How To Boost Your Small Business's Reputation And Sales By Leveraging Customer Reviews
Customer reviews can significantly impact a small business's reputation and sales by building a bank of social proof that supports the credibility and authenticity of the business. Glowing five-star testimonials are a sign that you’re doing something right and can be incorporated back into your digital marketing strategy to encourage more engagement, with even negative or critical feedback providing an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and responsiveness as a business.
In this article, we’ll provide you with four practical approaches to online feedback, along with their pros, cons, and potential outcomes to help you maximise the power of customer reviews.
Method 1. Encourage Customers To Leave Reviews
Unprompted, only a small minority of customers will leave an online review, and they are most commonly only the people who are extremely happy or extremely disappointed – not a representative sample. Generally, you’ll need to incentivise your customers to leave reviews, taking care to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible.
Consider sending a follow-up email or message after each sale, thanking the customer for their purchase and kindly asking them to leave a review, giving clear instructions on where and how to provide feedback, such as a direct link to the website or platform where you prefer to collect reviews. Another effective approach is offering a ‘reward’ for leaving a review, such as a discount on future purchases or free digital content.
- Obtain a diverse range of customer perspectives and opinions, not just one-star and five-star reviews.
- Develop strong social proof.
- Improve your business's online presence.
- Challenges may occur in convincing customers to share their feedback.
- Potential for negative reviews.
- Increased customer engagement and loyalty.
- Higher sales and revenue due to enhanced credibility.
Method 2. Respond To Reviews Professionally, Including When Handling Negative Feedback
Responding to customer reviews is critical to improving your business's reputation. Whether the feedback is positive or negative (or neutral/ambiguous), it is essential to respond professionally as soon as the review is picked up, expressing gratitude or sympathy as appropriate. When replying to positive or neutral feedback, thank the customer for their kind words and let them know that their feedback is greatly appreciated.
For negative/critical feedback, address the issues directly and provide a solution. It’s important to remain calm and objective even when dealing with someone who is angry, carefully considering the criticism and responding to each point constructively. Offer to take the conversation offline to resolve the matter further, always acknowledge the customer’s concerns, and apologise for any inconvenience caused. By consistently responding to all reviews in the same measured brand voice, you show your customers that you value their opinion and are committed to providing excellent service.
- Showcase exceptional customer support.
- Proactively address issues to prevent the further spread of poor reviews and/or misinformation.
- Convert negative experiences into positive ones by demonstrating receptiveness to customer concerns and feelings.
- Can embolden customers to share more negative feedback after seeing the public response from the business.
- Improve customer satisfaction and retention.
- Enhance trust in the business’s commitment to service excellence.
Method 3. Showcase Positive Reviews On Your Website And Marketing Materials
Including positive feedback on your website, socials, and marketing material can build trust with your audience and increase the likelihood of other customers choosing your products or services, so don't be afraid to put your best foot forward and showcase the great feedback you've received!
Many businesses now include a section on each page of their site dedicated to publishing their best reviews. Utilise short quotes and customer testimonials that highlight your business's strengths and unique selling proposition in a way that relates to each page’s content. Make sure that these reviews are genuine and come from real customers – you should never heavily edit or fabricate a review, and it’s best when the review comes in the customer’s own words.
You can also incorporate client case studies into blog articles and share them on social media to persuade more customers to provide feedback, as well as feature glowing reviews in email newsletters, adverts, and promotional materials.
- Attracts new customers with strong social proof.
- Enhances the credibility of your products or services.
- Can appear self-promotional if not done with discretion.
- Increase brand awareness and online visibility.
- Achieve higher sales from elevated consumer confidence.
Method 4. Analyse Feedback For Continuous Improvement And Customer Understanding
Regularly monitoring your customer reviews to identify recurring points of praise or criticism will deepen your understanding of your customers and help you improve both your marketing messages and your service delivery. Don’t be afraid to develop and implement improvement plans based on customer feedback and inform customers of these changes through your content. Customers will appreciate your candid willingness to adapt your service model in response to feedback. More information can often be gained by conducting email surveys to gather additional input, and to develop a better apprehension of your customer’s present preferences and challenges.
- Identify areas for service or product enhancement.
- Gain insight into customer preferences and demands.
- Update and improve your ideal customers/buyer personas to keep them relevant through your findings.
- Can be time-consuming and demands data analysis expertise.
- Requires constant commitment to making changes based on feedback.
- Greater competitiveness due to continual improvements.
- Higher customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty.
By treating customer reviews as valuable content assets, you can strengthen the reputation of your business online as a good service provider, and encourage more engagement with your business. To find out more about how to boost your sales, please get in touch today or download our free guide all about How To Attract, Win, Keep, And Grow Customers.
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