Word of mouth marketing is one of the oldest and most effective advertisements businesses can benefit from but with people communicating online more than ever, this has translated from ‘word of mouth’ to ‘typed in text’. As with any recommendation, opinion or review that comes from a genuine, unbiased individual and non-corporate communication, consumers derive trust and authenticity from such content in a way that a business simply can’t generate by itself.
What’s more, a recent survey found that consumers will always believe recommendations and reviews from customers more than they will any type of online advertising. People like people, and people like to believe people but they remain sceptical when it comes to businesses being truthful.
So how can businesses best encourage customers to provide true, honest and (hopefully) positive reviews? Read on…
Use Reviews to Benchmark – and Take Action
Having nice reviews about a product or service is great but unless a business is able to measure where they should be and where they are, there is little tangible benefit or opportunity for development.
Using a tool, such as a Net Promoter Score calculator, provides a benchmark aim within a market or sector as well as a real-time indication of current performance. From here, businesses can seek further information and derive insights from themes of commentary, repeat concerns and/or individual issues to be raised to take tangible action and resolve problems, and better services, to further customer satisfaction.
Reviews can be used as an opportunity to promote and develop products and services rather than just to laud them – and smart businesses do just that to stay ahead of the curve of market trends and consumer expectations.
Boost SEO with Ugc
Google treats UGC (User Generated Content) with as much credence as it does website content, so it’s worth businesses ensuring they have plenty of it in order to present as much authenticity to the search engine as possible. UGC can sit anywhere on the web, providing it mentions or links back to the brand. Keeping it all in one centralised place and interacting/responding to it works well for collating data in a singular presence for ease of use.
Show Up and Show Off
Positive reviews should be highlighted where possible and made easy for potential customers to find. Where businesses succeed and exceed, they should document this and ensure that good experiences and glowing reviews are front and centre, and featured often to display success.
This may involve the usage of quoted copy in marketing, the integration of reviews into a website or e-commerce environment, and the use of a customer review facility that links with Google to feature reviews next to the individual Google Business Listing.
Prove Accountability and Action
While, of course, it’s obvious that businesses will want to feature positive reviews from customers as much as possible, there is strength, too, in showing those that highlighted a question, concern or issue – and the business working to rectify or improve it. A ‘You Asked, We Did’ focus in marketing helps to exhibit a willingness to learn and develop, and a true customer commitment.
This approach can also encourage others to share their reviews and thoughts as they feel engaged in the business’s success, and will want to help contribute toward its direction.
If customer engagement is low or a business is only just establishing its review facilities, some incentivisation may be required. This needn’t necessarily be a freebie or gift, as many immediately think: but, instead, something more fitting for the business. A discount code, entry into a prize draw or the prompt to feed into future business direction and development may all work to encourage customers to leave their honest feedback. Check the terms and conditions on the specific review facility before launching an incentive to ensure that it’s permitted.
Being honest with customers is usually well-received and respected and one such incentivisation can therefore be to communicate to them how important reviews are, and how much they’re needed and valued. If the customer cares for the business (which hopefully they will if they’re intending or able to leave a good review), it’s likely they’ll want to contribute positively and will be willing to take the time to do so.
Customer reviews are well-trusted and if done right, can be worth their weight in gold. Take advantage of specialist platforms offering insights and business intelligence tools and work with them to gain tangible, workable data from which to improve branding, marketing and services. Informed business decisions are the best business decisions and with them, you’re sure to move forward, fast.