These days, almost everyone uses customer reviews to help with their purchasing decisions.
For example, studies show that 87% of people expect to see online reviews of a business, with a staggering 65% saying that if they cannot easily find them, they will buy elsewhere.
This means it is vital to provide our prospects with easy to find online reviews about our business. In fact, online reviews should be an integral part of our overall marketing strategy.
And at no time should we forget that online reviews are borne out of the goodwill that we foster with our customers. This mindset should set the tone for how we view and use what is a very precious resource. A resource that you have worked hard to acquire, and in effect, own.
Make no mistake, you deserve to be able to make proper use of the positive customer relationships you have developed.
However, there is an issue we need to address which is capable of severely undermining the credibility and influence of our customer reviews.
Online, fake reviews are everywhere. It is generally accepted that, on average, up to 40% of customer reviews will be fake.
If you were so inclined, you could ask friends and family to provide fake reviews for you, or use online search engines to find companies that will provide you with fake reviews for your business.
In effect, you can cheat and mislead any prospects who may read them.
Of course, dear reader, you would not entertain behaving in such a way, but the truth is, this corruption is becoming more widely known.
As a result, it undermines the credibility of all the genuine reviews that exist – including yours. This is why it is crucial to ensure that the customer reviews of your business all seem credible and true.
For example, customer surveys show that if the reviews of a business look sincere, 68% of people would be willing to pay more for their goods or services when compared to the competition.
To help your customer reviews seem more credible, make sure they’re dated, and when appropriate, repurpose the best ones for use on your social media accounts and promotional materials.
Additionally, it is well known that if a customer provides you with a review, and you offer your thanks in return, that customer is on average 20 times more likely to recommend you to others.
In other words, when used correctly, reviews can help turn your existing customers into ‘brand advocates’, who will spread the word about your business far and wide – thereby enhancing your word of mouth marketing considerably.
How Can We Best Gather And Use Customer Reviews?
Firstly, you would be amazed by how many people don’t ask customers to leave them a review. Simply doing this will immediately put you at an advantage over most.
If it’s appropriate, don’t wait until the transaction or project is complete before you ask your customer for a review. By that time, your customer could have moved on. Instead, during the project, consider asking them, ‘how are we doing so far?’
Wherever possible, use the word ‘feedback’ when requesting a review, as this is a much more open request. In contrast, try to avoid using the word ‘testimonial’, which by definition implies you’re only seeking to hear good things about your business.
These principles also apply to the heading used for the reviews section of your website.
Next, remember that your reviews should help to convey the values and ethos of your business and the key figures in it – after all, people buy from people.
And lastly, you don’t need dozens of reviews – simply having a handful will make a massive difference to your business!