Using Reviews to Grow Your Business
It wasn’t long ago when we shopped exclusively at physical stores and markets. There was no online shopping, so it was harder for shoppers to do a quick online search and find out if the product was as good as it looked.
Today, online reviews make us realize what other shoppers think about that product within seconds. We can see what they liked about it, disliked it, and whether it worked for them.
Reviews have become an essential part of how customers make buying decisions.
Not only can customers read product reviews, but they can also read reviews of services and companies. As a result, as a business owner, you need to keep abreast of what’s being said about your products, services, and company and best manage the reviews available online.
Where Do You Find Your Customer Reviews?
It’s vital to first understand where customers find reviews. Sometimes, companies will post reviews on their own websites. Customers will find these on the site or when doing a search engine query on the company’s reputation.
But company websites are not the primary source of reviews; instead, the leading authority is known as review websites. These are third-party sites where customers can rate products, services, and companies, and employees can rate current and former employers.
Also, review sites depend upon your type of business. For instance, if you sell your products on Amazon, you will have Amazon reviews to manage or Shopify.
Hospitality and Travel Aggregators
Plus, you must watch your Yelp reviews if your business is in hospitality. Plus for travelers, they will leave reviews on Tripadvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, and more.
Where you really need to manage your customers’ reviews is Google Reviews. Take the lead and get Google Reviews set up for your business. Use the feedback to drive improvements everywhere in the company, from customer support and the sales process to product delivery and after-sales service.
Now that you understand the types of review sites, it’s time for you to focus on getting the best reviews. Knowing customers will often research you before buying your products or services, you want them to see positive reviews.
While seemingly obvious, the best way to achieve great reviews is to create great products and services. Even if your initial offerings aren’t perfect, solicit customer feedback and use it to improve so customers feel obliged to leave you great reviews.
Next, don’t be afraid to ask customers to review you. You can reach the customer via email, social media, or your website. Using these channels, request customers leave reviews for your company. Or, if you operate a storefront, you can have signage or train your staff to ask for reviews.
Your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other networks can present and request reviews so your customers can see how your business is rating generally with its customers.
Importantly, it’s okay and inevitable if/when some customers leave negative reviews. Just be sure to act appropriately when they do. This entails first going through a counter-review to explain the issue. Explain whether the customer was right or wrong and if you did anything to rectify the situation.
Your counter-review tells prospective customers you care about them. Next, use the review as appropriate to improve your product or service offering. For example, if the customer complained about the time your company took to perform a service, figure out how to decrease such times.
It’s also important to note that if you ever wish to sell your business, you can be assured that acquirers will do an in-depth review of your customer and employee reviews during the process. This is particularly true if they plan to use your company or brand name post-acquisition.
Knowing what customers and employees say about a company provides incredible insight and intelligence.
Keeping your head in the sand about customer reviews is not a viable strategy. Thoughts are just too essential to your company’s short-term and long-term success. Clearly, if reviews about your company are summarily negative, they will hurt your company’s sales and profits. But if you focus on reviews and continually solicit positive reviews, they can dramatically improve your reputation, sales, and company success.