Co-founder and Managing Director of Reputation House. Marketing and Communication expert, public speaker and author.
Let’s be honest: A strong online presence and reputation can make or break a business. Based on my experience in the online reputation management field, I know that customer feedback remains one of the most powerful tools for building your brand on the internet.
Reviews are a critical aspect of consumers’ decision-making processes, and they can significantly impact a company’s bottom line. However, I’ve noticed there is a funny aspect to this situation: CEOs and top management generally understand the importance of feedback, yet they often struggle to handle it effectively.
Positive reviews can lead directly to sales growth.
The impact of online reviews on sales cannot be overstated. According to a study by Power Reviews, 98% of consumers see reviews as an essential part of the decision-making process, and 45% of users won’t purchase a product if there aren’t any reviews. Another study also revealed that the best-selling products or services typically have a rating between 4.2 and 4.7. The logic behind this is quite easy—positive reviews play a frontline role in helping a company generate more leads and increase profitability.
Even having just one review can have a substantial impact on sales conversion. As the number of reviews grows, so does the conversion rate. For example, when a business accumulates 11-30 reviews, it can experience a conversion rate that’s two times greater than with zero reviews; while reaching 101 reviews can boost the conversion rate by 250% or even more.
Communication is key (one of them).
Do you really seek feedback from your customers on the products and services you offer? From my experience, only about half of the companies truly commit to manage feedback from both clients and suppliers. Nevertheless, utilizing feedback as a communication channel is not just a valid strategy; it’s a crucial one.
You’ve already conquered the most challenging part of the sales funnel by acquiring a customer, selling them a product or service and satisfying their needs while turning a profit. Now, it’s time to extract even more value by motivating them to share their experiences on various platforms.
There are numerous methods to do this, from sending texts and emails to utilizing messengers and social networks, implementing push notifications on your website and app, and even incorporating QR codes on your products and at the point of sale. Your creativity is the only limit to the possibilities.
While it’s possible to collect feedback without significant financial investment, sometimes certain strategies may add extra costs, especially when actively working to improve your online reputation. However, I’ve found the benefits of gathering and managing feedback far outweigh the expenses, as it helps you retain existing customers and attract new ones.
Offer win-win scenarios.
Let’s talk about motivation. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: How often do you leave feedback without any additional motivation from the salesperson? Just like you, your customer would want to benefit from helping you.
In the business world, these situations are often called win-win scenarios. Consider offering bonuses, promo codes, discounts on future purchases, free merchandise and services, early access to new products and exclusive apps. Motivation plays a significant role in decision-making, whether it involves buying a product or posting a review. By giving the customer what they desire, you can encourage them not only to promote your brand on the right platforms but also to harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
However, don’t overlook the ethical aspects of engaging with customers and soliciting feedback. You shouldn’t buy feedback from your customers; instead, you should only encourage them to provide it.
Feedback should be valued not for its length or detail but for its honesty and unbiased nature. Yes, sometimes customers may leave negative reviews, even if you’ve hoped for a positive mention. This isn’t a problem but an opportunity for further improvement, development and communication. Use it wisely and you will grow.
It’s all about motivation.
With nine out of ten customers reading reviews before making a purchase, CEOs can’t underestimate the power of feedback and reviews when working on online reputation management strategies. Drawing from my business experience, here’s a clear plan for sales managers:
• Provide customers with incentives. Consider offering discounts on future purchases, exclusive access to new products or entry into a contest to motivate customers to leave feedback. But make sure the incentives align with your brand’s values and resonate with your target audience.
• Simplify the feedback process. Make leaving a review easy with user-friendly forms, and offer multiple submission options (e.g., email, website or mobile app). Ensure it takes only a few minutes of the customer’s time.
• And, of course, express your gratitude for their feedback. A simple thank-you message or a personalized response to someone’s review can go a long way in building positive relationships with your customers. Acknowledging their input makes them feel valued and more likely to engage in the future.
Today, online reviews are not just reflections of consumer sentiment; they are powerful drivers for your business. It is clear, they can either help you build trust and credibility or bring you down. And the importance of motivating customers to share their feedback, while maintaining ethical practices, cannot be ignored. The future of your business is up to you!
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