How to Encourage and Manage Online Customer Reviews

These days more and more of your customers are turning to online review sites to see what others say about your brand before making a purchase.

Should you care about this? Absolutely. It may come as a surprise, but 90% of consumers trust the reviews they find on these sites, and use them to make informed purchase decisions.

Is what they’re finding about your brand on these sites positive or negative? Either way, you can take steps toward nurturing the right reviews and responding promptly to negative ones. Here’s how.

customer-reviews

 

Managing What’s Being Said About Your Brand

The first step in ensuring that online reviews actually help you attract more customers is to monitor those reviews. You need to know what your customers are saying about your brand and take necessary action.

If the reviews are positive, wonderful. Be sure to comment on each and thank the reviewer for the kind words. If you have a few negative reviews, it’s imperative that you respond promptly. Apologize for the difficulties the reviewer had, and offer to make the situation better. Invite her back for a complimentary meal, or offer to replace the item she’s unhappy with.

Remember, keep emotions out of it! Sure, you’re likely upset at what a customer wrote, but lashing back will not help you look like the understanding business owner you want to be.

Your prompt action on a bad review will make the difference in how potential customers perceive your brand. If you show that you’re proactive about fixing a negative situation, they’ll take that into consideration.

How to Get More Positive Reviews

Naturally, positive reviews will attract more customers. But how can you get them? The first step is making sure your profile on each review site is fully filled out. Include a description of your business, photos, links to your website, and other details people want to know about.

Yelp for example discourages you from soliciting positive reviews directly, but there are ways you can still encourage your customers to review you.

  • Display a Yelp sticker on your window
  • Send a link to your Yelp page via email
  • Invite customers to “check you out on Yelp”

The above three action points can be replicated just as easily for any other review site.

Now, Get Them Back in Your Store

While you shouldn’t directly offer a special discount in exchange for a review, surprising your reviewers with a promotion can help you get them excited to come back.

Yelp also has deals you can offer to bring people looking at your review page in. These are definitely loss leaders (discounts are usually 50% or more off of regular prices), but they’re a fantastic way to introduce your brand to new customers. If the product and service are stellar, they’ll be back for more.

Staying on top of what’s being said about your brand on customer review sites will play a massive role in helping you attract new customers to your business.

But remember getting customers in is just the first step, to keep them coming back you’ll need a powerful loyalty software that rewards customers based on their unique buying behaviour.

Click here to find out more about how The Loyalty Box can help you boost customer retention with a range of powerful loyalty solutions.

 

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three books about entrepreneurship, marketing, and PR, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz.