We all know customer reviews are a great way for businesses to build a good reputation for themselves online and attract new customers.
Many businesses ask us, “How do I get my customers to review me?”, and our simple answer is: “Just ask them..!”. To make this easier, we have a marketing program called the Happy Customers Program, which provides businesses with Review flyers to hand out to their customers and other online tools to help them build a strong bank of customer reviews.
The tools available on the Happy Customers Program has helped thousands of businesses build their customer reviews, but below are three unique, fun and proven ways to build a strong bank of reviews.
Use an iPad or laptop
If customers are with you and you have a good rapport with them, this can be a great strategy. For example, a hairdresser handed her regular clients an iPad and asked them to review the salon while they were getting their hair coloured or waiting to be served. We find that most customers are happy to leave feedback for a business they love, it’s just about finding the time to do so. This hairdresser went on to collect nearly 100 reviews over 2 years using this method!
But it doesn’t just work for hairdressers. We also spoke to an accountant who asked his client at the end of every meeting if they would leave him a review, and then turned his laptop around for them to do it then and there! He found that his clients were happy with him, but just couldn’t find the time to leave him a review when they got home so rather than wait and hope, he took the process into his own hands. So have an iPad or laptop in the store, salon or workshop – it’s a great way to collect feedback from customers then and there.
Enter customers names into a draw to win a prize
Entering customers name into a draw has worked wonders for many business focused on building a bank of customer reviews. We previously spoke to an accounting firm (a different from the example above) who made getting customer feedback a top priority and made it fun by telling their clients that if they left them a review (positive, negative or neutral), they’ll go into a draw to win a TV! We don’t expect many businesses to offer that kind of prize. Instead, we had a tradie use a similar strategy, but the prize was two movie tickets! The prize didn’t cost him much and he found that it gave many customers a bit a of nudge to leave him a review on WOMO. Make collecting feedback interesting not only for the business but also for the customers!
Get your staff on board and give them the recognition they deserve
Make sure all of your staff know how important reviews are to your business. A photo printing business found that after asking customers to review them, they had such a huge response that they printed out the best reviews and posted it around the office and shop front for staff and customers to see! Another cleaning service business started handing out Award Certificates to staff who had the most mentions in the reviews. The manager said that these awards had no cash or bonus element to it, but found that it was just a great way for staff to be proud of the work they are doing and also for their team to understand standard that the business rewards great customer service. When you recognise staff for doing a great job, they’ll feel like they’re actually part of the business and its values.
Building a strong bank of customer reviews is not as easy as sitting back and hoping that one of your loyal, regular customers will give a shout out the next time they’re with their friends. Unfortunately some business owners still feel a bit uncomfortable or apprehensive about asking customers to review them or to give them feedback. However, if you ask your customers and use just one of the proven tips above, you’ll be able to build a strong bank of customer reviews in no time, which will benefit your business well into the future.
For more information about the importance of customer reviews, read our article on 10 Reasons to Encourage Customer Reviews
This is part of a 3-part series where we dispel three common misconceptions that businesses have about reviews on WOMO.
Myth 3: It just takes one negative review to ruin my business
We bust the final myth that many businesses have about reviews on WOMO. The third most common misconception about online reviews is that it takes just one unhappy customer ruin the reputation of a business by writing a negative review.
If your business has received negative feedback online, try not to panic too much. Feeling shocked and being upset after reading something negative about your business is understandable. From our experience, even the best businesses can make a mistake or will have unhappy customers. If it’s just one customer’s opinion, you really have nothing to worry about. If you have 1 negative review out of 10 positive reviews, potential customers can see that the negative review is a once-off. (It’s when you start seeing 4-5 negative reviews out of 10 positive reviews that there would be cause for concern!)
So what if you only have one review and it’s negative? Don’t sit back and let that one review speak about your business. Instead, take control and proactively reach out to your happy customers and ask them to review you! Focus on building positive feedback about your business. This will help minimise the negative review. If one negative review is surrounded by 10 or 15 positive reviews, then that review doesn’t have much weight. (If you’re serious about building your reputation online, please take a moment to check out WOMO’s Happy Customers Program)
Business needs to be proactive when it comes to their online reputation. When you have a strong and positive presence online, it can protect your business in the rare occasion a customer is not happy with your service.
Fact: Customers understand that mistakes can happen and businesses can’t guarantee that every single person will be happy. So long as the business has an overall positive reputation online, one unhappy customer is not enough to ruin a business’ online reputation.
This is part 2 of a 3-part series where we will be dispelling three common misconceptions that businesses have about reviews on WOMO.
