Even when businesses know that reviews are valuable to their success, as a sales tool as well as for their own feedback and improvement, actually getting hold of those insights can be really tricky. When businesses ask customers to leave a review, they are asking them to contribute some of their sacred free time – often with no incentive or thanks.
Many businesses struggle when it comes to response rates from customers. Either they get very few responses, or none at all, or they only hear back from a customer if they have a gripe or concern to raise; leading to a handful of bad reviews and not much else. Neither of these outcomes are good for a business; in fact, they can even be detrimental.
So what’s the best way to generate a good response rate and encourage customers to feedback on both the good and the bad? Here are our top tips:
1. Utilise social media
If you are looking at getting those valued reviews from your millennial audience, you better make sure that you’re integrating rating platforms onto your social media channels. Millennials, more so then most other age groups, prefer things to be simple and easy. Therefore, by allowing them to review something through their favourite social media site will encourage them to leave a review more than just having the platform available on your website.
2. Share the complete picture
Much like making sure your review platform is integrated on your social media channels, you must make sure your reviews are visible on your website. This is key to receiving more reviews from consumers, as it reassures potential buyers that you are an honest and trustworthy business – one that is happy to reveal all customer feedback, even if it isn't all completely positive.
It’s imperative that you show yourself as being a transparent company to encourage others to leave reviews alongside their peers as well as making it easy for anyone who visits your site to leave a review with just a few clicks.
While it might seem tempting to sift out the negatives and sweep them under the rug, there’s no need to fear the occasional one-star: in fact, shoppers suspect censorship if they don’t see any negatives at all, and spend more time reading reviews when there is a balance. Furthermore, negative reviews are the perfect opportunity for your business to respond personally, and publically – demonstrating your commitment to resolving any issues and providing fantastic customer service.
3. Be friendly!
It’s easy ignoring what your customers have to say, but this will not benefit your business and it could actually damage your chances of getting customers to leave a review.
If you engage with your customers they will think that you run a business that is friendly; one that actually cares and listens to their customers’ opinions and therefore one worth coming back to & leaving another review for.
Always thank your buyers for taking time out of their day to talk about their experiences with your company; they did not have to do it but they chose to share their feedback with their fellow buyers and that deserves appreciation, even if it is a negative review.
4. Reach out to customers
It can be quite intimidating to use email or text message to encourage customers to leave feedback as you might feel as if you’re harassing them, but done correctly this can be the most efficient and successful way of getting more reviews.
Set up an auto-email or texting service to be sent to customers after they’ve made a purchase asking them how their experience was. Some customers will ignore this or even send you an ‘unsubscribe’ email back but it is worth it as it ensures you are being as engaging as you possibly can.
5. Consider rich media
Take advantage of today’s mobile savvy society and encourage your customers to review your service or product through photos or even videos. Some buyers will prefer to just let the camera roll as they talk about their experience or even demonstrate the product to share with the community.
This can be amazing for your business as it acts like an advert for your services as well as encouraging other users to get involved and post their own videos or photos.
6. Don’t be afraid of being direct!
Finally, do not be afraid of just being direct with your customers. Writing something as simple as “We really care what you think and appreciate your reviews so please tell us about your experience!” can make a huge difference. Many customers will even appreciate the direct approach and it will encourage honest feedback.
Andrew Mabbutt is CEO of www.Feefo.com.