Collecting customer reviews is an essential part of online reputation management and a great way to build credibility for your product or service. To truly nail the practice and maximize the effect, however, takes a bit of doing.
Fear not: this guide will give you what you need to collect customer reviews and win!
Why are Customer Reviews Important?
Customer reviews will help you gain credibility with potential clients. Of course, you’re going to say good things about your company, but what about those who have actually done business with you? This third-party validation is important information for those who are considering what you have to offer, as it provides social proof, which often holds more weight than words that come from the company itself.
Furthermore, customer reviews will increase your bond with satisfied clients, help with SEO efforts, and give you valuable material for marketing. Reviews are also a valuable, but essentially free, source of consumer research, letting you know what you’re doing well at and what could use work. Even negative reviews provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your responsiveness and prove your dedication to a positive end result. Let the collecting begin!
Make a Webpage Where You Can Collect Positive Reviews
Your customers aren’t likely to just shout your praises into the wind. (And if they did, who would hear?) You’ve got to give them a place to provide feedback.
One way to do that is to build a dedicated webpage on your website to make it easy to leave a review. This drives traffic to your site while allowing you to handle feedback internally.
There is a myriad of external sites dedicated to review collection and display. Amazon Customer Reviews, Yelp, TripAdvisor and many others factor into the landscape, often centring around specific industries. If you are looking to collect reviews of these websites, providing direct links to your external profiles will make it easy for your customer to leave feedback on those sites.
Of particular relevance is Google reviews. These reviews can, and will, exist whether you’re involved or not, so it’s important to create a Google Business Profile (GBP) account (formerly known as Google My Business), which will enable you to respond. In fact, optimizing your GBP account should be at or near the top of your online reputation management to-do list. Also, like the other review sites, be sure to make it easy for your customers to leave their feedback by linking to your Google Business Profile review page.
Encourage Customer Reviews and Make it Easy
The first rule of collecting customer reviews is the KISS rule: Keep it simple, stupid!
A form that’s easy to find or a URL that’s easy to remember will increase traffic to your reviews page. If you told somebody about your review site in passing, would they be able to find it?
Don’t be shy about encouraging reviews. Include a prompt with invoice emails or paper receipts. If you run a brick-and-mortar business simply ask customers to do it from across the counter. Never underestimate the power of suggestion.
When customers visit your review page, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops in order to leave feedback. It’s one of the basics of user experience; the fewer steps it takes to complete something, the higher the probability that people will actually do it. If you’d like to use your website to collect more extensive survey data, by all means, do so, just don’t make it a prerequisite to the process of leaving a simple review.
Avoid Review Gating when Collecting Customer Feedback
Review gating seems like a slick trick, but it’s actually detrimental, widely prohibited, and a bit sleazy. First, you privately solicit feedback from a recent customer. This is often done via email, or through a review intake form on your website. Satisfied customers are then encouraged to leave a review, while those “unpleased” with their experience are handled internally.
The practice has been banned by Google, Yelp, and other review sites, for its obvious lack of objectivity. Stacking the deck with positive reviews via review gating is a bit like winning a popularity contest at your own birthday party, a hollow victory. What’s more, it may actually deter would-be clients. A perfect review record simply strikes most readers as just too darn good to be true. In fact, one study (medium) shows that ratings between 4 and 4.7 hit the sweet spot, with 5-star reviews coming off as just a little too sweet.
Of course, it’s generally accepted that the feedback you choose to use in your marketing materials is going to skew positive (we’ve never been asked to include a negative review on any website headlines).
Making websites easy to navigate. Displaying reviews. Creating and/or optimizing Google Business Profile pages. These are all things we do every day at Peak Ed Designs. We’re proud to help our customers manage their online reputation by providing them with professional websites and by educating them with insights about best practices.
Do you want an online presence that reflects the quality of your business?