Do you deliver a high-quality product or service and struggle to get customer reviews or testimonials? Gathering and displaying social proof is critical to a valuable online presence. Online reviews help you gauge customer satisfaction and help customers find and trust your company.
Here are some statistics about the value customers place on reviews:
We included these statistics to hammer home the point that reviews matter. You need to have a clear plan for how your team will gather, respond to, and use reviews to benefit your brand.
Before we talk about how to gather reviews, let's talk about the different places customers can leave their feedback. Popular review sites that collect reviews for a variety of industries are Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Amazon. There are also a large number of industry-specific websites that collect reviews like TripAdvisor, VRBO, AngiesList, G2, Apple's App Store, etc.
When you're crafting your online review strategy, it's important to search for websites that are already collecting feedback from customers about your business and relevant sites that you want to be listed on. For many of these websites, Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc., there is a process for you to claim your listing. Claiming your listing will allow you to update your profile information, respond to reviews, and more.
Creating a dedicated webpage for customers to leave positive or negative feedback makes it as easy as possible for your customers to share their thoughts. Making it easy for customers to share their thoughts might scare you, but it's best to know what your customers think of your business at all times. It helps your team sniff out small issues before they become big problems.
Your Customer Feedback page should be easy to share, so make sure the URL is simple, such as example.com/leave-a-review. A short and simple URL makes it easy for your team to share it online or in physical marketing materials. It also makes it easy for customers to understand what lies behind the link.
Last but not least, the content of the page. You’ll want to keep it simple, as you only want the customer to do one thing: leave a review. You can feature a form that collects reviews directly or you can point people to websites where you would like them to leave a review.
External review platforms are very important, as these are indexed in Google. People who search for reviews of your business will find these external platforms. The advantage of using an onsite feedback form is the customizability and privacy. Using a custom feedback form allows you to control the flow of information. If you receive a bad review via this method, it's between you and the customer. This method also gives you the ability to create a list of questions or an online survey that serves as a customer interview. The answers you receive from loyal customers can be used in your marketing materials. You could even collect video testimonials or pictures of customers with your product. ZipMessage and other tools can be used to facilitate a link that allows users to leave a video.
Distribution is just as important as building your page. If no one sees your customer review page, it's not an asset to your business. 73% of customers who are asked to write a review will do so! So build your page and send it to your current customers; it works and it's definitely worth the effort! Here are a few ways to get your page in front of customers.
According to a report from Spiegel, up to 80% of reviews are gathered after sending a post-purchase email. Email automation makes sending post-purchase emails a no-brainer! Using an email marketing tool like ActiveCampaign you can easily link your e-commerce store to your marketing tool and build sequences based on customer actions.
There are different ways to promote your customer review page on social media. The first is the simplest: create a graphic and post the link on your social media page (feed or story) periodically. This tactic casts a wide net and should be used sparingly.
You can also use social media to identify your brand’s super fans. Your superfans are customers who consistently engage with your brand on social media. Once you identify a superfan, wait for them to engage with your content again, then ask them to review your business. You can ask for a review by replying to their comment or sending them a direct message that includes a link to your page.
This method mixes old school with technology. If your team goes to trade shows, conferences, markets, etc., then you should have signage that promotes your customer review page. Your sign can either have the written URL or a QR code that links to your web page. You can create a custom QR code using QR Code Generator. This is a low involvement way to ask for reviews that only requires your staff to set up a simple sign when they're at a marketing event.
Another low-effort method that every company should try is adding a link to the page in the email signatures of all your customer-facing employees (salesmen and customer service reps). You could argue that the other methods have a negative or neutral effect on customer experience, but asking for reviews in employee email signatures has no effect on customer experience.
Is the employee email signature the sexiest place for "ad space"? No. But when used correctly, it can be an asset for your team. The worst-case scenario is that people continue to ignore your employee email signatures.
If you or your staff can't identify a single satisfied customer that would be willing to leave a review for your brand, something is wrong! You might not be on a first-name basis with them, but you might:
Identifying these customers that you have a good relationship with and making it easy for them to publicly tell others about you is a huge opportunity for established businesses to increase brand awareness. But for some reason, a lot of businesses don't ask and so they don't receive reviews that customers would happily give.
We focused on creating a page to collect feedback from customers and how to promote that page to your customers. But that should just be a portion of your customer review strategy. You also need to engage with customer reviews. All comments left by happy and unhappy customers should be responded to as quickly as possible.
Positive reviews are also a marketing opportunity! You can display authentic reviews on your website or social media as social proof. Showing off what your happy customers are saying about you will help your business gain potential customers' trust.
Last but not least, the most important thing to do with reviews is to truly read and learn from them. You're going to have bad reviews. It's not a big deal! Respond to them, evaluate the issue, make changes (if necessary), and move on. Bad reviews become a big deal when you fail to improve your business based on the legitimate feedback of your customer base.