Alon Eisenberg, Copy Editor at Trusted Shops discusses why product reviews are so important to your online success, and explores how negative reviews can also be beneficial to building your brand reputation.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that online reviews are extremely important for your company. Whether you sell on your own website or you sell products in a marketplace, reviews are read everywhere these days. Attracting them is the first step, but managing them is another important part of the game.
If you have your own website, you should definitely consider getting a Google-certified review provider. However, if you sell your products in a marketplace (like Amazon, eBay, or Alibaba), you know that most have an integrated review system which is very popular among shoppers and they can really be the X-factor in their decision-making process.
If you’re wondering how influential reviews can be, then consider the following stat: 90% of online shoppers are influenced to buy a product by positive reviews (source: Dimensional Research). That may or may not surprise you, but when 92% of customers trust “earned media” more than paid advertisements (source: Nielsen), the element of trust cannot be ignored. This tells about the times we live in: people have become even more cynical about classic advertising and prefer reading the opinions of a “stranger” rather than an actor on a TV set.
Reviews are an extremely useful tool for increasing sales; the tricky part is attracting them. There are lots of methods you can use to motivate your customers to send you their feedback. One important rule of thumb is that you have to ask for them. Sure, some customers will leave feedback without being asked, but chances are that your customers won’t go out of their way to give you their reviews without being asked. So, how can you ask them?
The first, most obvious solution would be to send an email reminder to your customers. Timing this email to arrive at the right time is crucial. Ideally, the email would arrive about 2 or 3 days after the arrival of the package. This gives the user enough time to test the product, and it’s still a short enough time where the customer will still be excited about their new product. Waiting much longer than this can result in a lower level of enthusiasm from your customer, and thus, a less impactful review.
Another popular method that you’ve probably noticed before is simply placing a small card in every package you’ve sent reminding your customers to leave a review. This is a physical reminder and placing a nice message, along with your company logo and a link to where they can leave the review is a good strategy.
Finally, making sure to display the right reviews prominently is also important. In certain marketplaces, you can’t really control this, but with other solutions, you can place positive reviews prominently on your page to make sure people notice it.
Responding to reviews is almost as important as getting them. Naturally, positive reviews are great for business. But what you might not realise is that getting negative reviews can be great as well. It’s all about how you handle them.
When getting a negative review, you should think of it as an opportunity to showcase your company’s superb customer service. Empathising with your customer is always important. Be sure to thank them for their feedback firstly, no matter if you agree or disagree with their point (and apologise, if necessary!). Making the customers feel like their opinion matters is the most important thing here. If they happen to give you constructive feedback, even better! Either way, let them know you care.
Secondly, you want to be careful not to react emotionally. Always keep a cool head. Keep in mind that this is a public discussion between two parties. So, even though you and you customers might be having a conflict, your interactions will be available for everyone on the web to read. Just remember: no matter what, don’t freak out!
Thirdly, you’ll want to explain what’s happened. Most people are relatively understanding. They are people and they know that you are a person as well. Sometimes, a package gets delayed. Sometimes the wrong colour gets shipped. Those things just happen and people understand that if you’re open and communicative with them. Explanations can help. Just try not to make it sound like an excuse. If something is your fault (or your company’s fault), own up to it, apologise and move forward.
That brings us to our last point: make things right. At the end of the day, everyone reading this review will want to see a happy ending. You can say thank you and apologise until the cows come home, but if the situation isn’t solved publicly, then it’s like watching a TV series with a “To be continued…” popping up at the last second. You really want to know what will happen, you’re pretty sure there will be a happy ending, but you can’t be sure until you really know. So, make sure your customer is happy, and make sure everyone knows that they ended up happy.
Getting reviews posted for your shop is the first step to building trust up for your business. But it doesn’t end there. Replying and resolving any issues publicly is imperative to your conversion rates, so knowing how to answer to customer feedback can make your company look trustworthy.
Trusted Shops has created a white paper, digging into the topic a bit deeper. Check out the Trusted Shops free whitepaper here.
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