When you are dealing with an audience you haven’t even interacted with, the look of your website and more importantly the online reviews will drive customer’s trust in your business. According to a brightlocal study in 2015, 88% of consumers now form an opinion by reading 1-10 reviews and 92 % consumers read online reviews before making a purchase! It means only one out of 10 people trust you blindingly, and 9 of them follow what others recommend!
Trust is a big deal, offline or online. It extends way beyond E-commerce. And in a rapidly evolving digital marketplace positive online reviews and testimonials are your best bet to earn that hard found trust.
But how do I get people to review my business, read on:
1. Optimize User Experience
They say that people volunteer to review only in two circumstances- Either their experience was paramount or it was extremely unpleasant. Though you must not seek the latter, but optimizing UX is critical to get more positive reviews. There are thousands of ways in which you can alter your website to improve consumer experience but there some basic requirements which are unalienable:
- Get your website designed with latest tools and programming experts.
- Keep your website’s design easy, simple, user-friendly and attractive.
- Employ intuitive navigation features like drop down menu, tabs instead of linked texts
- Use images and embed product videos to improve its aesthetics.
- Optimize elements of your webpage and bring the loading time to a bare minimum.
- Provide real-time support to your customers with chat box and prompt replies. Don’t let their inconvenience turn into a negative feedback.
- Create a USP and stick with it. All your branding activities like email, marketing campaigns etc need to be in-sync and complimentary to each other. Be consistent with what you do.
- Do not just collect and display positive reviews, analyze the negative reviews and understand the weak points of your website and the area where it needs improvement.
2. Make reviewing easy
This is one another reason for getting your website designed by professionals. There are ALOT of approaches in which customer feedback and reviews can be recorded from consumers, but it needs to be painlessly straightforward.
- Allow users to post reviews without the need of a login. Use cookie profiling and let known customers leave reviews without logging in.
- If your website has to have a log in for reviewing, use simpler options like social media login.
- Put direct links to your review profiles at different places (email, homepage, listing websites) and save users’ labour.
- Show consumers visually what are they actually reviewing.
- Ask for only the bare essentials (like star rating), and make everything else optional.
3. Remind your customers
A satisfied customer (who reads aplenty reviews) doesn’t usually feel the need to review a service, many a times they might plan to post a review but the idea often slips out of their mind. Such customers need to be “asked” for reviewing your product or service. As long as your consumers are satisfied by your service, they won’t be bothered to give you feedbacks.
- Send Emails to old customers- Always be extra polite while asking for a feedback. It’s always better to ask “how are they feeling” instead of directing them to post a review right away.
- Show your customers that their reviews are important for you. Communicate the value of feedback and try to build a partnership with them.
- Also show them how their feedback is going to benefit themselves in the long run. Sometimes people just don’t want to make an effort for someone else’s benefit but if it helps them in some way, they are more likely to send a feedback (and suggestions).
- Display that your business is feedback focused. Subtly incorporate it in your website and other elements. A signage saying “your feedback matters”, asking for feedback other than post sales process, rating the answers to FAQs.
4. Employ multiple ways of reviewing
One of the best examples of successful reviews come from firms who have multiple entry points into the process. It is very important that users have plenty (a bit too many) options to give you feedbacks:
- Social media- Create social media profiles at various platforms for your business, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube acts as great in-roads to your business.
- Listing services- Local search directories like Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo local, Angie’s list allow members to write reviews about local listed businesses. Get reviewed at such places and directly link them with your overall reviews.
- Add CTAs and feedback buttons directly on your websites. Have a dedicated testimonials and “review us” page.
- Niche review sites- If your website deals with a specific service (like hotel) get reviews on related websites such as trip advisor, Expedia etc.
- Emails- Email service providers generally ask for permissions to open external links, creating a doubt in people mind. Alternatively directly ask for a “text reply” in your Email.
5. Give incentives
Now this is the most motivating technique to get generally positive reviews. Offering a small incentive is a good way to show your appreciation but don’t try to buy good reviews because if it gets highlighted, you lose trust and respect from online community and can even get blacklisted from major listings like Yelp.
- Share coupons and discount vouchers for every successful review.
- Increase the incentives gradually on subsequent reviews by the same consumer, inspiring them to engage with your business more often.
- Share special offers for fans on social media.
- Send bigger incentives for significant reviews. For instance a giveaway for a video review or a prize for “most liked” review.
- Reward a random reviewer every month to motivate participation.
As a final tip, design your form to thank the reviewer for the feedback and try to respond to every feedback (especially the negative ones). A timely reply and an apparent will to serve your customers is the key for building online trust and in essence, a successful business!