Regardless of size, industry, geographical or virtual location, every business needs positive customer reviews.
Word of mouth is, and will always be invaluable in maintaining a good online reputation. It’s easy to get bad reviews, people love to complain. The only thing worse than a bad review, is no review at all. If a consumer comes across your product, has never heard of you and can’t find any info about your company, they are likely to move on. Even a company with a single positive review is more appealing to the customer than one with zero feedback. Unfortunately those positive online reviews can be pretty elusive. Consumers want to read them, but they don’t always take the time to sit down and write one.
To begin with, make sure that there is an easy way for your clients to talk about their experience on a platform that will be linked with your business. A customer comment section on the website is a good start, but that will only work if your site is on page one of a Google search for your keywords. Getting good online reviews of a customer in a popular place, and still be linked to your business means utilizing social media and customer review websites.
Now for the bad news…all of the review methods listed above goes unchecked, unless the business owner polices them themselves. Anyone can go in and write what they like, whether it is true or not, and post it to the internet’s. The alternative is to use a reviewing site whose only purpose is to collect and offer product reviews written by industry experts. For online services, big ticket purchases (like vehicles) or fairly new technology products, these online review sites are very useful for the consumer and the business. Not only is there authority in the content, the review is genuine. Having them written by industry experts means there will an objective technical assessment of the product or service. No more vague statements of approval based on a subjective set of values. Readers will be able to have specific information that genuinely examines the product in question.
To encourage an expert review of your product or service, consider using a managed online review site. Inviting your own set of professional assessment could be considered a conflict of interest and thus take credibility away from the company and the evaluation. Putting your product or service in the hands of a stranger who is also an industry’s authority, via a ‘handover man’ keeps the evaluation unbiased. Then there is no need to rely on iffy customer reviews that may or may not be either written or show up on web searches. Social media is still a valuable enough avenue for business networking and online reputation that it should not be dismissed. Just keep things simple, you need a presence not a highly active profile.
Of course the best way to encourage a positive review from a client is to give excellent service with a great product. Don’t expect a gaggle of good (and fake) online reviews to save a bad product, start with something great and everything else will fall into place.