More and more customers are going online before AND after they do business with a company. They’re getting smart about using online tools to make the best decision about who they do business with.
To thrive in this new world of connected customers you need to do more than ever to make sure your customers get the experience they want. If you do this well you can leverage the power of online feedback and reviews to grow your business. If you fail at this, the online chatter about your business can tarnish your reputation both online and off.
Here are some tips to put the power of online reviews to work for your business.
1. Make it easy and convenient for your customers to post and read reviews.
If people have to hunt all day for the page where they can enter reviews, they won’t. Or if you make them enter their life history just so they can register, they’ll leave and never come back. Make it obvious how a person can enter their review. And make sure your process is simple, fast and minimally invasive.
A New York movers review and matching site called CityMove does this well. A big button that says “Review a Mover” clearly tells the customer where to start. And they make the registration process part of the feedback, so the customer has fewer steps to go through.
They also make it frightfully easy to see reviews. Their front page lists recent reviews. Customers can also use a search bar or the “Reviews” tab at the top. Easy and convenient will get you more feedback than lengthy and complicated.
2. Respond quickly to ALL reviews (if possible).
Online reviews are an important part of social media. Maybe they’re not as sexy as Twitter and FaceBook but they are popular and useful. And they are social. So treat them as a social interaction. Respond to every comment and review by thanking them. If they cite a problem or complaint, offer to help them. Don’t take the conversation too far right away, unless the customer indicates they want to engage more.
If you are able to respond, do it. Failing to respond to online reviews (or other social media) is like ignoring people when they walk in your store or restaurant.
3. Be clear and specific about what you offer your customers.
Wherever you post information about your company or what you offer, make sure it’s clear, accurate, specific and relevant to your customers. Telling people you are reliable, honest and hard-working will not work. (They expect you to be these things.)
Instead, know what’s important to your customers by asking them. You can also learn what’s important by reading their online reviews. By knowing what’s important to your customers, you can share that with them up front.
This makes it more likely someone will become your customer, because they know you can help them get what they want. And it increases your odds for getting a good online review. You have setup a realistic expectation. All you have to do is deliver on your promise and you should get a positive review.
For example, a highly rated mover on CityMove.com has very specific information on their web page:
- 25 YEARS EXPERIENCE
- WILL GIVE YOU A FLAT RATE RIGHT OVER THE PHONE
- THE FLAT RATE IS ALL INCLUSIVE AND COVERS ANY AND ALL COSTS RELATED TO YOUR JOB (EXCEPT PACKING MATERIAL, BOXES, BUBBLE RAP, ETC. WHICH ARE PROVIDED ONLY AT YOUR REQUEST).
- I HAVE TWO FULLY EQUIPPED (DOLLYS, PADS, TIE-LINES ETC.) 16 FT. TRUCKS AVAILABLE AND VANS.
- PAYMENT IS IN CASH AT THE END OF THE JOB. NO MONEY EXCHANGES HANDS UNTIL ALL YOUR FURNITURE IS IN YOUR HOME AND THE JOB IS COMPLETE.
As a customer, you know what to expect. And you have specific standards to hold this company to. They have made it easy for you to evaluate them before becoming a customer. And they’ve made it easier for you to give them a positive online review (assuming they do everything they said they will.)
Getting positive online reviews is mostly about running a good business and taking care of your customers. Do that well and you should have online feedback that sends you plenty of business.