How to generate positive customer reviews online

When we talk about positive customer reviews, we are talking about a positive customer experience or CX. People trust online reviews so they should be part of your marketing strategy.

If you want to compete online then customer reviews are essential. Positive customer reviews are the end goal, but negative feedback also provides an opportunity for improvement.

We believe customer experience is everything and that positive reviews are important for businesses looking to increase loyalty and profits. So, here we share our insights and advice on how you can generate more positive customer reviews online.

Why do I need customer feedback for my business? 

The more feedback you receive, the more confident you will be in making great decisions for your business. Insights will enable you to improve the customer experience and ultimately your profits.

Here are six reasons why customer feedback is important in business:

  1. Customer feedback helps improve products and services.
  2. Customer feedback enables you to measure customer satisfaction.
  3. Customer feedback provides data to empower business decisions.
  4. Customer feedback builds loyalty by showing customers you listen and care.
  5. Customer feedback can create better customer experiences.
  6. Customer feedback can increase staff satisfaction by rewarding good behaviour.

However, customer reviews, particularly online reviews, can be a divisive topic amongst business owners. 

People fall into one of two camps, either ‘too nervous to ask’, fearful of any negative comments, or the ‘I know best’, dismissive of any feedback that doesn’t align to their thinking. Neither set a helpful foundation for achieving positive customer reviews.

Research shows 80% of companies say they deliver ‘superior’ customer service while only 8% of customers thought the same about those companies – how would your customers rate your brand?

The holy grail is a business leader who understands the importance of genuine customer feedback, is accepting of the feedback, and is prepared to alter or improve certain aspects of the business to enhance the overall customer experience. 

Essentially, you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. 

How important are customer reviews to a business? 

Reviews not only have the power to influence consumer decisions but can strengthen a company’s credibility. Reviews have the power to gain customer trust, and they encourage people to engage with the company. Engagement ultimately leads to improved profits for businesses.

  • 91% of 18–34-year old’s trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 
  • 93% of customers have been influenced to make a purchase by an online review.
  • 4 out of 5 customers have changed their mind on a purchase after reading a negative review.

Love them or loathe them, these are the facts that sit behind purchasing behaviour today, and if you don’t have positive online reviews, you are at a disadvantage to a competitor who does. (Source: Qualtrics October 2020).

Six-steps to generating positive customer reviews

As the UK’s largest customer experience consultancy in the UK, insight6 Specialists have worked with hundreds of businesses to improve their CX. So, we have put together a six-step method to help you generate more positive customer reviews for your business.

  • Map and test your customer journey 

It’s crucial to walk in your customer’s shoes – and regularly map your customer journey – to see what they see and experience the customer journey as they do. 

Mapping your customer journey will give you first-hand knowledge of any glitches in your processes, where you really add value, and where you may need to make improvements or streamline. 

  • CX culture must be instilled from the top 

The phrase ‘a fish rots from the head down’ is true when it comes to CX. You must set the tone for the culture and deliver the experience you expect your employees to replicate. A good leader is prepared to ask the questions they make not like the answers to.

In fact, your employees are your biggest customer group. 

To enable your employees to deliver a great experience to your customers, you need to deliver a great experience to them to ensure that they remain motivated and engaged. Do you know the one simple (but essential) thing leaders can do to improve employee engagement?

How many negative reviews do you think could result from a disgruntled employee? Mentoring and coaching for leaders can really improve the CX internally and result in better customer reviews.  

  • Have a robust resolution plan 

Every business is going to come up against issues from time to time. The skill is turning a negative aspect into an overall positive experience. 

You need to be able to see your business through the eyes of the customer. Make sure that you have mapped your customer journey and know exactly where all the potential pitfalls lie. 

Once you have identified potential gaps in the customer journey you can begin to put robust resolution plans in place for each scenario, enabling your employees to help rectify the issue for the customer as quickly and painlessly as possible - delivering an overall good experience.

  • CX Reviews (mystery shoppers)

Forget the cliché ‘mystery shopper’ of the 90’s retail world. A detailed CX Review should report everything, from the number of times a phone rang before answering to how many days it took to receive a follow-up call or email and specific questions you may want answers to. 

