We would almost all agree that marketing activities such as email, SEO and website content are all essential pieces of a good marketing strategy in convincing people to do business with us. We will even agree enthusiastically that client testimonials are super important to winning new business but most often a critical item overlooked is customer reviews made on 3rd party websites or platforms such as Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor and Trustpilot to name a few.
Customer reviews have a direct influence on your opportunity of new business along with hugely increasing conversion rates. A recent survey by BrightLocal showed that “91% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business”
The beauty of the 3rd party platform is that because the recipient of the review has no control over the process of adding the review content it is deemed as a lot more unbiased, genuine and authentic by prospects than say, for example, a testimonial that is written and displayed on the recipient’s own website.
The more positive reviews you get the stronger your brand and business becomes in the mind of the researcher. It is important that you as a business also respond to these reviews and ratings though, firstly as a thank you to your client for taking the time and effort to contribute to making your digital reputation stronger but also it is possible there will come a time that you have someone leave a negative review and these are just as important to attend to.
If you do happen to receive a negative review online, look at it as an opportunity to prove your commitment to the customer by addressing the situation honestly and as transparently as you can. If you have messed up, just admit it while working to get it fixed and mostly you will find the person is more than happy to provide follow up on the review on how well the issue was addressed. Of course, it doesn’t always go like this and there are sometimes situations where the demands and expectations are plain unreasonable but always stay polite and provide details as appropriate so the situation is clear to anyone who may read it.
So let’s run through some pointers to get your business on the road to getting some reviews on third-party platforms.
Set Up Company Profiles On Applicable Third Party Sites For Your Business
The following list is some options where you can get your reviews listed. Most of these platforms are free although some may require a membership to access all features.
If you are an existing business, you likely have built up a database of satisfied clients over time of whom would be more than happy to leave a review on your company. You need to make it easy for them though, create a link to your profile on the review platform of which you can email them and they can complete the review from there, here is the ‘how to’ for Google Reviews. Contact them and explain that you are wanting to build up your online reputation with these reviews and that you would really appreciate it if they would leave you one. We all get busy though, so if they haven’t left one within a couple of weeks, follow them up again.
Make Asking For A Review Part Of Your Post-sale Customer Service Process
Depending on your particular business model it is a good practice to follow up with a customer care phone call after the sale is completed. This is a good opportunity to ask how the customer found the product and experience and the best time to be seen as proactive in dealing with any issues should any have come up during the transaction. We’ve experienced firsthand where this process was followed and there was an issue but the timely followup and rectification resulted in some of the most glowing customer reviews to date. Train your staff and develop your culture to deliver amazing customer experiences and make it become second nature to ask for feedback and reviews on the provided service.
Never Stop Learning From Customer Reviews
The information you can glean from customer feedback both good and bad allows you to continually improve and optimize your products, processes and services. There are a number of metrics around client satisfaction such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and “The average time taken to resolve a customer issue” that are very useful KPIs to track and manage to ensure your business is staying on course in regards to customer satisfaction.
Whether you like it or not your prospects are searching online for what other people say about your business and forming decisions upon what they find. Putting a focused and consistent effort to building your online reviews on third-party platforms available will pay off generously by strengthening your brand and providing crucial social proof that influences your potential customers to choose you over your competitors.
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