Enjoyed an incredible meal out recently? Perhaps you tweeted about it, posted photos of your stunning meal on Instagram, and even checked into the restaurant on Facebook. Following the experience, you might have reviewed the restaurant on TripAdvisor, Google or their Facebook page. Making our opinion of a business widely available is now easier than ever. In a couple of taps and clicks, you can let anyone and everyone know just how good the ambience and wine in that restaurant is. Or more terrifyingly for businesses, how awful your experience was.
Consumer reviews are more important than ever because they’re so easily accessible and trust in them is ever-growing. Word-of-mouth has always been an unbeatable form of marketing, but with ‘word-of-mouth’ mainly existing online now, there’s no escaping it for businesses. Recent research by Nielsen demonstrates that 83% of us trust recommendations from family and friends, whilst 66% of us trust strangers’ opinions posted online, on sites such as TripAdvisor and Google My Business. The research found that trust in traditional advertising, whilst still very much in existence, is dropping year on year. Even when consumers see an advert, it’s likely they will still research reviews on the product or business before purchasing.
If businesses can’t escape consumer reviews, they must embrace them. How can you encourage your customers to review your business?
Simply put – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. A restaurant that we work with hands out a customer survey with each bill. The questions are simple and allow the restaurant to see what they’re doing well and where they can improve, but also provide a call to action for people to review on TripAdvisor. Sites such as TripAdvisor have a wealth of material, such as business cards and flyers, available for you to hand out to customers.
- Offer an incentive
You may have noticed supermarkets use this technique on receipts regularly:
‘Tell us about your experience today and be entered into a prize draw to win £1,000! Visit www.supermarket.com/feedback’
It’s a tactic any business can easily implement. For example, every customer who fills out the feedback survey for the restaurant we mentioned above is entered into a prize draw to win a meal for two.
- Make it as easy as possible
Unless a customer has had a terrible experience and wants the world to know, they are unlikely to search the web high and low to look for an outlet where they can review your business. Put direct links to your review profiles in multiple places; on any email correspondence to customers, as a tab on your business Facebook page, and on your website. TripAdvisor allows businesses to easily create widgets to place in their site.
- Engage with reviews (yes, even the bad ones)
Show customers you appreciate their great reviews by taking the time to thank them. Other customers will spot this and it may spur them on to talk about the good experience they had with your business. You will occasionally receive negative reviews – that’s business. Don’t just ignore them. Try to understand the customer’s perspective, apologise, and offer to call or email them to discuss their issue further. Try not to imitate some of these admittedly hilarious responses.Positive consumer reviews provide reassurance to potential customers during the decision making process, and help them find the business and products that best fit their needs. Don’t underestimate their importance to your business.
Need a helping hand managing your reputation online? Get in touch to discuss what Digital Glue could do for your business.