews. Where bad reviews tell leads what to be wary of, no reviews indicates that none of their peers have bothered with your brand at all.
Here’s how to make sure your customer reviews are in tip top shape, so you can see the leads start rolling in:
Provide Proactive Live Chat Support
There’s a reason you’ve seen those chat popups on other sites - in addition to helping drive up sales by avoiding abandoned carts, they’re also a great way to get customer reviews and feedback!
After each interaction, have your representative ask - in a human way, not as a robotic popup - if they could have a little feedback about the customer's experience, including what was good and what could be better. You’ll be much more likely to get an honest, in-the-moment response!
Reach Out Directly
If you want something, ask nicely - this life principle applies to customer reviews as much as it does any other part of life. But make no mistake, an email blast is not going to really cut it in 2017 - you’re going to have to be personal and genuine to get the results you want.
Personalize your outreach, and you’ll see a massive increase in responses. If you’re going with an email blast, make sure at least to have their name on it. Mention their last purchase (or something that’s in their shopping cart), and a few specific questions about their experience.
Acknowledge if they’ve had a bad experience recently. Accept responsibility and take care of their problem. Also, there are few mistakes that are worse than a brand sending out a satisfaction survey to a customer who has recently complained - especially if they haven’t heard back yet!
Engage on Social Media
You already know that social media is the best place to start conversations with users and learn what their interests are - but it’s also the best place to ask for reviews, and to have them be highly visible!
The best ways to ask for reviews are:
Post statuses with leading prompts that ask customers for feedback
Comment on pictures of your products and ask the customer what they thought publicly
Run mini-sweepstakes through social that offer coupons for answered questions
Post a dedicated feedback form that is pinned in a visible location on your profile
Engaging users on social media is as close as many brands get to engaging in “real life,” from the customer’s point of view. If your profile acts human - jokes, asks questions, comments on relevant events and listens - then your customers will treat it as human.
Respond to Blog Comments
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many brands fail to check their comments inbox for their blog and products on a regular basis. One of the best ways to control your brand is to respond directly to reviews and comments on content that your brand owns or is included in - and it will make your customers feel listened to.
Create blogs and articles that specifically request customer feedback on a regular basis, publish news about upcoming product releases and site changes, and remember - if they talk, make sure to listen!
When you’re looking for customer feedback, the most important step you can take is making it clear that a group of real, live people is paying attention.
Nobody wants to take the time to fill out a survey and then never hear anything back. Instead of paying for an agency to complete a focus group for you, just give your customers some real human attention!