Leverage Customer Reviews Effectively to Attract More Business
By Richard Rutigliano, PriMedia Inc.
If your customers or clients appreciate the work you do for them, it’s important to leverage their opinions to strengthen your business. The 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal indicated that 88 percent of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. Thirty-nine percent said they read reviews on a regular basis, and 72 percent said that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
Here are eight steps to make customer feedback a prominent part of your marketing—and, of course, to increase business.
- Make this a company project. When you decide to stir the pot and encourage customers or clients to share their opinions, it has to be a company project. Every manager and employee is potentially influencing perceptions, and they need to nurture relationships every chance they get. Explain the plan, insist on everyone’s commitment, and solicit ideas from the team.
- Develop a company persona. Your company has a culture and persona, whether you like it or not. Take control of your message, voice and image. Cultivate an effective style and use it in every communications channel: telephone conversations, sales calls, service calls, advertising, newsletters, customer letters, websites, social media, message on hold, etc.
- Create a presence on all review sites. Customers review companies on a variety of sites, with the big names being Yelp, Google and Angie’s List. Find all the sites that are relevant to your company and post an optimized company profile on every one. PriMedia uses specialized software to help clients achieve consistency across multiple review sites (which is vital for SEO purposes) and to monitor reviews.
- Add a reviews portal to your website. Create a reviews portal that makes it clear you want people to see your reviews and add new ones, with links to current reviews and a note about how to review your business. Incorporate the customer testimonials you gather in the same portal.
- Talk up reviews with customers and prospects. The confidence you express in the review process is a vital part of the message. Reach out systematically to customers and clients and ask them to give you feedback and review you online. Make it easy to reply and find your online listings, and be clear about how you plan to use their feedback (i.e., in advertisements and on your website.) In all customer communications about reviews, be transparent and use your best voice.
- Respond effectively to all reviews. The reviews arena might well be where prospects and even customers make their final decisions about whether to use your company or a competitor. Use a positive tone when responding to reviews, good or bad.
- Maximize your mileage. Include samples of your reviews on your home page, in your newsletters, advertising, brochures and social media. When you are comfortable being open to public evaluation, you send a great message about the company.
- Monitor the results. Watch all the review sites closely so you are on top of everything that is being said about you.
If you want to ramp up your customer reviews, PriMedia is happy to help. Please give me a call at 800-796-3342 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.