Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Customer Reviews – How to get Customer Reviews that Matter

Review Stars Customer reviews are becoming essential to the online decision making process, with over 75% of consumers reading reviews first before buying.  Online reviews are becoming as relied upon as personal recommendation, and rarely do we go out to buy now without reading reviews online, even if we don’t buy online.  You may not even have realised how much your buying habits have changed, the the web has changed them dramatically.

One problem with customer reviews is that it can be hard to get them.  Happy customers frequently can’t be bothered to write reviews and say how delighted they are, unhappy customers are much more likely to.  Amazon has led the way with customers reviews, and been able to do so mainly because it has such a huge customer base even though only roughly 1 in 1000 leave a review.  So if you’re a small business publishing reviews can be difficult.  0 reviews can be ambiguous. 

There’s the problem, because if you’re a small retailer asking for reviews you’ll probably be finding it extremely difficult to get enough to make a difference, and I know that I, for one, don’t trust product or service reviews where there are just a very few.  How can you be sure that the retailer hasn’t written them themselves, or asked someone to on their behalf.  We don’t just look for one or two reviews now, we look for many, and those products move fast.

How to get Customer Reviews that Matter:

Invite customers to review products they’ve purchased, by email
Offer an incentive but make it clear this is for a review, good or bad
Make your questions as short as possible
Ask for simple star rankings
If possible ask for basic information about the reviewer – people are more likely to buy products purchased by ‘people like them’ (Examining the Relationship Between Reviews and Sales)
Put review invitations in other places, such as newsletters ‘review your recent purchases’

Don’t be afraid of bad reviews.  If you get enough reviews you will receive both good and bad.  Make sure if possible you can be seen to answer any bad reviews – replace products promptly and ensure that everyone can see that you have.  In this way you can use bad reviews to increase brand loyalty and turn a lose into a win.

If you just sit there and  hope that customers will review your products or the service offer they won’t.  You have to be proactive.  And reviews are increasingly valuable to improving conversion rates.  This can only grow.