“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what the consumers tell each other it is”
Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit
Did you know that 90% of consumers will read an online review before contacting a business? In this digital age we live in, customers have more choice and more ways to share their opinions about those choices, than ever before. Reading reviews is now a key part of a customer’s decision-making process and reviews can highly influence what to buy and who to buy from.
Trustpilot ran a study on over 1000 consumers and found that:
- 93% of people will read reviews before buying from an unfamiliar company
- 90% of online shoppers will not purchase from a company because of bad reputation
- 62% of consumers will run a search on a company they have not heard of before doing anything else
We all do it ourselves, if we want to make a purchase, particularly of something of great value, we will spend time looking through reviews to find out as much information as possible. Also, we’re all becoming savvier to fake reviews or paid advertising and we can all spot an independent review when we see one.
Having a strong portfolio of case studies, reviews and testimonials is a great way to build trust and credibility in any industry but it’s particularly important in the professional services industry and here are just a few reasons why:
Why are reviews important especially in professional services?
The professional services industry involves many different occupations and specialisms but generally offer services that provide support in the form of advice through expertise of people. Whether you work in the legal, tax, HR, or consultancy field, your business is all about people and those people need to be able to demonstrate that they know what they are talking about.
Even before the digital age, people would rely on word of mouth recommendations from friends and family, especially when it comes to the service industry. Not much has changed, except that reviews are readily available (good and bad) at the click of a button, from people all over the world.
When it comes to professional services, people buy from people, so it’s really important to start building your reputation in order to encourage people to trust you. People are far more suspicious of what they are reading online, therefore getting a complete stranger to trust you enough to make an enquiry, request a quote or even pick up the phone to call you, is becoming increasingly more difficult.
How can I start getting reviews?
If you’re a new business or a small organisation, it can be a daunting task to start building up a portfolio of case studies and reviews. It’s especially difficult to compete with larger companies that have been established for a long time with hundreds or thousands of reviews.
Just remember that when it comes to reviews, quality outweighs quantity, you can get hundreds of 5-star reviews with no comments, which gives a potential customer or client no real clarity of the business and service they received from them. Instead, it’s better to have a handful of really strong reviews with comments explaining how excellent the customer service they received was, or how a specific product has benefited them and naming the specific employees that helped them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for them!
It sounds really obvious, but the best place to start is by asking existing client you have, especially those long-standing relationships, to leave you a review. Once you start generating excellent results for a client, don’t be afraid to ask them to leave a Google review, testimonial on LinkedIn, or if you’re on third-party review platforms such as Trustpilot, Feefo or Yell. A great way to kick this off from scratch is to leave a review for a client first. If you don’t have any clients, ask employers to leave testimonials about the type of business you are. The key thing to remember, it has to be authentic, don’t ask one of your friends to make something up – it’ll stick out like a sore thumb!
Add a review tool to your email signature
You want to make it as easy as possible for people to leave reviews, a good way to do this is to implement a tool on to your email signature which you can turn on and off, as you probably don’t want to have it on every communication as that devalues what you’re asking the client to do.
Make it part of your process
Many organisations now have an automated system which prompts you to review the customer service you have received after a meaningful interaction. An automated review system often requires a big budget, but doesn’t need to. Include testimonials and review requests in your client retention or post-sales process. Share the importance of getting reviews amongst your team and get them on board to help boost your reputation.
How can I leverage reviews?
Once you start getting reviews whether it’s directly on a platform or you get some excellent feedback over email, why keep it to yourself? If someone has left you a Google review, reference it on social media and tag in the company that mentioned you. If it’s on an email, always ask their permission before you do anything with information, especially if you are mentioning them by name.
You can add a testimonial section to your website on your homepage or ‘what our clients say’ and include any quotations you’ve received. Take screen shots of reviews to share on social media and if you use a third-party review tool, you can use a review widget on your homepage, which automatically updates once you receive another review.
How to deal with negative reviews
Here are a few tips to consider when dealing with negative customer reviews.
- Don’t ignore a negative review, always respond to them
- Demonstrate that you can resolve the issue no later than 72 hours of the complaint or at least make the initial response
- If you do get a negative review, never ask them to contact you to resolve it… they already did that when they left a review. Instead respond back with a specific date and time when you will call them
- Once the issue is resolved, comment back on the original negative response to explain that it has been resolved and that they are now satisfied with the service. It will demonstrate that you actually care and you’ve dealt with the issue to any potential consumers
There is nothing more powerful than authentic positive reviews from your clients, it’s also just as important to demonstrate when things don’t always go the right way, how you deal with it as a business. People aren’t interested in how great you say you are, they are far more interested in hearing what other people have to say about your business. Having reviews and responding to them, allow you to show that you that can be trusted.
If you have reviews, start promoting them, there are plenty of plugins which you can install on your website which will feed through your score or rating on your website. You can even find reviews platforms for specific professional services industries and sectors to see how rank up against your competitors. If you don’t have any reviews, start asking your existing clients. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’ve got a plan in place to get start getting reviews.
Need help creating a review programme, and boost your reputation and credibility? Get in touch with Digital Glue today and see how we can help you.