Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How Can Customer Reviews Help Small Business?

Customer reviews are a valuable assessment when it comes to seeing how well your business is currently performing. Try not to consider a review as something that is going to give your business a bad name; a negative review from time to time can actually help your business improve its standards. Whether it’s online or in print form, reviews are going to happen, and inevitably, your business will be reviewed at some point too.

Rather than avoiding reviews like the plague, Guy Arnold, an employer expert, believes that a business should relish reviews and collect them. This is because reviews can be used as a sign post for any company looking to validate the product or service they’re trying to sell. For example, when somebody uses Amazon, they are likely to read the reviews section for advice on the product; for Arnold, this is what’s known as the ‘buying signal’ for potential customers.

Social media and Trip Advisor are both crucial when ensuring your reviews are positively recognised by the public. Generate greater interest in your business when someone Tweets about it by retweeting that tweet and liking it. By doing so, people who wouldn’t usually recognise your brand are being exposed to your good product or service. Trip Advisor is particularly good if you want your business recognised nationally or internationally if you include more than one language on your page. Keeping your profile up to date, with your most recent picture included, is a good way of appealing to new customers on a regular basis.

How to get people reviewing

Rather than letting your customers go straight to Trip Advisor when voicing their concerns, let them come to you first. As Arnold suggests, a business should “encourage people to tell [the business] first if there’s a problem rather than post something on Trip Advisor”. This is to withhold any negative information that is out of your control being distributed on the internet.

If, for example, you are running a restaurant, why not include a note on the menu encouraging people to write a review to share their positive experiences on social media? If you provide a customer loyalty scheme, then you could market to customers that they’ll be the first to leave a new review if they subscribe. Sam Slipper, a cafĂ© owner in Cobham, Surrey, claims that she politely asks customers if they’ll leave a review as part of her marketing strategy.

Don’t take a bad review personally

Some people say that there’s no such thing as a bad review, because bad press is good press. As Arnold suggests, “people judge your restaurant on how you respond to customer reviews. If you respond well, say you didn’t realise there was a problem and how you rectified it, which will serve you well. Consumers are more interested in negative reviews than positive ones”.

As Slipper says, Trip Advisor reviews are a balancing act between ensuring you’re responding to the customer’s own personal distastes and making sure the overall experience for the customer is worth writing about. Suggesting that reviews have been ‘mixed’, Sam claims: “Mostly people only bother to post if it’s negative, which are generally personal preferences and not actually bad experiences. With negative reviews, we try to respond appropriately. The challenge is to make sure the customer experience is worth writing something good about!”

Using a review to your advantage

Think about how to best utilise a review within your PR strategy; as Arnold notes, “reviews are a phenomenal free PR tool”. Publishing reviews on your website regarding a great customer experience is always a fantastic way of generating more traffic to your website.

Always remember to publish bad reviews as well; this way, you’re ensuring that the business is ahead of the curve when responding to customer feedback. If you continually amend customer queries and problems, then over time, your business will need to make fewer long-term improvements towards your product or service.

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