Customers need a reason to believe you’re worth investing in and what better way to do this than using reviews in a number of ways.
You can’t run a successful small business without having customers – better still, customers that keep coming back! This is why the key to getting your business off to a flying start is delivering excellent customer service. For small business owners, this can be rewarding and keep your motivation high as you expand your business, however, as blood, sweat and tears have gone into building your small business empire, sometimes feedback can be taken a bit personally and can throw you off track! But we mustn’t let that cloud our sight and stop us from reaching our main goal. 5-star reviews are fantastic and a real confidence boost but take negative feedback on the chin and use it by checking in with a customer and see how you can fix the problem by resolving their complaint – it shows great customer service and that you care. Excellent customer service is your holy grail in gaining loyal customers.
Here are a few tips on how to treat your valuable customers
Make your customers feel special – as a small business owner the onus falls on you to be many things within your business and wearing the customer services hat is one of them. Make sure your customer service delivery features in your marketing plan. Remember, when your potential customers are shopping around, they are more likely to come back to you and respond positively to the way you have made them feel from the outset.
Make a good first impression – put yourself in the shoes of your customer. If you phoned yourself, how would you be greeted? Would you be happy with the warmth and tone of the conversation, the knowledge available and the helpfulness offered during the call? The same would apply in an email response, so make sure your opening introduction to your business is on point.
If you are too busy to take calls or reply to emails, you can outsource to a telephone answering service or a VA (virtual assistant) who can act as your representative and deal with enquiries on your behalf. Nobody likes to call an unanswered number or send an unanswered email.
Create a relationship – by building rapport you are likely to create a stronger business relationship. Use people’s names when you speak to them; listen to what they are saying, ask questions and be the solution they are looking for. Note down any personal references such as interests, family and lifestyle trends to create more personalised conversations in the future. The fact that you have remembered will earn you brownie points.
As a small business owner, you need to engage with your potential and current customers. Be warm, friendly and helpful regardless of how you may be feeling inside. If you’re having a challenging day be the consummate professional.
How do you know if you are giving a good customer service experience or providing the right product or service? One way to achieve this is by understanding how your customer is feeling about your whole service offering, through feedback.
3 different ways to get feedback
Your customers won’t know where to leave a review unless you make it obvious. Make sure you let them know which platform you would like them to leave a review on. This is where you need to look back on your ideal customer to see where they spend their time online. A review is a short synopsis of your customer’s personal shopping experience with you or service they’ve received; it’s a great feedback tool. The easiest way to get them to leave a review is for you to provide links on your website, business pages on social media or even directly through an email.
Another way to use reviews is to ask your customers permission to repurpose their reviews on other business portals you may have e.g. if they have posted on Google Reviews use this as a post on your Facebook business page.
As with reviews, Testimonials are written recommendations from a (hopefully) happy customer; they are usually longer and more detailed than reviews and give the reader, your potential clients, more information. Testimonials are powerful as they give a better idea of the experience customers have had using your business. These can resonate with your audience as they tell a particular customer’s story, detailing their personal experience which helps to build trust and confidence for future customers.
Case Studies are another level up. Similar to reviews and testimonials, they are far more detailed and tend to be used on websites and marketing brochures. Case studies detail how well you have provided a customer with excellent customer service and a bespoke experience and met the project targets. This is a great tool for decision makers and stakeholders when they need to make critical decisions on new suppliers. A marked difference with case studies is that you would write this and send to your client for approval; you do all the donkey work but at least you get the result you want.
The power of online reviews
The two largest platforms for reviews are Google and Facebook. These two are used every day by millions of people and are well-recognised and a great place to generate multiple star-rated reviews – but which is best?
Google Reviews is the one you want to look good. This is because when a customer searches for your business on Google, your reviews will appear. Customers don’t even have to search for your reviews because they’re already there. All they need to do is make one ‘click’ for more details.
Did you know?
- Google accounts for 57.5% of all reviews worldwide
- Local businesses have an average of 39 Google reviews
- Google reviews make customers 38% more likely to visit your location and 29% more likely to consider buying from you
- 56% of consumers will click through to your full listing based strictly on your star rating
Facebook is the biggest social media platform with 2.45 billion active monthly users worldwide. It’s used by people of all ages between 13 years (legal account opening age) to 65+ years. 43% of Facebook users are female and 57% are male (a gender shift from last year), with each user group spending 35 minutes per day on Facebook. The drive to use Facebook for business use has grown phenomenally, especially during the pandemic.
The benefits of having Facebook reviews, now otherwise known as Facebook recommendations, over Google reviews is that customers have more Facebook accounts and are more likely to already be signed into Facebook, feeling more comfortable in leaving a review there while they browse. Another great benefit of using Facebook for reviews is that you can strike up a conversation with your reviewer giving a level of interactivity and relationship nurturing, even if a bad review has been left.
Did you know?
- 74% of consumers use Facebook to find more information about businesses, and that includes reading reviews
- 80% of consumers are more likely to trust a business if they have positive reviews
- 2/3 people visit a local business Page at least once a week
- Facebook clicks on searches for local business increased 23% in 2020
Interesting general online review stats
- 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product
- 91% of 18-34-year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions
- customers willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
- 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review
- 15% of users don’t trust businesses without reviews
- Only 6% of consumers don’t trust customer reviews at all
- Best-selling products’ have a 4.2-4.7 rating
Comparing listings with good and bad reviews
When shopping for products or services online, reviews can make all the difference when it comes to choosing to purchase or move onto the next product. Customers are looking for highly rated products or services, noting the star rating figure and the number of reviews left. It is often more appealing to purchase from a supplier with a 5-star rating but fewer reviews than a mediocre star rating and hundreds of reviews.
Negative online reviews can also damage your brand and reputation. You could lose up to 22% of your customers from 1 negative review, this can increase to almost 60% if you receive 3 negative reviews.
- 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would engage with and only 13% of consumers will consider using a business that has a 1-2-star rating
- 94% say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business
- Four out of five consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews
As a small business owner, it is imperative that you strive to obtain positive reviews as these are a key way to gain and keep satisfied customers, increase consumer trust and give a direct route to start a conversation and take on board any feedback to improve your customer experience. You could also improve your search engine rankings by ensuring key words and key phrases are included in your reviews.
In the words of Peter Drucker: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
If you feel uncomfortable in blowing your own trumpet when you have business wins and need support in finessing your review and feedback process for your small business, you can book 1-2-1 coaching with me, Jacky Ling. You can also join The Acorn Club for access to lots of sales and marketing resources that can help you push your business forward.