How To Foster Positive Reviews

At some stage or another, for any Australian SME, the daunting idea of a client/customer leaving a review on a social media website can be stressful, to say the least. Business owners obviously set out and start up a business with one goal in mind: to succeed. In order to succeed, they need to provide a seamless and perfectly executed client/customer experience. This includes all manner of business processes; human resources and recruitment, products and/or services tailored to meet their client/customer needs, after-care service systems, and the list goes on and on. And as with any business, if you employ staff to represent your business, whether that is to carry out a service or to sell a product, they are one of the many faces of your brand. Now we all know that we are not without fault and nobody is perfect, so a certain degree of human error needs to be taken into account. But what if this turns a current or potential client/customer away from your business? What if that then leads to an online review, for the entire world to see?

Instead of viewing digital and social media engagement as a potential minefield to connect with your clients/customers, you need to view it as an opportunity, because the truth is, whether you have an online presence or not, it’s not going to stop someone posting a review. If you are online and actively connecting and communicating with your clients/customers, your circle of influence will only grow. Of course, all reviews can go either way, and if a customer has an outstanding experience with your business, you need to act accordingly. So many articles and blogs focus on negative reviews and how business owners should respond, but what about positive reviews? Shouldn’t they also share the limelight? They do, after all, show a side to a business which is worth sharing and talking about.

There are several ways you can encourage you clients/customers to leave positive feedback for your business, whether it be directly or via a social forum. A blog posted on Moz states that, ‘They [your customers] are your brand advocates, … product feedback specialists, … link builders, … critics, … sharers of content, …forum participators” (Jennita, 2012), and you should let them know you hold them in high regard. Give your clients/customers something to remember, share and talk about. This could be an exclusive product or service which has been specifically tailored to meet their needs and/or desires. It could be out-of-this-world customer service (which is something Australians excel at!), or perhaps it could be the after-care service you have provided. Best of all, it could be through a competition or a giveaway. Whatever it is, your clients/customers aren’t going to write anything positive if you don’t give them something positive to talk about.

person leaving comment and rating, vector illustration

You also aren’t going to attract positive reviews for your business if you aren’t actively participating with your clients/customers. You need to be generating important connections with them, as this in turn builds brand loyalty. Become involved with charity and sponsor events for positive brand awareness. Ask your clients/customers to become involved in the ‘design’ concept of a new marketing/product/service venture. If your clients/customers feel connected, and if you give them something to invest in, their loyalty to your brand and your brand story will continue to grow in a positive direction. If they experience amazing sales/service execution, you’re naturally giving them something they will want to share and recommend.

Don’t forget to reward your staff who attract positive reviews. They’re clearly doing your business a great service and they should be rewarded for it. Without them and the work that they do, those positive reviews would be going elsewhere. As touched on before as well, create incentives for your customers, but this is particularly important if you create engaging and informative content, be it through your blog or other social media channels. If you don’t encourage certain behaviour from your customers, how will they know you want it?

Instead of viewing your sales process as a funnel, it almost needs to be seen as an hourglass. The client/customer experience does not stop simply because they have paid for a product and/or service. Today, clients/customers expect to have an ongoing relationship with your business, which requires a high attention to detail on your behalf. It’s what helps you to create brand loyalty, which in turn helps to produce positive, glowing reviews for the hard work your business does. So get online and be in charge of your online presence! This is your business and you ultimately decide your client/customer experiences.