In a world of e-commerce and social media, reviews are an essential part of the marketing mix. Without being able to touch and feel a product, potential customers want to know about other people’s experiences of a product or service. Whether your business is an internet or bricks and mortar one, whether you sell products or supply services your reputation will affect future sales and success. As many a Hollywood star has said, from Douglas Fairbanks to reportedly, Al Jonson ‘You are only as good as your last picture’. What this means is that no business can rest on its laurels and needs to ensure that what it delivers is up to customer expectations. No one should be expecting to buy a state-of-the-art Tessler for the price of an old diesel Vauxhall Astra. If you hype your products and services beyond what they are, you might find yourself coming unstuck when customers create negative posts on social media or any of the easily accessible review sites like Trip Advisor, Google Reviews, or Trust Pilot.
The rule with any marketing communications is to make sure that your customers know what they are expecting. Do not promise next-day delivery if you are unable to achieve it. Have the courage to ask your customers for feedback and then use those reviews in two ways. The first is to give you genuine insights without having to commission expensive market research. The second is to use reviews to drive traffic to your business and get more sales.
Review sites fall into two broad categories. Some are compiled by professional reviewers and cover a broad range of features and prices and compare a range of service providers according to their review criteria. These include sites like Compare the Market and Go Compare for services like broadband, insurance, and energy deals. Then there are industry-specific reviews such as Rotten Tomatoes that give feedback on films or the online gambling comparison sites that give customers the best UK online slot reviews. The other category is peer-to-peer review sites where customers feedback and rate the goods and services they have purchased as they do on Amazon or eBay.
Make sure you have a review page set up on your website so that you can embed any reviews that appear on third-party sites. Your potential customers will always check them out. However, don’t just leave it up to fate and actively ask your customers for feedback to form the perfect circular feedback loop.
When a purchase is made, whether online or in-person, collect customer email addresses and make sure they opt-in to receive more information from you. A common way to do this in face-to-face retail environments is to email the receipt to your customer. For online businesses, this is just part of the sales process. When you know that the customer has received their order, send them a follow-up email asking them for a review. This can either send to a third-party review site or simply to the review page on your website. The advantage of using a third-party site is that people using that site can find your company there. To respond to any reviews you receive, even negative ones. Remain professional and try to resolve customers’ issues if they are genuine. Good customer service can turn a negative experience into a positive one if a complaint is handled in a way that resolves the issue.
Use your social media, whether Instagram, Facebook, Tik-Tok, or Twitter to promote good reviews that you receive either directly to your web page or on review sites. Consider pinning a really good one to the top of your feed. Facebook also offers you the opportunity to let customers leave a review on your company’s Facebook page, you just need to turn the facility on. Then embed all those reviews onto your review page and possibly on a footer on your home page and let the sales roll in.