In today’s marketplace, buyers have more control than ever when it comes to making purchase decisions. Enthusiastic salespersons are no longer the first point of contact; Google is.
Companies like Yelp and Angie’s List have made millions in B2C by simply enabling customers to take control. There’s nobody we trust more than our peers and people who aren’t motivated by money to recommend a product or praise its attributes. In fact, 92% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision! Although some companies might be frightened by the idea of easy-to-find, up-to-date customer feedback, SmarkLabs sees this buyer journey revolution as an excellent opportunity for B2B companies to stay honest and be accountable to the products and services that they’re selling.
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However, in order to take full advantage of the hidden benefits of user reviews, it’s important that your company create a strategic plan for building its review database. Typically, only dissatisfied customers will go out of their way to leave a negative review, so in order to uplift the general tone of your company’s online reputation, it’s important to take charge and enable happy customers to lend their voices to the conversation.
To build an effective review strategy, keep the following recommendations in mind:
Know where your company is being reviewed.
There is a growing number of review sites readily available online, and depending on your company’s target market, some might be more influential than others. For example, if you’re an up-and-coming software startup company, G2 Crowd is likely to be the most effective platform to engage with current and prospective customers. Positive reviews can help generate sales qualified leads because review sites often rank high for certain product categories, so it’s important to ensure you’re attracting the most beneficial attention.
Set up a company account
There’s really no point in standing idly by and watching the online conversation take place -- you need to get involved! Actively monitor your company’s reviews online, and be careful not to get defensive when you see negative comments. Instead, take the reviews in stride and consider them to be constructive criticism. Always be sure to respond to negative reviews, so your potential customers can see that your company cares about its online reputation. Responding with a simple, “Hey -- thanks for the feedback! We’d love to talk with you to learn more about how we can improve our platform/product. Please email us at XX@gmail.com,” can work wonders.
If you want reviews… ask for them!
In line with the age-old anthem of “K.I.S.S.” -- keep it simple, stupid! If you want your customers to leave reviews, it’s likely that all you need to do is ask. Customers appreciate when they feel like their voices are being heard and their opinions matter. Companies who genuinely ask for feedback via email, website forms, and online surveys are more likely to generate user reviews, all while impressing their customers with their level of business transparency.
Take the reviews seriously
Negative -- and positive -- reviews are an excellent tool for your company to have on hand. What’s better than free feedback? But here’s the kicker: in order to be effective, you can’t create a beneficial review strategy without actually taking into account the reviews themselves. Consider the feedback as it comes in and ask yourself the tough questions: “Could our company improve its product?,” or “Is our customer service really lacking?” If the answer is “yes,” then you need to create a game plan for how to improve.
Flaunt the positivity
When your company creates an effective review strategy, it’s likely that you’ll begin to see positive results. Be sure to take advantage of that honest feedback and feature it in promotional materials. Include a “Product Reviews” section on your website; highlight the very best entries in marketing emails and proactively use positive reviews to legitimize your company during the sales process. By bolstering your company’s reputation with genuine material from real-life customers, you’ll be able to take charge of your online reputation and use it to your ultimate advantage.
Customer reviews aren’t going away anytime soon, so in order to get ahead, companies have to adapt to the changing times. Take advantage of all the Internet has to offer, and develop an effective user review strategy that can elevate your company’s online reputation.