Shaping User-Generated Marketing Strategy: The Importance of Customer Reviews

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What is a customer review/feedback?

A customer review or feedback is a piece of content (e.g. text, video, etc.) created by a customer expressing a positive or negative experience such a customer had with a business/brand.

How important is customer review to you?

The answer to that question may vary from one business owner to another. Not many businesses take customer reviews and feedback as seriously as they should.

And it’s understandable. You see nobody can tell you how to run your business and what you should focus on. You probably are having a good year; therefore, to hell with what customers may say, right?

Well, let me tell why you may be making the biggest mistake of any modern business.

The reason is pretty simple: your customers see it differently.

If you pose the same question to your potential customers, you will find that 90% of them search for and read online reviews. You’d also find that 88% of them trust online reviews as much as they do a recommendation from a friend.

And so, if you still take customer reviews with levity, you may be doing your business a disservice.

We are getting into some real talk now. Let’s get serious, shall we?

In the realm of user-generated content, customer review is king. In fact, customer reviews is a marketing strategy in its own right. In today’s business world, a brand evangelist is a great asset and should be taken seriously.

But…

Why Should Customer Reviews Be Taken Seriously?

Why not?

The numbers say it all.

If you take a peek into the Nielson Customer Trust Index, you will find that 92% of customers trust user-generated content (AKA reviews) more than they do advertising.

Reasons?

Because customer reviews are raw and uncensored; they are written by customers without the influence of the brand. The customers either love or hate their experience with the brand and they express themselves as such. Consequently, they are perceived as authentic and genuine.

Potential customers may turn to customer reviews to seek answers to questions they feel you may not answer honestly.

Ouch, that hurts but it’s the unfiltered truth.

Nevertheless, customer reviews has one enormous advantage. And that is: when you have a ton of positive reviews, they can help build your brand’s credibility. Reviews help new customers trust your brand more and can be instrumental in boosting your conversion rate and sales.

That being said, how you use customer reviews could determine how much of it benefits you can take advantage of.

For me, a proactive approach serves you better.

Here’s why…

If you have got a bunch of reviews on some platform somewhere, only a fraction of people may find them. For businesses in the hospitality industry, having lots of (positive) reviews on third-party sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor can have tons of benefits.

No doubt about that.

However, that’s only half the juice.

You can take it a step further and add those reviews on your website and social media pages. You want to actively share your customer reviews any chance you get. This will help you instantly gain the trust of potential customers who stumble on your site or social media page.

And that’s not even the best part.

If you ever decide to run an ad or promo campaign, customer reviews can completely change the playing field. As mentioned earlier, customers trust reviews more than ads. And so, during the course of your campaign, reviews can help you convert tons of skeptic strangers into paying customers.

Okay, smarty pants, if customer reviews are so powerful…

Why do I need a third-party review site?

Reviews may be powerful and effective; however, they are only as powerful as the platform they are found on.

Let me explain…

Putting your reviews on your website is a proactive move. I applaud that. But some web visitors are just too hard to please. Some web visitors may be unsure of the reviews on your site. It’s possible you influenced those, who can say?

To make matters worse, customers can smell baloney from half the world away. They are wary of sites that have all shiny reviews. And so, to be sure of your brand, potential customers will take to third-party review sites to see what other customers are saying about you.

This is why you need third-party sites like Zomato, TripAdvisor, Influenster, Yelp, etc.

Additionally, third-party review sites usually cater to specific industries, products, or service types. Therefore, you want to take advantage of all customer review sites that apply to your business.

Sound good?

Next…

How Can I Encourage Customer Reviews?

There are 2 ways to get your customers to leave reviews about your brand.

The first is through incentives. Yes, it is totally fine to encourage your customers to write reviews by giving them something in exchange. What you give in exchange is completely up to you. It could be coupons, discounts, gift cards, reward points, and so on. This really works.

However, it is not without its drawbacks. Requesting reviews/feedback in exchange for an incentive could cause your customers to write dishonest reviews that don’t reflect their actual experience.

You will end up getting shiny reviews that are false.

Why is this dangerous?

Because customer reviews help you know what customers think about your brand and can help you spot flaws. Now, if you have customers writing false positive reviews, you’d find yourself oblivious to the flaws in your brand. As a result of such oblivion, you miss out on opportunities to improve your offering and serve your customers better.

The second means is through follow-ups. Whenever people ask me how to get their customers to leave reviews, I reply: “Ask them.”

Yes, it’s that simple.

And the best time to ask a customer for reviews is when they have just bought your product or used your service. To do this effectively, you need to have an email prepped to be sent out on the occasion of a purchase.

For brick n’ mortar businesses like restaurants, you could encourage your customers to leave you a review right after their meal. Your guest Wi-Fi can serve as an incentive to help them connect to the internet and drop a review on your website or a third-party review site.

Let me state here that customers most often forget to write reviews even when they enjoyed their experience with a brand. Therefore, you must do well to remind them after have tried your product.

Let them know you value their feedback.

What If I Receive Negative Reviews?

When thou receiveth a scathing review, do not dismay, but rather rejoice for therein lies a great opportunity.

Okay, in modern English terms negative reviews aren’t pleasant to see. However, they are inevitable. No matter how great your business is, you can please everyone. And so, instead of taking it personally, you may want to change your perspective.

Negative feedbacks are great for 3 reasons:

  1. They help you spot areas of your business that may need improvement. Such flaws may be impossible to see from a business owner perspective. Fixing them would help you serve your customers better.
  2. They give you the opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into a brand evangelist. Responding to a negative review (politely) shows a customer that you value their business and feelings. Going a step further to resolve the problem and compensate the customer for their inconveniences can completely turn them from irate customers to raving brand ambassadors.
  3. It’s an effective way to win new customers. How? Because when potential customers see how you respond to negative comments, they can tell if you value your customers’ opinions.

The trick to handle negative feedback is speed. What I mean is the sooner you respond to a negative review, the better. A rapid response to a negative review helps you catch the customer before he/she takes their business to your competition.

Achieving Rapid Response to Customer Review

What if I told you that there was a way to respond to a negative feedback the instant it is posted?

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

No, it’s not.

Imagine you could get notified every time a customer drops a review on any platform you use. Just the same way you get a text message.

We have got just the tool for you.

SpotOn Review is a tool that brings all your customer reviews in one place. It will send you a notification the instant a customer leaves a review about your business. This will allow you to properly manage your customer feedback without having to log into multiple platforms. Or hop from platform to platform.

Now you can respond to a customer before they even log off the review platform and resolve their complaint.

Interested much?

Then go here and request a free demo to see how it works.

    Want to take action but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Leave your email below, and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP.

    Turn happy customers into positive reviews