Trading on the internet, as any business will tell you, is a cut-throat business where reputation is everything. Figures show that customers actively seek out good reviews before making a purchase, and will abandon any trader that had poor feedback, often irrespective of the quality and price of the goods. It’s been shown that you can have the best offer in the market, but one person complaining that delivery wasn’t next day as promised can kill your business stone dead.
So how do you chase good reviews? The simple answer is – of course – be good at what you do, but sometimes it’s much more than that.
Always ensure that customer satisfaction is your priority. Instant feedback has made the customer more powerful than ever, and it’s the way you deal with them that makes the different between 100% positive feedback and a sale, and 99.8% and nothing at all. That’s how tiny the margins can be.
What makes things tougher for businesses is that it’s the disgruntled clients that are more likely to post poor reviews. We monitored the Twitter feed of a well-known UK hotel chain which has a generally good reputation. However, complaints outweigh praise by about five to one. Anybody searching for the same business would assume that they’re the worst hotel chain in the world.
The trick is to engage these dissatisfied customers as quickly and positively as possible. It’s amazing how many people who initially complained will then follow up with a positive review, often agreeing to remove their previous comments.
There is – of course – nothing to stop you from asking happy customers to send it positive feedback to review sites. It’s a worthwhile thing to do, but beware that suggesting the wording of their praise may lead to review sites thinking that fakery is afoot, with devastating consequences for your online reputation.
Don’t be too pushy. If a customer hasn’t left a review after a couple of weeks, you might like to nudge them just the once. Any more than that, and you might be seen as too needy and your well-meaning reminder might have the complete opposite effect. Websites that keep begging for you to visit them become annoying, and – ironically – Trip Advisor is one of the worst offenders.
Essentially – keep it simple. Ask for reviews, but don’t push too hard. And if the feedback’s bad, tackle it straight away. For everything else, there are reputation managers such as ourselves to point you in the right direction.