Consumers find comfort and reassurance in the opinions of others. In fact, 52 percent of consumers reported that positive customer reviews make them more likely to invest in a local business, compared to just 28 percent who make selections based on factors including location and price.
The word-of-mouth referral predominantly in use today takes the shape of the online review. Whether it’s on Yelp!, Google+, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, the BBB or another digital review outlet, the opinions of others carry a significant amount of weight when it comes to where consumers invest their time and money. In addition, leading search engine sites place greater SEO value on “earned input” such as reviews, creating several key reasons for businesses to make a concerted effort toward encouraging reviews.
How can businesses get more positive reviews for their products and services? The easy answer: Invest in engagement.
Focus on clients and customers
A predominant factor in any business’ operation is the satisfaction of its clientele. If a business isn’t operating effectively, reviews will show it and, ultimately, will detract from efforts to build a positive brand reputation. Focus on the basics: Provide excellent goods and services and the results will translate into positive reviews.
Ask for reviews and make them easy to give
Hotels and restaurants frequently use in-room or at-table comment cards, while some retailers tend toward online or phone survey requests strategically placed directly on receipts.
Casual restaurant chain Not Your Average Joe’s invests heavily in customer feedback and uses clipboard-mounted iTouches that arrive at your table along with your bill and a request that you complete an in-restaurant survey about your dining experience.
Businesses employ these strategic methods to obtain in-the-moment customer feedback before guests depart or customers shift their focus elsewhere. What’s more: These are simple methods to obtain immediate feedback and useful, positive reviews.
Solidify and extend your digital presence
Company websites have been usurped by the proliferation of review sites and, of course, social media engagement. Each platform represents an opportunity for businesses to further extend their digital presences and engage diverse demographics. If your business does not yet have a Google+ business profile, it’s time to set one up. Properties on which consumers can leave third-party reviews and feedback further increase digital rankings and link-back opportunities for your business.
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly!)
Opportunity to obtain customer feedback is at its peak when the customer is still “in the moment.” One creative approach to in-store feedback is digital surveys contained within device-charging stations. While customers charge their phones, they can complete a brief in-store survey. For online stores, consider emails including links to social media properties or the testimonial section of your website. If your business ships a product, include postage-paid comment cards at the very top of each shipment. The easier you make it for consumers to provide feedback, the more likely they will take the time to give it.
Monitor your online reputation
In the field of public relations, measurement and analytics are becoming a critical baseline for the success of any campaign. With hundreds of digital properties available to secure feedback, every business should consider a method of tracking that ensures a prompt response time. For example, to cultivate useful analytics, Axia Public Relations offers a solution called ReviewMaxer, which tracks all reviews (positive and negative) through a single dashboard. It provides alerts and social sharing benefits to ensure that any negative reviews are brought to your attention immediately while making it easy for you to broadcast your positive reviews quickly and widely.
Generating positive reviews can at first seem a daunting task. Some businesses succeed by just keeping it simple, while others use innovative, creative approaches. Some offer incentives such as coupons, discounts or free gifts. Whichever approach you take, the goal is to increase engagement with clients and customers in order to ensure more repeat business. Axia can help your business shape its own reputation by managing online reviews and delivering useful analytics. For more information, check out our online review and reputation management webinar today.
Wendy Bulawa Agudelo has more than 15 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and non-profit public relations. In addition to serving on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force, Wendy enjoys cooking and rooting for her favorite New England sports teams.
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