It’s easier than ever for prospective customers to learn about your brand. In fact, information is often just a click away. For many people, the most important information comes from your current customers. Prospective buyers want to know what kind of experience they can expect. According to Pew Research Center, 82 percent of adults read customer reviews at least some of the time before making a purchase. Of those, half say they always or almost always access those reviews online. What does this mean to small businesses? Online reviews matter!
Encourage customers to share the love
Getting those all-important reviews is easy. According to a recent survey, 68 percent of people left a review for a local business after being asked to do so. Ask and you shall receive! Here’s how:
- In-person: Turning happy customers into online advocates starts by asking your satisfied customers for reviews in-person. In a study, businesses that asked in-person saw seven to eight times more reviews than those who asked via email. After an associate makes a sale, have them invite customers to share feedback in online business directories or on your social media pages. If a specific employee or department shines, show appreciation with a branded thank-you gift. The Rock Star Highlighter or a star-shaped pen are great rewards.
- Online: When customers perform an action online, like participating in a customer service chat, completing a download or placing an order, send them to a thank-you page where they can also leave feedback. Provoke thoughtful responses by asking, “Are you happy with your experience? If so, please share with others.” If a customer leaves their name and a review, show your thanks with a small gift, such as a chocolate business card or logo’d key light.
- Email: Customers are more likely to review your business right after purchasing a product or service, so be sure to follow up with them. Send a thank-you email shortly after you close a sale and ask for a review. Email newsletters are another great place to prompt customers to leave feedback. Enter those who do into a monthly drawing for branded thank-you swag. A logo’d cooler or bamboo barbeque set are great prizes.
Whether you solicit reviews in person, online or via email, the feedback you get is sure to help both potential consumers and your business. Show appreciation to those who take the time to share their opinions with a branded thank-you gift.