Customer reviews: strategies to boost your business
Customer reviews can be affect a brand's reputation and customer's future decisions, specially in e-commerce. For this reason, brands need to use positive and negative customer reviews to their advantage. Find out how in this blog post.
Customer reviews are powerful for influencing purchasing decisions. But they are either feared or revered by e-commerce companies. While many businesses worry about negative reviews damaging their reputation, embracing the good and the bad reviews can work in your favor - especially if you resolve issues fast.
Why are customer reviews important in e-commerce?
Over the years, customer reviews have evolved. But the rising popularity of e-commerce and online marketplaces means that more shoppers read online reviews to determine if a brand can be trusted, especially if a product is not in a physical shop.
Reviews are your brand's online reputation. They give shoppers an idea of what your products and your customer service are like. Giving customers the opportunity to share their thoughts about your brand can boost your reputation and start to build trust.
If a customer is unsure about buying from your brand, they might read a few reviews to determine whether your products are worth their money. Reviews are important because customers use them to learn about your brand.
According to a 2022 study by Dixa, 93% of customers will read online reviews before buying, while 47% said they would 'spread the word' about a positive experience. But, 95% said they would 'shout from the rooftops' about a bad experience.
Don't fear customer feedback. Instead, embrace it. The good ones will strengthen your brand's reputation and help to increase sales. The not so good ones will help you to identify ways to improve your business. Good and bad reviews are equally important to your success.
How to encourage customers to leave a review
Encouraging customers to leave a review should be part of your marketing strategy. The good news is, there are hundreds of proven ways to collect reviews, including:
1. Ask your customer directly to review the product
A great way to ask customers to leave a review is via email: either with their delivery confirmation or later after purchasing. You can even automate this process by sending an email to your customer a week after their purchase.
Equally, you can reach out to customers on social media. Add a QR code to a flier included in your packaging that directs customers to a review site. Plus you can include a call to action on your website encouraging customers to leave a review.
2. Offer an incentive
Offering an incentive is a surefire way to get customers to leave a review. Sometimes the 'just asking' approach leaves customers thinking, 'what's in it for me?' After all, you are asking customers to give up some of their time to write a review. Sweeten the deal, and they're more likely to share about their experience.
For example, 'leave us a review for your chance to win $250' or 'give us a review for 50% off your next order'.
3. Personalize the review process
According to Segment, 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience isn't personalized.
You are more likely to get a review if you personalize the way you ask. Not only is this a great way to encourage reviews, it builds brand loyalty.
4. Make it easy
Writing a review of your brand, product or service should be as frictionless as possible for your customers.
For example, if you want to direct customers to a review site, provide a direct link. Equally, you should only have a few review sites for customers to choose from, and these should be sites that people are familiar with, according to Grade.us.
Plus, you can make it even easier for customers to leave a review by using a review template. You can use templates to write part - or all - of the review for them.
5. Engage with existing reviews
Customers will feel more encouraged to leave a review if they see your brand replying and giving feedback on existing reviews. It's better to respond to negative reviews to try and resolve issues rather than ignoring them. The same is true for positive reviews - a thank you message goes a long way.
Whether a customer leaves a good or bad review, they like to feel seen and heard, which is why it's important to engage with people and build rapport.
How to use positive customer reviews
Featuring reviews on your website below product listings
Positive reviews are the currency of credibility and trust. You want to use them to good effect, and the best place to start is your e-commerce website.
To add another layer of creativity and visibility for your positive reviews, why not include them in your picture carousels. This gives customers the option to not only view your products and services, but to see what people say about them at the same time.
If you use a review platform, many of them give you the option to integrate their logo on your website, immediately directing customers to read reviews about your brand. Using a recognizable and trusted review platform on your website adds another level of credibility to your brand.
Include reviews in your social media ads and organic presence
Reviews on your website alone is not enough, you need to diversify where your customers can read reviews.
To increase the reach and credibility of your positive reviews, include them in social media advertising and your organic presence. A really effective strategy is to use review snippets in your social media advertising. These quotes help to summarize your brand story and can persuade others to try your product and service.
What to do about negative customer reviews
Good reviews are easy to deal with, but that's not to say you should ignore them, you should always respond - even if it's just to say thank you. The same is true for bad reviews… you should always respond, you just have to be more tactful with your response.
