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4 Ways to Make Customer Reviews Work in Your Favor

Posted by Caty Mills

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Thumbs Up on Customer ReviewsDo you encourage customer feedback? Do you make it easy by ensuring you have a clear system in place that allows your customers to effortlessly leave comments? Let’s hope the answer to both of these questions is a resounding "yes."

If not, you’re missing out on some great opportunities to leverage that information.

What are you doing with those excellent remarks your customers leave for you? Are you reading them and, afterwards, giving yourself a nice pat on the back? Are you collecting all that data and storing it a nice Excel file, only to forget it’s there?

Or, are you putting that data to good use by taking those positive customer experiences and letting them work a little smarter for you? It’s no surprise that 88% of customers read online reviews to determine the value of a local business, or that 72% say positive reviews influence whether they trust a local business (according to a 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey from BrightLocal).

However, reviews aren’t necessarily there just to increase conversions. They also boost website traffic through search and keyword rankings. Data from The Conversation Index, Volume 8, found that businesses that have 10 or more reviews see a 15-20% increase in search traffic, and having 50 or more reviews for each product increases conversions by 4.6% in most instances. In other words, more reviews mean more revenue for you. The Index also discovered that customers who previously interacted with reviews generally had in a 3% increase in the value of the average order, a 62% increase in revenue per visit and a 58% higher conversion rate.

Here are four tips to leverage your customer reviews and testimonials to drive conversions and increase ROI:

  1. Make yourself visible. Create an online reputation management strategy to ensure you’ve not only claimed your business page on sites like Google+, Facebook and Yelp, but that you've also established a plan for managing the reviews you receive.
  2. Pump up the volume. Now that you’ve claimed your pages, it’s time to encourage customers to leave reviews. Ask VIP customers to comment on one of your business pages. These are a great place to start and they rarely have any issues doing so. Add icons to your site for the business pages you’ve claimed with a clear call to action (CTA) encouraging vistors to leave their feedback. Still not seeing enough? A fun social media contest that encourages reviews can give you a little boost and increase engagement on your platform.
  3. The good, the bad and the ugly. Respond to positive comments. It’s okay to have prewritten responses if there are too many to answer one by one. Just make sure it’s genuine and appreciative so more people feel encouraged to share their input.

    Don’t forget about the bad reviews. It’s not realistic to think you won’t ever have a negative review, or that you can sway every unhappy customer into becoming part of a lifelong relationship. The old saying “The customer is always right” rings true here. Reply politely asking for a phone number, email, private message, etc. – anything to take the conversation offline. Train employees to kindly manage the issue, and above all, know what you’re willing/able to offer to make that customer view your business in a positive light.

    And for those ugly moments when you just can't turn someone's perception around, it’s best to just politely smile and nod, via your computer, thanking them for their input and letting them be on their way. Argumentative or combative conversations will only make matters worse.
  4. Collect the data and use it. Have a designated person on your team that can regularly review customer reviews. Then, take that data and learn from it. Share it with other departments, customer service, sales, operations, etc. The more you listen to your customers, the more you can improve how you do business with them to keep them coming back time and again.

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Category: Marketing Strategy
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