We’re in a world of information overload. We’re sharing every aspect of our lives on social media. We’ve got WhatsApp groups coming out of our ears and it seems like everyone is an influencer on something. So, how does today’s consumer know who to trust?
In a study on ‘The critical role of reviews in Internet trust, 2020’ (Canvas8, Feb 2020) Consumer review websites rank 2nd as most trusted by consumers in the UK and US to provide honest opinion about a good or service; only ‘family and friends’ ranked higher.
It’s no surprise that 8 out of 10 of the top 10 start-ups of 2019 all feature open platform reviews on their home pages & in their advertising. They know that popping a trusted platform widget in their social media adverts or feed of the last reviews to their homepage rapidly overcomes buyer fears and concerns by saying ‘people like you trusted us and were happy to share their experiences to help you pick us too’.
But to be able to do that, you have to have ticked three boxes in your planning stage:
1. Select the Right Platform for your Customers
Understand what platforms they trust and which ones they look to for comfort when spending. If you haven’t got time to ask your customers, look at where your competitors are having success or which platforms meet the trust needs of your typical customer segments.
- Which ones do customers think are most credible?
- Where can customers be sure that the negative reviews haven’t been filtered out?
- Is it easy to leave & find a review on the platform?
2. Recency of Reviews is Crucial
Today’s customers want to share their views & experiences – if you give them somewhere to do it – it makes it easier for them & for your business. Look for easy ways to invite your customers to leave reviews and make it clear that it is your platform of choice.
- Look at your customer journey and identify which touchpoints can be used to communicate and invite reviews from your customers.
- Embed invitations in your digital order communications & create dedicated digital review invitations once customers have received or experienced your products or services so they know where to go.
Without a regular flow of reviews it won’t look credible & that will be the impression your prospect has despite fact you have improved things. Therefore, recency is key.
If Barbara had a problem in June 2019, you need new reviews to show that John in April 2020 had no such problem and is super happy.
3. Prepare your Response
Think of reviews as the final step in your customer journey – plan to respond. You are hopeful that that customer wants to come back again and they have taken time to leave their feedback to help others chose you.
Contrary to most beliefs, people don’t only go online to leave scathing reviews. If you have given customers a good or, hopefully great experience and you invite them to leave a review, customers are increasingly happy to take 2 minutes.
It has now become an expected part of our buyers’ journey; we want to leave a review because it’s not just to tell the business what they do great or not so great, it’s to help others like ourselves. So, if your customer took their time to leave you a review…
- Thank them – be courteous
- Leave a personal message which fits with your brand tone of voice– relate to something in the comments if you can because it will feel like you really do appreciate them
- Take action – if something hasn’t met their expectations, you will need to thank them and explain what you are going to do next. Visibility of making things right shows potential customers that you will take responsibility if things don’t go to plan.
Your business or client might be worried about the transparency of having customers leave reviews openly, that’s normal. Reviews are not to be feared – have a plan to respond in the right ways & be prepared to make things right. Bad reviews can very quickly be turned into great reviews and great reviews drive loyalty & revenue.