How to Deal with Customer Reviews – Good & Bad – to Improve Sales
Customer reviews - whether you invite them or not - are inevitable.
Social media and a rise in review websites has made it easier than ever for consumers to share their experiences with your brand.
Reviews are now an essential part of the online shopping experience for many consumers. 61% of all shoppers make the effort to find and read them before making a purchase decision.
This means that reviews – good or bad – are actually a positive for your business. They increase conversions, eliminate doubts and foster trust in your brand. They’re also great for SEO.
And while you can’t control who leaves a review and where, you can control how you use those reviews to improve sales. Here’s how:
We’ve seen that reviews are good, that consumers actively seek them out and use them to make a purchase decision. So it stands to reason that the more reviews you have, the better.
In fact, 50 or more reviews per product can lead to a 4.3% increase in conversion rates.
That’s a lot of reviews. How do you reach those heady heights without paying people off?
You invite customers to share their feedback after making a purchase, and you make the reviewing process as simple as possible.
Follow up via Email
Send a friendly message a few days after the customer has received their order. Their shopping experience will still be fresh in their mind, and they will have had time to try out the product.
Make sure the email contains clear instructions on how to leave a review.
Use a Reviews Provider
A third-party review provider, like ReevoooreKomi, is an effective way of getting reviews – many major retailers use such services. It takes the hard work of soliciting for reviews out of your hands and these sites are generally highly trusted by customers.
Ask for Reviews on Product Pages
Allow customers to leave reviews directly on your website. If it’s good enough for retail giant Amazon...
The downside to this is that people who haven’t actually bought the product can leave a review. You can counter this somewhat by asking customers to sign-in first.
Make an Effort to Reply
Now that the reviews are steadily coming in, it’s time to engage.
Customers appreciate it when you reply to their feedback. They’ve taken the time out of their day to leave a review, so it feels rewarding to get a response.
If the reviews are positive, a simple thank you is more than enough. But try to avoid a stock response and personalise the message somewhat.
If the reviews are negative, your response is of utmost importance. It might be tempting to delete or ignore bad reviews or worse still, send an angry reply. But none of the above will help increase sales or do anything to improve your brand’s reputation. Amy’s Baking Company is an excellent example of how not to deal with bad reviews.
It’s far better to...
Turn a Bad Experience into a Positive One
Bad reviews are an inevitable part of business. Mistakes are made, a customer is left unhappy and they vent on social media or review platforms.
Whatever the reason for a poor review, you can turn it on its head.
First, thank the customer for taking the time to leave feedback. Address the comments made in the review and if appropriate, offer your side of the story. Accept responsibility for any genuine mistakes that your company has made, be sympathetic, and apologise.
You can take it one step further by offering a refund or a discount off a future purchase. Small business owner Jim Lankes does this and has found that over half of those he refunds leaves a second more positive review.
This kind of gesture is almost always gratefully received, and there are several possible positive outcomes:
- You retain the customer and gain a loyal patron for life
- The customer leaves a second, more positive review (as in the case of Jim Lankes)
- Potential customers are impressed by the way you deal with complaints and decide to shop with you.
Use the Feedback to Improve Your Products and Service
This final point might seem a bit obvious, but it is incredible how many companies fail to take feedback on board.
The majority of reviews (including positive ones) will include feedback that you can use to improve your products and customer service.
You can fix almost all legitimate issues raised by customers. Slow shipping times? Find a new courier. Difficult to navigate website? Hire a developer to improve it. Poor customer service? Give staff further training.
Improving your product and service in this way will strengthen your company, increase sales and lead to more positive reviews than negative.
Consumers are becoming ever more vocal about their shopping experiences on social media and review sites. You can’t avoid reviews; in fact you should actively encourage them.
They can be an excellent tool for improving conversion rates, boosting your brand’s reputation and increasing customer loyalty - if you know how to use them.
Hi there, my name is Mark. I have a degree in business and marketing and work as a marketing consultant, so as you can imagine, I love talking about business and helping businesses to furtherimprove their customer interaction. If you would like to get in touch with me, please feel free to email me here.