Myth 2: Once the review is written, there’s nothing I can do
Following our previous article where we busted the myth that anyone can write a review for a business on WOMO.com.au, the second common misconception that many businesses have is that once a review is written about their business, there’s nothing they can do about it.
Again, this is not the case! For starters, all reviews on WOMO need to comply with our Fair Play Policy (which you can see here). So if there’s anything written in the review that you know is factually incorrect (i.e the pricing), or if you believe that the review is not from a paying customer, you can flag the review as being Suspect or Inappropriate and we will temporarily suspend the review and contact the customer to confirm the details in their review (in some cases we will require proof of purchase).
In situations where businesses receive an unfavourable review from a paying customer and their review complies with our Fair Play Policy (keep in mind that less that 7% of reviews on WOMO are negative), businesses can comment publicly on the review or send a private message to the reviewer (so long as the review was not submitted Anonymously). To do this, all you need to do is Claim Your Listing by clicking on the “Is this your business” link.
Reviews are not a one-way communication! Commenting on the review publicly is a fantastic way to explain your side of the story. It also gives you the opportunity to show potential customers who have stumbled across this review that you’re a business who is not only aware of customer feedback online but you’re also very concerned about providing good customer service.
Click here for more tips on how to respond to negative reviews and what not to write publicly!
Fact: Businesses have a right to reply to all reviews on WOMO. You can query aspects of a review that are factually incorrect and can also leave comments to demonstrate how you handle things when they go wrong.
This is part 1 of a 3-part series where we will be dispelling three common misconceptions that businesses have about reviews on WOMO.
Myth 1: It’s not fair because anyone can leave a review for my business
The number of internet users reading online reviews has risen dramatically in recent years. In fact, a recent Nielsen survey found that 78% of people trust consumer recommendations above all other types of advertising and marketing.
Businesses understand the power and impact of consumer reviews on their brand, so it’s not surprising that some of them worry that the nature of being online means that anyone and everyone can review their business.
This is definitely not the case! At WOMO.com.au, the integrity of reviews is extremely important and only customers who have paid for a product or service can review a business. (All reviews on WOMO also needs to comply with our Fair Play Policy which you can see here).
Customers who call up for a quote but weren’t happy with the pricing cannot review a business. Those who walk into a store but do not purchase anything also cannot leave a review for the shop. And in situations where a business has to turn down a job, that customer cannot go onto WOMO and write a review for the business. We understand that not every business is the right choice for every customer. (But we also believe that once a business takes on a customer, they have a responsibility to provide a good level of service.)
Fact: Only customers who have paid for a product or service can review a business.
If you’re concerned about fake negative reviews, we have many measures in place to protect businesses from suspicious reviews, which you can read about here!
Starting and growing a thriving business is definitely not easy… BUT the recipe is simple.
By getting the of fundamentals right (providing a great service and encouraging customers to review you online), small businesses can essentially forget about needing to do sales and marketing – because your customers do this for you!
This leaves you free to focus on great service delivery. Which means that your customers will be even happier.
When customers review you online, they are essentially building your online reputation while also improving your SEO (search engine optimisation). This means that more people that are searching online for a business like yours will find YOUR business. And when they click for details, they’ll see all of your customers saying glowing things about you. Recommendations from other people are the most convincing type of promotion you can do.
New research shows that 79% of us will do a search online when it comes to looking for a new business, product or service and 71% will read reviews before choosing a business. With so many businesses to choose from, more and more consumers are turning to online review sites, social media and forums to read about the experiences of other customers before making their decision.
Online customers reviews are a valuable tool for consumers, because it’s a great way for them to get insights to businesses, which then allows them to make informed and faster decisions on whether to use that business.
A study conducted by The Local Consumer Review Survey in 2012 of around 2800 local consumers in the USA, Canada and the UK found that:
- 75% of people read online reviews of local businesses
- 72% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 64% of consumers read between 2-10 reviews before deciding to use a business
- 52% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if they have positive reviews online.
The study also highlights the growing importance of online reviews in influencing a customers decision to use/choose a business. The shift is that customers appear to be less swayed by location and price, which does not guarantee reliability and quality of the service or product.
Similar findings have been made in Australia. A 2011 Nielsen Survey of 5000 people found that 71% of them read online reviews, discussions or comments about businesses before purchasing. Also, a 2012 study by Sensis found that on average, people read between 5-10 reviews before making a decision.
What does this mean for your business? With changes in technology and increasing use of mobile phones, more and more people will be searching online for a business. The study shows that businesses don’t only need to think about getting found online, but the most effective way to build the brand and trust with consumers searching for your business.
For businesses who have listings on WOMO.com.au, make sure to claim your listing and respond to any customer reviews you have. For those looking to build their brand and online reputation through customer reviews, have a look at Happy Customers Program!