You need a level of analysis that provides you with actionable insights, allowing you to identify and address any potential issues that could generate negative reviews.

At insight6 our CX Reviewers are highly skilled and trained research professionals – regarded as the best in the world. Yes, our team will check if your staff are polite and friendly, but they delve much deeper into your business to test your entire customer journey, from how you deal with initial enquiries to delivery of services, aftercare and more. Each CX Review is designed individually to suit every business. 

  • Customer feedback

Asking for feedback proactively forms part of the strategy to developing organic positive customer reviews online. 

Continuous customer feedback enables you to monitor how your business is performing and how customers feel about you – depending on the type of feedback tool you use; this can even be done in real-time. Instant online feedback tools such as our instant insight solution is the quickest and most efficient way to spot any blips in your customer experience.

More detailed customer feedback should be undertaken periodically to delve deeper into any themes that come up in your rolling feedback – this is generally better done as a focus or listening group – to fully understand the customer viewpoint. 

  • Training and development 

One of the most common and frustrating mistakes we see is businesses collecting customer feedback but failing to do anything with it. This is where it really helps to work with a CX specialist. 

You need to analyse all the data from your customer feedback, mystery shops, and customer journey map and identify where your business or team would benefit from specialist training or development.  

insight6 Specialists take this data and design bespoke training and development workshops for their team that have a positive impact on customer reviews. 

How to decide which online review sites are the best

Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Trustpilot? There is no simple answer.

Firstly, it depends on your objectives behind the reviews. Are you looking for detailed feedback to really understand how your customers are feeling about your business so that you can continuously improve? Or are you looking to use online reviews as a promotional tool to increase business? 

With so many online outlets for customers to leave reviews, what works best for your business will very much depend on your target customer, what media they consume and what channels they use. It’s also worth remembering that many customer reviews are never made public, and in many cases, these can be the most powerful and valuable reviews to a business. 

How to maximise the value of customer feedback

Online customer reviews are great for building trust, proving credibility and increasing sales but they offer so much more to a business if collected and analysed correctly. 

At insight6 we work with our clients to fully understand the objectives and target market when designing a feedback system.  If feedback is not requested appropriately, it is a wasted opportunity at best; at worst, it can create a negative experience and become counterproductive.

With our instant insight solution, we can help you analyse the feedback from your customers (or team members) at a much deeper level than self-service alternatives, enabling you to benchmark different criteria over time but also against competitors in your sector. 

Where a business will really see the benefits of a tailored feedback system is in the front-end design. Our CX Directors work with clients to pinpoint the correct questions to ask, in the right tone of voice and the correct time to request feedback. 

Are you looking to increase online customer reviews to drive traffic or sales to your business? In that case, our instant insight solution is a great way to capture quick and simple feedback or reviews from your customers with the option to automatically post to a whole host of public review platforms such as Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and Trustpilot, Trip Advisor and many more.

How to manage negative online reviews

Don’t be afraid of the odd negative review. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time, and customers would be suspicious of any business that had a perfect 5* record – fake reviews are bad for business.

If you have mapped and regularly tested your customer journey, you’re happy with the motivation and culture of your team, and you are regularly seeking and monitoring customer feedback, then you can be confident that it’s an anomaly. The key is how you handle it.

Remember, customers aren’t always right, but it's your job is to make them feel that they are! Acknowledge and thank them for their feedback, apologise for the issue and assure them that it will be investigated and if the issue remains, it will be rectified. 

Serial complainers will always do what they do best, but, if your business is generally delivering a great customer experience, you can usually rely on your customers to defend and call out a rogue review – and this is worth its weight in gold.  

Ultimately, improving your customer experience is the surest way to retain loyalty, reduce cost and increase profits. And it’s easier than you might think. 

The very act of asking customers for feedback has been shown to increase customer loyalty three-fold whilst also making them more profitable customers. 

At insight6, our unique and tailored solutions allow businesses to transform their customer experience cost-effectively, from end to end, with the dedicated support of a local expert. To find your local CX Specialist and discover how we can transform your customer experience, call +44 (0) 800 970 8987 or visit www.insight6.com.

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