Most people do a little online research before they buy something. It’s much easier now with all the available information on the web.
One of the things they always look for are reviews – what other customers are saying about the product or service. People naturally tend to think that opinions from regular users like them are more honest than professionally made and sponsored advertisements.
As they exert a strong influence on the purchase decision, an online stores business can thrive or dwindle depending on how well it manages this powerful marketing tool.
It’s Okay to Ask
The best, meaning the most authentic, customer reviews are those that are voluntarily written by your customers. That doesn’t mean, however, you should simply wait until someone finally decides to make one and post it on the web.
There is nothing wrong with encouraging your customers to give feedback. It is a means to gain insight on your target audiences preferences. You don’t just get positive testimonies; you also gain more information on how to improve your business.
An online form or survey on your website is the most common means to do this. Craft the questions in a way that can extract the most information. If your online store sells computer tables for example, ask which specific model they chose and why. You get to know the real selling points of your products and also acquire a detailed review that delivers more impact than a general compliment.
Another set of tools you can take advantage of is online services like Google Places or Yelp. It’s easy to set up a free business account on these sites and create a page for your store. This can then serve as a hub for all your customer reviews.
It’s important to set up your feedback or review system in a way that seamlessly fits into the whole customer experience you’re trying to build in your online store. If it becomes intrusive or distracting, hopefully they’ll just ignore it. Worse effects are they might leave or respond negatively to the survey.
Don’t Forget to Respond
It’s not customer engagement if you don’t continue the conversation. Responding is easy enough for compliments. It becomes difficult when the review is negative. Bad reviews are perhaps the primary reason why some online businesses shy away from using this tactic, but there are ways to handle this risk.
You need to determine whether the negative review points to a legitimate problem, just a misunderstanding or a malicious attack. Most of the time you’ll need to respond to be sure.
The worst you can do is become emotional and get into an argument with the reviewer. Always maintain a professional demeanor, stick with the issues and respect the other persons opinion. You should approach it within a customer service framework. At the very least people will see your business as one that is genuinely concerned with customer well-being.
This article was written by our guest blogger, Michelle, someone who loves sharing her knowledge on ways that business leaders, even with businesses selling computer tables, can use social media to generate sales.