The worst thing you can do is ignore a negative review, especially if the review says 'poor customer service, unresponsive'. You end up proving their point.
It's important that you respond fast and personally, addressing the specifics of the negative feedback to quickly resolve a problem. If possible, try to respond within 24 hours and don't use generic, copy and paste responses because customers will see that you simply give the same reply to everyone who has a problem with your products or customer service.
That will only make customers more frustrated.
How to respond to negative reviews
According to Review Trackers, 53% of customers expect brands to respond to bad reviews. However, 63% said companies never do.
To emphasize just how important responding to a bad review is, the same study found that 45% of consumers are more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews.
When replying to a negative review, here's a 7-step guide to follow:
- Address the reviewer personally
- Say thank you
- Apologize and sympathize
- Take responsibility
- Make things right
- Take the issue offline
- Ask for another chance
Using negative reviews to make product development decisions
It's important to understand that negative customer reviews are not something to be feared. If they are dealt with in the right way, you can redeem yourself. Equally, negative reviews can be used to identify areas of improvement, helping you to make key product development and supply chain decisions.
Is there a regularly recurring theme to your negative reviews? For example:
- Products arriving broken
- Items being delivered late
Straight away you can review the performance of your carriers and your packaging. If items are taking too long to be delivered, maybe it's time to think about switching carrier providers. If customers are constantly receiving broken products, maybe you need to look at your packaging solutions or talk to your 3PL about how your deliveries are being handled.
Negative reviews can be a blessing in disguise because they will quickly help you to spot issues you might not have been aware of. Bad reviews represent an opportunity to improve specific areas of your supply chain and put things right.
This can go a long way toward changing a customer's mind about your brand, while parting ways with providers who are causing the problems.
How to ensure your customer always has a smooth post-purchase experience
You would like to receive more positive than negative reviews. There are things that you can do to give customers the best possible post-purchase experience.
Customers want fast delivery, but if your carrier is constantly delivering items late, you need to rethink your delivery options. Is your current carrier the right one for the areas in which you deliver? Are the parcel options suitable for your delivery schedules?
For example, if you rely on one carrier, this can be very limiting. Hive offers a mult-carrier solution that unlocks more delivery options to improve delivery timings and enhance the customer experience. With Hive’s Domestic Mix, you can save up to 36% on key costs and get access to services such as parcel points and cash-on-delivery.
In addition, utilizing a variety of carriers can provide you with a speedy and adaptable delivery process, which can result in satisfied customers. Hive, for instance, offers an efficient delivery service that ensures shipping within two days throughout the European Union.
If products are being delivered to customers broken, perhaps you need to review your packaging. Using the right packaging to keep products safe during transit reduces the risk of damage and the possibility of receiving a bad review.
You need to make your order fulfillment provider aware of any problems with breakages, and consider the use of more protective packaging options like sizzle packs or other filling options. This will stop goods moving around during transit, preventing packages arriving at customers' doors broken and reducing the number of returns, refunds and bad reviews.
One of the most common complaints made by customers when leaving a bad review is poor service, which usually means poor communication. Failing to update customers on the delivery status of an item is a surefire way to upset them. One way to avoid bad reviews and poor communication is by using a tool such as the Hive customer app.
The Hive Customer app can help you keep your customers informed about their order status in a seamless manner. You can provide real-time updates to your customers about their orders and ensure they have a positive experience with your brand.
If you use an email tool for your customer communications like Klaviyo, ask your 3PL partner if they provide an integration with the tool.
Smooth returns process
Nothing agitates customers more than a difficult returns process, especially if they receive their order late, it arrives broken, and customer service has been poor. Making items complicated to return gives customers more motivation to leave negative reviews.
The answer is to make your returns process as smooth as possible. Provide return labels that make it easy for customers to specify why they are returning an item. Offer free collection from their home or a nearby pick-up point. Anything that you can do to appease customers by making your returns process simple, do it.
You can facilitate the process even more by using Hive’s return portal. This allows customers to easily generate returns labels at home and provide you with the reason for returning.
By using the portal, you can enhance your customer service and strengthen your relationships with your customers, ultimately leading to more positive customer reviews.
Take your customer feedback to the next level
Don’t be afraid of customer reviews and use them to your advantage. At Hive we are more than just a fulfillment partner. We want to help you grow your brand through an outstanding customer experience. Learn more about our Hive app, end customer app, and request a quote to improve your customer experience today.
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