By Corissa St. Laurent
As a small business, you have a fantastic opportunity to leverage your customer reviews to bring in new and repeat customers. Customer reviews will happen organically, but don’t sit idly by and wait! Instead, make customer reviews work for you by asking for them, responding to them, and promoting them.
1. Ask: A satisfied customer will be more than happy to leave you a positive review. Asking for it is the fi rst step, and making it easy is the second. There are a lot of ways to encourage your customers to leave reviews. Create a simple feedback form with an online survey. Create a free Yelp business page which can serve as a hub for all your reviews. And don’t forget your social networks. One of the best things about social media is being able to directly talk with your customers. Why not ask for their feedback during that conversation?
2. Respond: After a customer writes a review, you should respond. If it’s positive, thank him or her publicly to show your appreciation, either by linking to the review in your email newsletter, on your website, or on social media. If you get a negative review, respond quickly and publicly so your audience knows you’re addressing the issue. Then, move the conversation out of the public eye and address it privately. More often than not, a negative review is an opportunity for a positive customer interaction. By responding positively, you can often win back a customer you would have lost otherwise.
3. Promote: Reviews are a powerful tool to drum up more business for your organization, but only if they are seen. Host them on your website, link to them from your social networks, and put them in the body of your emails. You can explain to your customers why you think you’re the right business for them, but your customers explaining this is far more effective.
Delighting your customers is what your business does. That positive experience will keep them coming back, and by leveraging online reviews you can use those customers’ positive feedback to bring in new customers as well.
Corissa St. Laurent is Regional Development Director, New England, for Constant Contact. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in Cape & Plymouth Business April 2012
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