On their own, positive customer reviews can be powerful, but when you actually get involved in the conversations that people are having about your business, you can really shake things up – for the better! So don't see customer reviews as something you have no control over – listen, encourage and engage with your reviewers!
Here's our top tips for responding to positive reviews…
1) Respond Publically (but be human)
Here's a fantastic opportunity for you to showcase your business and demonstrate just how customer focused you are. But be careful to approach it person-to-person and avoid the urge to sound like a marketing machine. The people reading customer reviews are looking for real insights about businesses – a sales spiel is out of place. Simply focus on;
- Thanking the reviewer for their patronage and feedback
- Reinforcing something positive they've said
- Acknowledging any minor negative points they've raised
- Welcoming them back
If it's relevant, and you can do it in a tasteful way, you can also use it as an opportunity to point out any additional or new aspects of your business. (See below for some examples.)
2) Share Externally (spread the word!)
Online customer reviews can often be found by people searching online, but why limit their exposure to that? Include them in your sales proposals, showcase them using a widget on your website, display them in your showroom, post them on your Facebook wall or Twitter account, link to them in your email signature, and generally get as much leverage as you can from every positive customer review. In a recent survey we conducted with businesses on WOMO's Happy Customers Program;
- 94% said that reviews helped them convert more prospects into customers
- 92% said that reviews helped convince prospective customers to trust them, and
- 90% said that reviews made their sales process easier
3) Share Internally
One of the major advantages of positive reviews, is the positive impact they can have on staff morale. So don't keep them to yourself – print them out and post them around the office, reward any staff mentioned, and generally demonstrate that this is exactly what you want everyone striving towards. In the same survey;
- 91% said their customer reviews helped them provide better service to customers
- 79% said that customer reviews had improved their staff morale
4) Reward Privately
Often, you might want to reward customers that refer others to you or that review you online. However we suggest that you do this privately, as a thank-you – otherwise it can look like you're bribing or incentivising people to review your business. If you give your reviewer something unexpected, they're more likely to remember your business and refer even more of their friends your way. You can also use it as an incentive to get them to use your business again. (See below for some examples.)
5) Encourage More Reviews
Online customer reviews can have enormous influence – especially once they reach a tipping point (around 5 positive reviews) where people seem to start thinking "well, if so many people say they're good, they must be – I'll try them myself". We have many businesses saying they get a considerable portion of their new customers from customer reviews so they definitely work!
So how do you get more reviews? Simply get into the habit of asking each customer if they're happy, and if so, would they mind reviewing your business online. You can email them a link to your listing, send them a flyer (we'll provide these for free if you're part of the Happy Customers Program), or put a "Review Us" button on your website. Not everyone will respond but if they're happy with your service and get a personal request from you, around 10-30% will generally review your business online. It won't take too long before you have a great bank of positive reviews.
Sample responses to positive reviews:
"Thank you so much for your kind comments. I'm so glad you liked the white chocolate mousse – it's actually one of my personal favourites too (along with the dark chocolate torte of course)! I'm sorry that your coffees took a while to arrive but hope it didn't detract from your evening too much. We look forward to seeing you again soon – maybe for your birthday this time! Renae"
"Thanks a lot for your feedback. I was only too glad to be of help! Hope you and the family are finding your new dimmer switches useful. Let me know if you want to get an outside light rigged up when you do the verandah. Thanks again, Peter."
Sample private messages responding to positive reviews:
"Hi there! Thanks again for your feedback online. I really appreciate hearing about your experience, and as a small thank-you, I'd like to offer you a $50 voucher for your next meal with us. Just contact me and we can either book you in soonish, or send it out to you. All the best, Renae" (Alternatively could offer a bottle of wine.)
"Hi Jane and Phil, I was glad to hear that you were happy with my service – that kind of feedback can go a long way. As a token of my appreciation, I've enclosed here 2 movie tickets. Hopefully you can get the kids taken care of for a night and can enjoy a nice night out. Thanks again, Peter."
Customer reviews provide a fantastic opportunity to show your voice and speak to potential customers – showing them what you're really like. By responding properly, you can simultaneously strengthen your bonds with existing customers, whilst creating powerful (and SEO friendly) branding messages that speak directly to potential customers.