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Online reviews have become essential to the digital consumer experience. According to a PowerReviews survey, nearly 100% of online shoppers consider reviews when making purchasing decisions.
One of the challenges in ecommerce is the inability to assess products physically. While virtual and augmented reality may address this in the future, it’s too early to predict the practical application of this technology.
Personal recommendations and previous experiences with specific stores and brands are valuable but infrequent. Consequently, the average online shopper prefers peer reviews over traditional advertising, with 84% of millennials actively avoiding conventional advertising channels.
Instead of pushing ads, the emphasis is shifting towards building trust with both new and returning customers through reviews.
Customer reviews also serve the purpose of gathering direct feedback from consumers, highlighting product flaws and shortcomings.
Given the significant impact of customer reviews, brands should develop strategies to generate customer feedback consistently. If you require assistance with your current setup or want to establish a new strategy, the following tips can be helpful.
Let’s start with personalization. Most businesses rely on automation, which can leave a negative impression on consumers due to a lack of authenticity.
Since your goal is to receive genuine customer feedback, you want to appear authentic. To avoid that robotic look, use the customer name in the subject line and the email content when sending a request.
If you see a review published on the site already, you can also show your appreciation by responding with a personalized message. Such a response encourages more reviews in the future.
Some brands try to personalize their requests by asking for video reviews. Video reviews have more weight because others see the visuals and the person (or their voice, at the very least) behind the review, which isn’t something text reviews have.
However, reviews that involve visuals are more challenging to score, given how much more effort it requires from the customer.
The right timing plays a prominent role in collecting customer feedback. You need to figure out when to strike with a request. Is it one week after they received the goods and had enough time to try it? Or it could be on the same day since there’s that freshness and urgency to give the customers a push.
As with other aspects of marketing, it takes some A/B testing to determine the best timing. One thing to note is that sending a request too early is bound to backfire.
If you want to attract more positive feedback, educate consumers about how critical reviews are. A simple message explaining how “a customer’s voice means so much because it helps others” can be a solid approach.
Once shoppers receive such a positive message, they’ll be more eager to support the brand and work on creating a review.
Incentives are arguably the most effective way to get something in return, and customer reviews are no exception.
Most people don’t bother dedicating time to writing reviews. Try giving an incentive, such as a discount coupon or voucher for free shipping, in exchange for a review. This not only encourages reviews but also gives customers a reason to return.
Creating a contest-like incentive is also worth a shot. Instead of giving something immediately, you could announce a raffle that automatically enters everyone for a monthly or weekly giveaway. And the only condition to participate is to leave a review on one of your purchases.
If leaving a review is unmanageable, many people may abandon the idea before it’s fully completed. That’s why you should introduce ideas that simplify the process.
Instead of asking them to write a wall of text from scratch, why not create a survey-like form they can complete and submit? Such a form may include a few closed questions and a star rating at the end.
Another way to make things easier for your customers is to provide templates and let them fill in the gaps.
You could offer PDF templates directly on the website for customers to download. As a rule of thumb, though, don’t fit the templates in a single file with multiple pages.
Even though there’s more than one easy way to split PDF files, offering each template separately is still more straightforward, making things easier for your customers.
Follow-ups are an effective way to generate more customer reviews. According to the Woodpecker website, the first follow-up brings the highest reply rate — up to 40% more than the initial email.
Following up with a request for review makes sense, as someone may have missed the initial email or seen it but forgot about it because they were distracted.
A post-purchase usually includes one of the two:
A list of purchases.
A message telling how someone left a comment on the page of a product you purchased and how your feedback could be helpful.
Dialogues between customers and brands should be encouraged more. One of the most significant benefits is showing authenticity. Customers who see businesses putting effort into responding to feedback feel more appreciated.
A “thank you” message after a review requires the least effort, but spamming it all over the place is hardly a sound strategy. No, a dialogue should flow naturally. Your staff should put effort into responding to reviews. It should be genuine!
Emails are often the go-to platform to send requests. It’s a tried method that brings results. Nevertheless, focusing entirely on email campaigns means missing out on consumers on other channels.
When possible, make the most out of other potential challenges if you have them, such as
Social media pages and groups,
The comment section under YouTube videos,
Statista says that there are more than 5 billion unique mobile internet users. It’s crucial to optimize the website content for mobile usage, which includes mobile-friendly forms and other pages for review collection.
Failing to accommodate mobile users means losing out on multiple shoppers who are happy to leave your review because they couldn’t make it work due to poor optimization.
Improving your overall service quality also affects how many customer reviews online businesses can expect to receive.
People who are satisfied with their experiences will want to share their experience with others, encouraging more people to try it for themselves.
Meanwhile, a poor experience discourages reviews or leads to negative reviews. Poor reviews aren’t necessarily harmful as long as they’re useful. Ultimately, however, the goal is to generate positive reviews.
Customer reviews help identify potential problems, gather feedback, and grow your customer base.
However, since most shoppers cannot be bothered with submitting a review, it is up to the brands to find ways to encourage the customer.
Smart strategies like various perks and personalizations lead to more positive reviews. These reviews then let businesses reap the rewards.
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