Online consultation of opinions is now an integral part of the consumer’s shopping experience. These reviews are a reflection of the “customer experience”, they are seen by consumers as reliable testimonials from their peers. Appreciated by customers who feel they retain their decision-making power and the ability to form an opinion detached from the promises of a company’s marketing, they strongly influence the perception of a brand or brand name.
Four statistics alone sum up this phenomenon:
Customer reviews are everywhere: in Google results, on social networks, specialized sites, directories, forums… Depending on your business, you will have to make choices among these different media and focus your review strategy on those that best fit your target.
Implementing an active opinion gathering strategy is a structured process that not only encourages your customers to leave opinions, but also needs to monitor those opinions to allow you to address negative opinions and to show your customers that you care about their satisfaction.
Credible and transparent means of notification are critical to the effectiveness of the reviews you receive. There are several ways to do this:
The easiest way to collect reviews is to contact your customers by e-mail. For example, you can write to them to inquire whether their last order was what they expected or whether they are completely satisfied with your product or service.
To answer this question, they will just have to click on the link leading to your Google My Business, Facebook or Tripadvisor page that you will have indicated in your email.
This method is more advanced and more sophisticated than sending e-mails. However, it remains technically quite close since the link to the online survey form is also sent by e-mail.
Surveys allow customers to have their say. You ask them for advice or opinions and thus show them consideration and respect.
The priority is to make the reviews visible in Google My Business. To be well rated and well referenced on the reference search engine is an evidence that does without any form of explanation.
You can also – depending on your business sector or the size of your social network subscriber community – integrate social media such as tripadvisor or facebook into your opinion gathering strategy.
Finally, don’t forget that your website, which is also your showcase, is perfectly legitimate to display your customers’ opinions. There are extensions such as the Google badge, which can be easily integrated into a site and allow, for example, to display comments posted in Google My Business on your site.
1 – Monitor the posted reviews and be reactive when they ask for an answer from you.
2 – Thank customers for taking the time to send you a comment (but don’t be overly sycophantic either).
3 – Don’t shy away from criticism. A dissatisfied customer needs to be heard. Take the time to understand them, ask them questions if necessary, be empathetic (if they are acting in good faith), try to solve the problem and, if possible, try to change their mind about the grade they gave you or the content of their comment. In this way, you will provide a professional response to your client and show your commitment to everyone else.
4 – Keep cool. Unless you have nerves of steel, never respond hot to an unpleasant comment or one that is obviously made in bad faith, you risk getting carried away.
The purpose of collecting opinions is not to get 100% laudatory opinions, it would simply be impossible on a large number of opinions, and especially your customers could interpret it as a lack of transparency, or even cheating.
Remember this statistic we published at the beginning of this article: 68% of consumers are more confident when they see positive AND negative reviews. Your customers know very well that nobody is infallible, what they will judge is the authenticity of the relationship you have with them, your commitment to take their opinions into account and the efforts you make to provide them with the best service.