Building trust is an essential component in encouraging your leads to become paying customers. It’s something that takes time to earn and can be lost in an instant.
When it comes to building customer trust, online reviews play a pivotal role. Now more than ever, consumers are reaching out for online reviews and recommendations of both online and brick and mortar stores. From restaurants to clothing stores, having positive reviews is a must for building trust.
Here are five things your business can do to get more online reviews and build a lasting relationship with customers.
1. Perfect Your Sales Funnel
Customers tend to naturally fall into a sales funnel formation when learning about a business.
The companies that take time to understand and hone that funnel are the ones that become successful over the competition.
Having a sales funnel outlined is about more than pushing people to make a purchase; it’s about understanding where your customers are so that you can help them accordingly.
While the sales funnel model has been adapted and reframed over time, the main stages include:
Developing your sales funnel and taking the time to understand customer behavior within each stage will help you serve your audience better.
The process of asking for reviews should also be worked into the marketing & sales task list. Ideally, for example, in the form of a follow-up to a purchase of a product or service. Work the review request narrative into the retention stage of the funnel after showing the four preceding stages of what your business is made of.
2. Create a Monitoring and Response Strategy
Dedicate time within your business to create a review monitoring and response strategy. As you work to increase online reviews, you’ll also need a centralized system to manage those data points. As reviews can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, you’ll need the right tools in place to handle the influx.
While customers will often leave reviews on sites like Google and Yelp, there are also passive reviews to be aware of. These are the reviews that come from tweets and Facebook posts in which your business may or may not be tagged. To source these posts and manage them, you’ll need a tool in place that helps with social listening.
For example, if someone tweets something negative about your business but doesn’t tag your Twitter account, it could go undetected. As a result, your reputation could get damaged and derail customer trust without you knowing until much later. Having a notification system in place will help you manage untagged mentions and reviews.
Having a response plan is also a must when trying to build customer trust. Your business should always respond to reviews, both good and bad! Good reviews should always be met with gratitude and appreciation.
Negative reviews should be met with empathy and a reconciliation plan. Determine the best approach to dealing with negative reviews of your business. Create a standard operating procedure and guidelines to aid the process. When you’ve rectified the situation, remember to ask for an updated (and positive) review.
3. Launch a Marketing Campaign
The best way to get customer reviews is to ask for them. While many well-meaning customers have positive intentions about leaving a review after a purchase, it’s rarely a priority. Asking your customers to review your business creates a sense of engagement and accountability. The more personal you make that request, the more effective it will be.
Launch a marketing campaign that focuses on getting reviews rather than converting customers. This could take place both via email and social media.
Use segmentation within your email lists to target both retained and lapsed customers. Depending on the nature of your business, you can also ask engaged audience members who have yet to make a purchase. For example, bloggers and coaches who have an online audience can take this approach.
For social media, schedule a few posts at various intervals requesting reviews from the community. You can create a personalized follow-up by using direct messaging to take a more human approach and generate more engagement and trust.
Create an SOP for this process and repeat it annually to reach new customers as your audience grows.
4. Share Your Positive Reviews
Reviews not only drive purchasing decisions, but they play a key role in SEO. In essence, the higher your business is rated, the higher it will be ranked on a Google search. Your ratings could be the driving force that puts you ahead of the competition when someone searches terms relevant to your industry.
For many businesses, that’s where it ends. However, those reviews can be repurposed in a variety of ways as an affordable-yet-effective marketing tool that builds trust and pushes conversions.
Take your glowing reviews and copy them onto a branded social media post to showcase your satisfied customers. Rather than waiting on your prospects to go searching for reviews, this brings them front and center. You can also use these reviews as a module within email marketing templates as a powerful form of social proof. Finally, listing them at the forefront of your website can help drive purchasing decisions as your customers browse and shop.
5. Prioritize Customer Service
While strategizing about how you’ll shine the spotlight on reviews is a valuable exercise, it’s not everything. Nothing will ever be more important than proving to your customers that they’ve made the right choice by shopping with you. How does a business accomplish this? Exceptional customer service.
Customer service should be at the forefront of your business. Treat each prospect and customer as a human, reaching out with a personal approach and making interactions as seamless as possible.
First and foremost, be accessible. Make it easy for your customers to reach out with questions or concerns. Don’t leave them on hold for hours on end while listening to elevator music. Be clear in your communications, so they know what to expect and how to get help.
Finally, be proactive. Predict problems before they arise. Reach out to customers to check in before they can report a problem. Offer support and prove your value as an organization.
With these five tips, you’re well on your way to capturing more online reviews, managing your reputation and build a trusting relationship with both current and future customers.