If you want to make more money, ask your customers for reviews and then respond to those reviews.
People read reviews and on these basis of these reviews decide whether or not to spend their money at your business.
Reviews are increasingly significant (for better and worse) for local businesses. Nothing is better than a personal recommendation but if this isn't possible they turn to reviews. Reviews for plumbers, schools, doctors, cars, washing machines and any other product or service they might need or want.
I always check out reviews before visiting or using a local business.
If I'm in an unfamiliar area and I'd like a coffee I'll search 'coffee' in Google Maps and read the reviews for local cafes. This is what attracted me to Nectar on the Tweed coast two weeks ago.
If a rare date night is coming up and I need to book a restaurant I'll create a shortlist of options and then see what other customers have posted. This is how I found the best Japanese restaurant I've been to.
If we're on holidays and I'd like to find somewhere fun to go with the kids I'll see what other parents are saying about local attractions. My wife and I still talk about the time we went against our better judgement, ignored the reviews and wasted time and money at a very ordinary tourist attraction.
Reviews used to be big in niche industries, such as restaurants and hotels. This hasn't changed - healthcare, hospitality and hotels continue to top the list, followed by automotive and dentists (source). However, reviews are influential in new sectors too. For example, job seekers are increasingly consulting reviews about potential employers before they apply for jobs.
I realise that not everyone is like me, but research suggests I'm well and truly in the growing majority.
As a result:
Ultimately, if you want your business to grow, reviews are key.
Reviews are important but it's not as straightforward as getting as many good reviews as you can. There are seven factors that customers take into consideration when consulting reviews.
In summary, people want to see:
More than 40 reviews, many of which have been shared in the last 3 months, with an average rating of 4⭐️ or above. The reviews should be a mix of both positive and negative sentiment and the business should be promptly responding to these reviews.
You might think this is unreasonable, but as I reflect on my own experiences and expectations this 'recipe' rings true.
If you want to make more money, asking and responding to reviews is an important strategy. Here's some examples.
If you don't ask you don't get. 68% of people will provide a review if asked (source) and people are more likely to write positive reviews than negative reviews (source). The very fact that you are commited to asking for reviews will influence the customer service you provide and give you an edge over your competitors.
Kmart asks customers if they would like to sign up for the newsletter and if they would be willing to review their purchases:
Unicorn sent me this follow up email after they provided (great) support:
When I purchased two quilts from Halycon Dreams last week I received this request via email:
If you need to, offer incentives for reviews (as long as it's within the rules of the platform you're using). Airbnb offered a $25 coupon in exchange for reviews and saw a 6.4% increase in reviews (source). When I purchased coffee recently I was sent a follow up request for an email, along with a 15% discount code:
Not every customer is going to be satisfied and potential customers understand that. But 88% of people read the replies that businesses post (source) and these are opportunities not only to retain existing customers but also to win over potential customers. This review was honest and not at all positive, but the restaurant's follow up had a big impact:
I've been researching washing machines and I've ruled out companies that don't reply to comments on Product Review. Being active on Product Review isn't the high water mark of excellent customer service (it's not hard to post a reply saying "We're sorry you've had a bad experience, please email us and we'll follow up"), but by not doing this on such a large platform, companies risk looking like they don't care.
If you need help developing a strategy for growing your business with reviews, please get in touch.
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