Scene 1: You just moved to a new town and bought a house. Everything is great until—oh no–there’s a leak in the bathroom! You don’t know the area, you don’t have any friends or family nearby, and you don’t know the first thing about repairing leaks. What do you do?
Scene 2: You muster up the courage to ask out that special someone and—oh swoon—they agree! They tell you they love visiting coffee shops. You don’t drink coffee, no one you know drinks coffee, and you’ve never paid attention to the local coffee scene. What do you do?
Scene 3: You agreed to make your grandchild’s favorite meal for their birthday. You’re chopping up the ingredients until—oh dear—your trusty kitchen knife breaks! You loved this knife, you find out the knife company went out of business, and you’re not sure if you’ll ever find another knife like yours. What do you do?
There comes a time in all of our lives when we’re looking for services (like in scene 1), locations (scene 2), or products (scene 3). And during that time, we almost always come to the point where we ask ourselves “What do I do?” If all else fails, like our knowledge of local coffee scenes or our geographically distant connections, we have the internet. (If we’re honest, some of us will skip straight to that anyway.) But how can we know the coffee shops or the plumbers or the knife sets we’re looking at are as good as they claim to be? For that, we have reviews.
The Reviews Are In
According to a survey conducted by Moz, 96% of people read a business’s or product’s reviews. That’s an overwhelming majority. And, of those 96%, another 86% use those reviews to weigh in on their purchasing decisions. That means that reviews are influencing well over half of your potential customers on what to buy and where to buy it.
A review could mean the difference between a new customer bringing their date to your cool coffee shop or to that mainstream chain down the street. We both know your shop is better. So how do you get the reviews to inspire that couple to visit your shop? How does anyone get reviews?
Ask and You Shall Receive
Along with that staggering number of review readers, Moz also found that the main reason people don’t write reviews is simply because they forget to write them. It’s easy to see how this happens. When something doesn’t go as planned, it often leads to memorable outcomes (even if those memories are unpleasant). When things do go as planned—when the customer service is polite, when the product works well, when the service is quick—we don’t always take notice.
How do you get your customers to take notice? You ask them. It’s as simple as that. Most customers would be happy to leave you a review, especially if they had a positive experience, so ask. Send a friendly reminder text or a follow-up email thanking them for their business. At the end, you can include a link to leave a review. You can even let them know how reviews can help other customers find your business too.
Please note: Asking is not the same as incentivizing. You should not be offering to pay your customers for reviews. You should not be giving discounts or coupons. Depending on the review service, incentivizing can be seen as bribery or coercion and is considered illegal.
A Note about Negative Reviews
Negative reviews can feel discouraging. Sometimes there are miscommunications or misunderstandings that lead to unfortunate experiences for your customers. It is important that you respond to negative reviews and work to resolve any issues presented.
While it is important for potential customers to hear about the things you’ve done well, it can also be important for them to see how you handle mistakes. By seeing a diplomatic response to a negative review, customers will know that you care about the service they receive and that you respect them and their time. It is also important for maintaining bridges with your current customers. Moz found that over 60% of negative reviewers will give a business a second chance if their problems are solved via review responses. They may also consider updating the review as well.
To wrap this up, reviews are important. They’ll let customers know they can trust your business, products, or services. They’ll open important lines of communication between you and your customers. And they’ll help you see if your business has room for improvement.
For help with your marketing efforts, contact Bold River Marketing! We can set you up with profiles on Google and Facebook, so customers can leave you reviews and share about your business. We can also help you manage your social media, make a new website, record and edit videos for your business, and much more. Give us a call today!