Customer Reviews: The Positives and Negatives
You are what (Reviews Say) You Do
Until the internet gained popularity, it was difficult to accurately research the quality of products. Some publications had professional reviewers, but besides that and word of mouth, there wasn’t much to go off of. But now, anyone and everyone can be a reviewer. That means anyone can accidentally harm businesses they love through online ratings too. And not just for deciding which ice cream scoop gets the roundest, most consistent scoop. Customers can review businesses too—and what they say can make all the difference. This means customer reviews should definitely be a part of your Marketing Strategy
Positive reviews are a crucial metric
According to recent data, over 90% of customers people check reviews before making a purchase or deciding which business to use. And while scores typically fall on a five-star scale, there’s really only two regions; 1-3 stars are bad, 4-5 are good. Fall under 4 stars, and most people start to get nervous and look towards competitors. Get under 3, and you’d better be an essential service with no competitors or a franchise of a major corporation that already has brand recognition. Yes, they can be that important.
But as a smaller or local business, you likely won’t get such luxuries. Upset or angry customers are also three times more likely to write a review than someone who had a positive experience. So, if you have a small business that could greatly benefit from positive reviews, how do you help them come in while reducing the effect of negative experiences?
Method 1: Respond quickly
Despite your best efforts, there’s always going to be someone who gets upset with you for some reason. And if they’re emotional and upset, there’s a good chance they’re exaggerating—or even posting for the wrong company with a similar name. Responding quickly and offering to make the situation right can mitigate these reviews and might even make the reviewer reconsider updating the rating.
Turning on notifications when a new review is posted is probably the easiest method of preparation. Once you get the notification, plan your response and act calm and professional. And remember, you negative reviews often show you where you can improve! Your response can be a chance to address any wrongdoing on your part, or if there’s nothing that can be fixed, show others that you are friendly and reasonable.
Method 2: Ask for reviews
Asking for reviews can be effective, even though it might seem a bit pushy. If you use a database like a CRM, with a little foresight you can keep track of people who had positive experiences. Sending an email them, asking them to share their experience means you have low risk of getting a negative review. In fact, it provides an opportunity to earn some positive ones.
If you prefer old-school methods, you can try asking in person. Or giving a business card or a handout that has a link to your review page. Keep in mind that without any kind of follow up, people forget. The easier you can make it for them, the more likely it will work.
Keep your reviews on your site!
By putting a widget that pulls reviews onto your site, you immediately establish credibility. Even if you don’t have a 5-start overall rating, that’s okay; some marketing experts even claim having some negative reviews is better than all positive because it makes you seem more authentic. So embrace the negatives and turn them into a positive using them to your advantage—but don’t go out looking for them!