Given how connected customers are in today’s digital world, companies can’t avoid ratings. Buyers can find customer reviews on your business website, third-party sites like Yelp and Google, and even on social media.
Instead of dreading this entry, make customer reviews work for you by mastering how to ask for and deserve great reviews.
- how customer reviews impact your business
- how to get good customer reviews
- how to manage negative customer reviews
- a crash course in customer review sites
how customer reviews impact your business
from retail to b2b saas, reviews affect how customers perceive your business, which ultimately affects your profits.
reviews build trust
Customer reviews are powerful because they come from real people and often feel more authentic to buyers than traditional marketing. ) more than brand advertising. Eighty-three percent of customers say they trust their friends and family for recommendations. but 79% say they trust online reviews as much as their friends and family.
“Customer reviews are basically word of mouth online,” said Emily Washcovick, senior field marketing manager at Yelp. “In our digital age, customers can get feedback both from the people they care about and know in real life, and from other consumers who have had real experiences through online reviews.”
reviews provide valuable feedback
reviews provide insight into what works well for your customers and where you can improve, from the quality of your product to the effectiveness of your customer support.
“Reviews allow companies to keep an eye on their brand at all times,” Washcovick said. “You can’t be everywhere, doing everything, and reviews give you an opportunity to get a lot of feedback.”
reviews empower customers
Much like a community forum within a knowledge base, reviews can help customers get answers to their questions before contacting your support team.
“Customer reviews are a powerful tool for businesses to connect directly with the people who want to know more about them. a customer can go to a restaurant’s yelp page to get ideas about what to wear or what options are on the menu,” said washcovick.
how to get great customer reviews
Collecting great reviews is a two-step process. First, you need to give your customers an experience worth checking out. then you want to make sure you give them a chance to share.
Businesses that receive positive feedback consistently create review-worthy experiences through excellent customer service. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money or do something fancy. It’s often the little everyday things that stick with customers, like resolving issues quickly or communicating before an issue escalates. Not just saying you care, but showing it with your actions, is how to get customers to leave reviews.
online retailer zappos probably has the most famous customer service culture of any modern company. the company encourages its support team to stay on customer calls as long as necessary (the record is 10 hours and 51 minutes), not only to resolve the issue, but also to build relationships.
here are some things to try:
- listen to customer needs. use customer feedback to create a better experience. These can include feedback on satisfaction surveys, pain points mentioned on your community forum, or something customers continually tell agents. Postmates is one company that is hitting listening customers out of the park. Your customer experience team partners with your product and analytics teams to use customer feedback in key product decisions.
- Actively engage with customers. Give your customers the opportunity to connect with your business by cultivating an online community on social platforms. assign specific team members to respond to customer comments and questions, and use chatbots for 24/7 interaction. If you need more engagement strategy ideas, check out our blog or much more information.
- Let your customers know you appreciate them. Feeling unappreciated can send customers to your competitors. but when customers feel valued, they are more likely to share their experience with others. Create a long-term customer or buyer loyalty program, and invest in social causes that matter to your customers. There are many ways to show love to your shoppers, so we created a Customer Appreciation Guide for more tips.
- Offer multi-channel review options. The first step to increasing customer reviews is to make the experience as easy as possible. Consider linking your Yelp page in your social media bio and email newsletters. set up your messaging software so customers can leave reviews directly through the channel they connect with you on. similarly, if you’re communicating via email, customers should be able to leave a review in the body of the email.
- Track recent interactions or purchases by requesting a review. Automatically request information via email after a recent purchase or customer service interaction. This is one of the most common ways businesses request reviews. use your customer service software to send customers a satisfaction survey after a recent interaction, with the option to leave a customer service review.
- train your service teams to request reviews. teach your team to recognize when it’s a good time to request a review, such as when a customer expresses appreciation for your brand.
