This week’s blog post is from Chris Scott at Fanandfuel.com
Recommendations go a long way. But until the digital revolution, there was no way for business owners to naturally generate this word of mouth buzz. While people are still looking to friends and family for advice, they are also turning to the virtual community for authentic opinions about a company. Whether negative or positive, customer reviews have a major influence over individual purchases.
And the numbers show that you can’t afford to go without them.
In a recent survey 94% of consumers said that they typically read customer reviews, and 97% said that these reviews are part of their purchasing decisions. These reviews act like a word-of-mouth account of customer experience, and people want to read them.
No Reviews Creates Uncertainty and Hesitation
As consumers seek online testimonials to guide their purchasing decisions, the absence of these accounts could be detrimental to your business. Survey results show that 92% of potential customers would hesitate to purchase something if the company did not have any reviews whatsoever.
This hesitation comes in varying degrees. About 35% of survey respondents said that they were less likely to buy a product if they couldn’t read reviews. Some consumers will click away from your website to find more information, with 32% saying they would wait to buy a product until doing more research. Another 23% said they would have difficulty making a decision in general without reviews.
Customer hesitation is not the outcome you want, so it pays to invest in generating these organic customer reviews.
You Gotta Ask!
So, we know that customer reviews are beneficial, but how do you generate them? Brian Patterson, co-founder of Go Fish Digital, great tips for generating reviews online. He suggests, above all, to ask in person, stating that this strategy will get you seven to eight times more reviews than asking in an email. That’s right, the key to generating customer reviews online is actually face-to-face interaction.
Patterson also suggests getting your employees on board. To make this more effective, he advises that employees mention that their employer will give them extra cash if they generate a positive review. He says that this incentive-driven technique is especially effective for service providers, as customers often form a personal connection with these employees.
While there are many ways for companies to build reviews, Patterson recommends creating a company-wide effort. From executives to field employees, be sure to have everyone on the same page the importance of generating customer reviews. Remember to provide incentives for your employees, encouraging them to implement these strategies.
Take the Good with the Bad
But what if you launch your efforts to bring in more testimonials and you begin to see negative reviews? Don’t panic, but be sure to address these as soon as possible. Data shows that the average consumer is more likely to write a review after a negative experience, so keep that in mind. Respond to these dissatisfied customers, acknowledging their experience and offering assistance. And, use them as a learning experience–make improvements based on legitimate negative feedback.
Content Matters: Customers Are Seeking Details
Data shows that simply having customer reviews is not always enough. Consumers are looking for more than numbers and stars — they are seeking substance. In fact, 73% of survey respondents say that written reviews influence them more than star and number ratings.
Within these written reviews, potential clients are looking for reviewers’ experiences with the product or service. While it might be tempting to remove all negative reviews, 34% of respondents said that they are interested in a mix of both positive and negative reviews. 31% of respondents go looking through the reviews for specific problems people have had with the product or service. Written reviews offer an authentic picture of customer experience and new buyers like to factor in all perspectives when making a purchasing decision.
Investing In Review Generation Can Boost Customer Attraction Today
As a business trying to market yourself online, you should be doing everything you can to generate leads and draw customers to your product or service. Customer reviews may be the boost you need.
Be sure to diversify your review portfolio on Google, Yelp, social media platforms like Facebook, and your own website. This will up your SEO and help to diversify your customer base. Investing the extra time in generating these reviews is an effective way to give your business the edge it needs in this highly competitive online marketplace. Simply get your employees on board, and watch the results roll in.