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How to Maximize Your Customer Review Feedback

8th Nov 2017
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Customer reviews are one of the most valuable marketing tools a small business possesses, and numerous researchers and marketing firms have uncovered data which show their power. For example, the marketing firm Blue Corona states that “88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation” and that “90% of consumers say that their purchases are influenced by online reviews.” A single good or bad review on Google or Yelp can make or break a small business.

Given how much customers trust reviews, businesses need to maximize the impact of every positive review and ensure that the largest number of potential customers see the review. Here are some tips on how to leverage customer reviews to build your business’s reputation.

Display Positive Reviews Prominently

Your business does not want your positive reviews just on Google or Yelp. You want those reviews loud and proud where customers can easily see them. For example, Hong Kong storage, a mini storage company in Hong Kong, has positive testimonials from magazines draped on the walls of windows of their restaurant, complete with the magazine cover to show the magazine issue and date.

Displaying open testimonials at your business can sometimes, but your primary focus should be to advertise positive testimonials on your website or social media as well. Have a page on your website filled with testimonials and positive coverage. Make sure that the testimonials praise different aspects so that you can show you are a well-rounded company, and look to display photos and videos of smiling customers in addition to written reviews.

Similar strategies can be used with social media. If a customer posts a positive review on social media, share or retweet it so that a larger audience notices it. An aggressive marketing strategy which actively seeks to share positive reviews and testimonials is good for your business.

Do not forget the Legalities

In their eagerness to promote online reviews, businesses must remember that there are regulations in place on how you can use testimonials. The Small Business Administration has a list of some of the things you cannot do. If 90 percent of your customers end up dissatisfied with your product, you cannot take reviews from the 10 percent of satisfied customers and pretend that is the typical customer experience. Your business must disclose any connections with endorsers, and ensure that testimonials are accurate.

Furthermore, businesses cannot copy a review posted on a third party website and paste it on their website unless they get permission from the person who wrote the review. Instead, you can post a link to positive third party reviews. If you want to post a positive review directly on your business’s social media account or website, make sure to get permission. Using testimonials without permission can open your business up to a lawsuit.

Respond to Reviews Quickly

Your business should display positive reviews prominently, but what about negative reviews? Some businesses may try to ignore negative reviews in the hopes of minimizing their profile.

This is a bad idea. Instead of ignoring negative reviews, embrace them and get in touch with the dissatisfied consumer as soon as possible. Apologize, address how your business is looking to solve their problem, and potentially offer a discount. Your goal is to show that your business cares about all of its customers and can handle mistakes calmly and professionally. If there are multiple complaints on the same issue, post on social media how your business is planning to fix the problem.

Customers do not expect a business to be perfect. They do expect the business to listen to them and fix their problems. By answering their complaints promptly and showing that you are interested in what they have to say, your business can turn that negative review into a positive sign as it shows you care. In fact, QuickBooks notes the effectiveness of a quick response by noting that “a number of businesses we’ve spoken to say that 70 to 80 percent of the time they can get an unhappy reviewer to change their mind or return to the store.”

Make Reviewing Easy

A major challenge with managing reviews is that dissatisfied customers are much more willing to share their experience than satisfied customers. Businesses thus need to make leaving reviews as easy as possible so negative reviews can be counteracted by a flood of positive reviews.

Offer multiple places to put up a review, such as on Yelp or the company’s website and advertise it through email and social media. Furthermore, make sure the review itself is as simple as possible. Keep the review forms short, and only have a few questions which consumers can answer by clicking a mouse button (“Rate our customer service on a 1 to 5 scale.”) Customers should never have to write a response as part of a review form.

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