How to Generate Online Reviews in Boring or Sensitive Industries
Have you ever noticed that the products and industries that are considered “interesting” or “sexy” are the ones that get not only the most overall reviews, but also the most passionate reviews as well?
Whether it’s the latest gadget from Apple or a new restaurant, one of the ways customers interact and show their affinity for brands they admire is to write online reviews.
What if your business, like most businesses in this country, isn’t trendy or technologically game-changing? What if your business is financial services, healthcare, insurance, or the dozens of others that consumers need, but rarely feel compelled to engage in dialog about?
RepCheckup has a few simple tricks that you can employ to bring your customers to the table to write reviews for your business.
Appeal to a Customer’s Sense of Importance by Asking for Online Reviews
So, how do online reviews fit into this concept? Well, when you ask a customer for an online review, you are telling them that you care about their experience and their thoughts. You are telling them that they’re important to you and playing into the concept of reciprocation.
Take a look at the businesses in your area. Grocery stores, drug stores, and the like. They all work to play to a customer’s importance with shopper cards, tastings, and perhaps other “events.”
Every customer wants to feel like they’re unique and important. How many times have we all sat next to “that guy” on an airplane? The one with the fancy luggage tags denoting his importance to the airline? While the perks of his status are clearly driving his purchase patterns, his relationship to the brand is also deeply impacted by the way the airline makes him feel… Important. Special. Valued.
When the conversations in his life turn to airlines, he’s no longer thinking of objective offerings like one-time discounts or legroom in coach. In fact, he’s not thinking objectively at all. Effectively, he has stars in his eyes.
In negotiation strategy theory, this is called inducing reciprocation. Consider it the golden rule, but just turned inside-out. “Treat others as you expect them to treat you in return.” Your product may not be the most interesting out there, but if you can shift the discussion away from your product and focus on the importance of their patronage instead, it’ll pay big dividends down the road.
Is it possible to do the same at your business?
Leverage Past Customer Experiences for Online Reviews
We all live in a kind of constant terror that we will inadvertently treat a customer badly and they’ll write a negative review about it, torpedoing any significant effort to improve your company’s online brand.
Reading negative online reviews is highly motivating and doesn’t inspire the same reaction as a positive review.
Poor customer experiences are universal. To add insult to injury, customers are typically twice as likely to want to share their negative experience as a positive one.
So, what does having a previous bad experience have to do with building up your online reviews?
Chances are good that at least a few of your customers have had a bad experience when dealing with a competitor. Make a note of these when this information is shared with you and utilize it as an opening to ask for a review.
“Dave, you mentioned a poor experience from [Competitor Name]. Hopefully you feel like we’ve taken good care of you since then. I’d love to be able to share your thoughts on good and bad customer experiences. Would you mind answering a couple questions on that for us?”
If and when you receive details from these customers, make sure you reflect on what you can do to implement changes and improvements as a result.
Ask for Online Reviews: Appreciate Each Customer’s Experience (They Notice!)
Every customer wants to feel that their business is valuable to you.
Sometimes, just letting each of your customers know how much their business means to you personally is all it takes to induce the reciprocation that you desire.
We all want to do business with those we like and appreciation is often the first link in that chain.
Take the time to train staff to properly ask customers about their experience, if there’s anything else they needed, and even how their day is going. If a customer has missed a “BOGO” sale, offer to go and grab that second item for them!
A little bit goes a long way when it comes to showing appreciation for customers who aren’t used to being treated to an elevated standard, especially in certain industries where doing business is a matter of practicality instead of choice.
Don’t Leave Technology Behind – Use Online Review Software.
If you’re in a “boring” industry, or the nature of your relationship with the customer is sensitive, the percentage of your customers that will actually feel motivated to leave a review may be lower than other industries like arts and entertainment. However, if you ask enough customers, over time, it’s an effective way to move the needle.
Even in so-called boring industries, customers rely on reviews to make decisions about where to devote their business. And the same rules apply.
If you’re worried about customers not wanting to take the time out of their day to leave your business an online review, you could use online review software to send them text messages that solicit reviews. These tools are able to reach customers where they’re the most likely to respond (their cellphones!) and route them to your professional review profiles.
Offer a good product, at a fair price, and treat the customer well and your business will thrive.