Photo credit: Thad Zajdowicz
If we want to succeed in business, we’re told to find out what our customers want and then give it to them. Lots of research goes into determining consumer preferences and desires. However there is one thing that consumers look for that businesses, and especially small businesses are reluctant to provide. That missing element is customer reviews of our businesses and our products and services.
I talk to many small business owners, and when I mention the many reasons for collecting customer reviews online, most of them start edging for the door. They are very reluctant to have customers posting comments about their businesses in such a public way, and they are afraid of losing control of their business reputation and their brand to unhappy customers, disenchanted former employees, and scheming competitors. They are happy when a customer posts a positive review for their business on the Web, but they don’t want to encourage that kind of behavior by asking their other customers to post reviews.
This is dumb! First of all, you can’t stop your customers or other interested parties from leaving reviews of your business. You don’t have the power! So if you can’t prevent Web Word of Mouth, shouldn’t you try to make the Web work to your advantage by encouraging your satisfied customers to post reviews? Second, your consumers are looking for reviews of your business to help them make the decision about whether to buy from you or not. Shouldn’t you provide what these consumers are looking for? Shouldn’t you ask for reviews to respond to this consumer desire for information about your business and your competitors? I think you should and if you think about it, I think you will too!
Surveys show that about 60-70% of Internet users research businesses, products and services before they buy. They are looking for customer reviews and business reputation information, and surveys show that they generally find online reviews to be credible sources of information. Most consumers are smart enough to look past the occasional rant or the SPAM review. In fact research shows that an occasional negative review makes the other reviews more credible. So don’t worry too much about an occasional bad review.
Ask your regular customers to provide recommendations for you online. Make it easy for them to do so, and thank them for their recommendations after they follow through. It’s easy and it will pay big dividends for your business over the long run. Let us know if we can help you get started.
- Should I be asking customers to review my small business? (marketing.yell.com)
- Online business reviews – tips for getting started (marketing.yell.com)
- How to Achieve Greatness With Your Company’s Online Reviews (contently.com)
- 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Their Online Presence (openforum.com)
- Customer Service – The Key to Building Your Business (arinobe.com)