When you last purchased an item online, what exactly did you do? What was your first move before your purchase?
In most cases, if you really thought about this, the first thing you probably did was to check out what others were saying about the product. Customer reviews:
- Did they like it?
- Did they find it did everything it was supposed to?
- What problems or difficulties if any did others experiences?
- Would they recommend the product to their friends and family or for that matter to anyone who may also be interested ( like you)?
You need to know that most people who take the time to read the comments are more than likely to believe them. Comments are considered by to be a trustworthy source regarding the product or company by pretty well everyone who reads them.
Therefore, it is critical that if you are promoting your business online to learn what your followers think of you.
Even if your business is a local business, the type of reviews you receive on Facebook will invariably mean either increased traffic or decreased traffic.
You are probably more than aware that as a local business your lifeline is repeat business. Unless you are located at an airport or similar venue you cannot rely on new business from new traffic flowing by your kiosk to stay afloat.
That is why your customer’s experience is so critical. Don’t ignore the fact that a very disgruntled customer leaving your store is not likely to leave their experience to themselves.
The disadvantage these days is that people are more likely to leave a negative comment on your business page than even complaining to their friends and family. A far greater reach for sure.
Not only that, but your business does not even have to have a Facebook page to feel the wrath of a disgruntled customer.
While on your business page you have the ability to filter comments the existence of review sites such as Google and Yelp means that people can and will go somewhere to voice their opinion and make sure their voice is heard.
You are not immune to the social media frenzy. The disgruntled will search out and find review sites to voice their concerns.
For those who think that it is only local businesses that face this fate, no one is immune. One of the greatest backbreakers for online businesses is severely negative reviews.
The unfortunate problem with this is that for an online business it is sometimes instigated by a competitor, making it even harder for a business owner to survive online. But, that is another story.
You Cannot Hide So What Should You Do?
The written review is probably the most revered review for new followers. So motivate your customers to leave a review.
Ask them to tell you why they are using your product. Encourage them to leave a message regarding how the product has helped them.
Have them post a photo of them using the product or the results they had with the product.
Encourage them to let you know if they had any difficulties and how their concerns were handled and most of all, yes, would they recommend the product for others?
Depending on your business, there are several ways to encourage feedback. Remember negative feedback probably does not require any encouragement, however, positive feedback probably will need some nudging.
Visitors to your store could be handed a feedback card that could be dropped into a box upon leaving or even on a return visit.
Like the store, your online visitor could be sent an email that links directly to a “feedback” card that they can fill online.
Ask them to review
- their experience
- the product purchased
- satisfaction with delivery
- why they purchased the product
- would they purchase the product again
- would they purchase any other product from your site
- what other products would they be interested in seeing available on your site
Lastly: remember to leave an area for additional comments, thus providing them an opportunity to write in their own words their experience. By the way, these comments are a perfect source for testimonials.
Make sure you respond to their feedback, be it positive or negative. Let them know their time taken to fill in the form was greatly appreciated. You may even send a discount coupon for their next purchase.
If they voiced concerns, let them know that you not only appreciate the concerns but will try to either rectify it or at least look into it.
Follow up with these concerns.
As to when you might ask for their feedback ( review) it really depends on what your business is all about.
The aforementioned feedback cards are ideal mostly for restaurants whose business depends usually on repeat business.
In many cases, the manager or owner is not always on site at all times so the cards let them know just how their staff or food is being perceived. This provides them with the ability to correct issues quickly.
Feedback cards returned on the day are very useful and it would be a complete disservice to your business if you or someone in your organization does not review these cards.
However, for businesses whose products that are not used right away, or that may take time to have any benefits then you will need to give them time. This could mean anywhere from a few days, a couple of weeks or perhaps even months. You need to know and understand your product to determine this.
The critical part of this is to not forget about them. Don’t let them stew if they are not happy and do not leave an opportunity to add to your business any positive reviews. Both are equally important to your business.
If you do not have the time source it out.
Regardless of being a brick and mortar business or an online business, you are still dealing with people.
Your business is very much dependant on your people near and far.
If you find questionnaires or surveys too daunting then at least get them to leave reviews on your Facebook page.
You must ask them, encourage them, do not assume they will.