Customer reviews can make or break your business. They can build your customer base or force you out of business. According to a study from BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. If you want your audience to trust your company, you have to consider the kind of effect online reviews can have on your business.
Want to get the most out of your customer reviews? Here are five things to start doing right now.
1. Read the reviews.
Do you want to know what your customers think about you, your company, and your products and services? If so, you need to actually read the online reviews your customers share with you. You may be on a tight schedule, but taking the time to review their commentary can help improve your overall business.
For example, you may have several negative reviews posted on sites about your company. These reviews are hurting your reputation. If you don’t review them, you could lose customers without clearly understanding why. By regularly reading these reviews gives you the opportunity to see what your business is doing well and what it can improve on.. You’re getting valuable feedback from your customers. All of it is worth taking into account.
2. Be responsive.
Reading reviews is one thing. Responding to reviews is another. People who leave negative reviews generally seek a reaction or response from the company. Their motivations can be anything from sparking a company change to wanting an official company apology. Positive or negative alike, you should respond to reviews as soon as possible.
For instance, a customer might leave a review complaining about the quality of your product or service. If you fail to respond, you allow this review to hurt your business even more. Responding to reviews, especially the negative ones, can be challenging. Try seeing the situation from the view of your customers. Visualize what they are feeling and what they want to hear. Once you put yourself in your customers’ shoes, it will be easier to respond to their complaints. This will bring you one step closer to building a trusting customer base.
3. Learn and take action.
You shouldn’t just read and respond to reviews. You need to take action to make changes. Take advantage of this information by making adjustments to improve your product, service, or overall business structure.
Listen to your customers. Your business should be tailored to their needs and wants, so listening is important. If several customers leave negative reviews about your company’s product quality, do what you can to enhance the product’s quality.
4. Encourage customers to leave reviews.
Feedback is a vital part of a company’s growth and success. Encourage your customers to leave reviews, even if they are leaving negative reviews. Directly ask your customers to submit reviews either on review platforms, via email, at your social media handles, or by completing a survey. Encouraging your customers to leave reviews will help you better understand what they want and need from your company.
5. Make sure customer reviews are authentic.
No customer wants to read fake reviews — and you can always tell which ones are fake, too. Reviews are read because people trust the experiences of others. You need to gather authentic reviews from your customers in order to gain their trust. Encouraging people to leave reviews without incentivizing them can be difficult, especially since they might leave negative reviews. However, negative reviews can be reduced if you show that you care about your customers’ feedback. Pleasing customers isn’t a perfect science, but making a sincere effort will go far in winning their loyalty. Focus on gathering authentic customer reviews and do what you can to read them, listen, take action, and encourage customers to leave more reviews. Then, customers will be more likely to trust your brand.
Alayna Pehrson is a business and finance content manager for BestCompany.com. She frequently collaborates with various business and finance professionals to create educational as well as inspirational content.