- when all else fails, offer incentives. a study by powerreviews found that more than half of consumers who don’t write reviews need more motivation to do so. incentives, such as discounts or free items from the company, can give customers the boost they need.
ask for them
If you consistently create great support experiences, but your reviews don’t take off, give your customers an easy way to rate your business. if a customer has to work really hard to leave a review, they probably won’t.
whatever method you use, don’t ask customers to write a “good review”. you don’t want to unfairly influence your answer. instead, focus on getting authentic and honest customer feedback.
how to manage negative customer reviews
even for the best brands, negative reviews are inevitable. it is impossible to please 100% of the buyers 100% of the time. don’t lose sleep over them, and don’t try to take them down. Hiding these comments can destroy customers’ trust in your transparency. instead, learn how to properly handle negative comments.
“No one is perfect. consumers even prefer to see some negative reviews,” said washcovick.
When reviews seem too good to be true, consumers lose trust. review crawlers found the most reliable star review rating to be 4.0/5. Shoppers looking for reviews want real feedback, and perfect reviews can be a sign that they were written by bots.
Here are some of Yelp’s tips for responding to a negative review.
1. publicly acknowledge and thank the client, quickly
When customers write negative reviews, they do so to be heard. Openly acknowledging that you got your message and that you’re listening can often do more for a customer’s experience than fixing the problem right away.
“We recommend initially responding publicly to negative reviews and, in that public response, thanking the customer for taking the time to share their experience,” Washcovick said.
Time is also of the essence. responses are most effective within 24 hours, both because the customer is eager to resolve the issue and other consumers are watching.
among consumers who read reviews, 96% read business responses to reviews. Responding promptly and courteously will likely improve other reviewers’ impressions of your brand.
2. offers to have a private conversation
After acknowledging the complaint, your customer support team should send a direct message to the customer to further resolve the issue. another option is to leave the ball in the customer’s court and provide a support email or phone number in your public response.
what you don’t want to do is just reply via private message. From the audience’s perspective, it will appear as though you either didn’t respond at all or are trying to hide something about the interaction. switch to private messages only when the resolution of the problem has become too specific to be useful to a larger group of readers.
3. try your best to solve the problem
Harvard Business Review found that people who complained or wrote negative comments about a brand on social media and received a response became more loyal than those who never complained.
“Not all reviewers will contact you to give you a chance to resolve the issue. But if you can figure it out, that will be a big help,” Washcovick said. “this is how you keep a client.”
You won’t always be able to solve a customer’s problem exactly the way they’d like you to. in those cases, offer the client alternatives that you can provide.
a crash course in customer review sites
An important component of managing your customer reviews is understanding where they are posted and where your customers are looking for them. Use this quick guide to get up to speed on common review sites.
Popular third-party customer review sites
While Google My Business ranks as the best overall review site, Yelp is popular with brick-and-mortar businesses, with 40.47 million monthly visitors.
online retailer amazon has built a business model out of reviews. many e-commerce shoppers shop more on amazon than on any other website due to the sheer volume of shopper reviews.
glassdoor offers employer reviews. today, many job seekers turn to glassdoor before even completing an application.
how to tell if a review platform is credible
The above table lists popular review websites, but is by no means exhaustive. There are thousands of review sites out there, but not all sites are trustworthy. When trying to decide whether or not a review platform is legit, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does the site go beyond ratings to include quality content?
Seventy-three percent of people believe that reviews with written comments are more important than ratings. customers want to know why the reviewer scored and the details of their experience. a legitimate site should encourage or require reviewers to provide a written explanation of their comments, not just a numerical rating.
“At Yelp, we want information, we’re not just a star rating site,” Washcovick said.
2. Do you filter spam reviews to keep ratings authentic?
technology creates a good user experience, but customers want real reviews from people, not bots.
yelp allows businesses and consumers to report harmful reviews or spam. they also have a team dedicated to reviewing all incoming flags.
“As a business owner, sometimes it’s appropriate to flag a review. We are not going to allow a customer to go after an employee with demeaning language or a former employee to aggressively hit a business,” Washcovick said. “Reviews are about helpful content, not hurtful.”
use a crm to attract good customer reviews
Providing a great customer experience starts with using a crm that streamlines interactions between you and your customer. Look for a CRM that makes it easy for your buyers to contact you on the channel of your choice. look for a platform like zendesk that allows you to automatically follow up with a customer survey. we make it easy to collect positive reviews.
If you’re ready to learn more about how zendesk can help you get strong customer testimonials, contact us today for a free 14-day trial.