In today’s world of social media and online reviews, it can sometimes feel like everyone has an opinion to share. Particularly if you own your own local business. But while it’s true that everyone does have an opinion, fewer people share them online than some might realize.
For most small business owners, of course, this should come as no real surprise. Keeping customers happy with your product and service is what business owners like you do best.
Looking for ways to get chosen by more customers looking for businesses like yours? Womply’s reputation management software can help. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!
These days, the power and importance of online review sites isn’t up for debate. So what’s a small business owner to do? Let’s start by looking at how people typically use review sites.
How many customers actually leave reviews on review sites?
Getting a review from a happy customer might sound easy on the surface. But the truth is that posting a review takes clearing several hurdles.
First, you have to make the customer happy (that’s the easy part). Next, you have to hope they already have an account set up for a review site. Don’t bank on even the happiest customer taking the time to set up a new account just for you.
Finally, even if the customer already has an account on a review site, it’s unlikely they write reviews for any business.
Journalist Susan Kuchinskas has referred to this as “the 1/9/90 rule.” Put simply, the rule states:
- 1 percent of users actively create content on review sites
- 9 percent will participate by commenting, rating, or sharing content on review sites
- the other 90 percent watch, look, and read without responding
There are countless reasons why 90 percent of users only watch, look, and read content on review sites. Some might feel apprehensive about exposing their personal information. Others might feel uncomfortable having a public account tied to written reviews of local businesses.
Whatever the reason, millions of users simply prefer to use review sites as a one-way resource. Which begs the question: how do you get reviews or feedback from that 90 percent?
Start with assuming all your customers are willing and able to leave a review
We know. We just got done sharing all the reasons a customer wouldn’t want to leave a review. Still, you should always start by assuming all of your customers might.
Follow the practices we’ve outlined in previous articles on how to get more reviews for your business: use signage, make verbal requests, create direct links to your review sties, and reply to all your reviews.
Plus, recent research from Womply shows that businesses that regularly respond to their online business reviews earn up to 49% more revenue!
Engage customers who don’t leave reviews by asking for direct feedback
Big businesses spend millions of dollars to survey and analyze their customers so they know what’s working and what’s not. Users on review sites are providing insight into your business free of charge, and the best local businesses make this a key part of their strategy.
But, as we’ve just outlined above, this only represents the experience of a small fraction of your customers. The best way to get a true look at how your customers feel about your business is by engaging as many of them possible.
And the best way to do that is to give them the ability to provide direct feedback about their experience.
Direct feedback avoids many of the hurdles that prevent customers from posting on review sites. Signing up for an account, privacy issues, and not wanting to attach reviews to a personal profile — none of these prevent a customer from submitting direct feedback about their experience.
You’ll also find that customers are simply more willing to provide “feedback” about their experience than a “review” of your business.
Prevent potential negative reviews by asking them to share their experiences directly
Many business owners can testify that a negative experience can motivate a customer to clear all the hurdles to post a review online. Providing an avenue for direct feedback can go a long way to prevent that.
Yes, some customers take to review sites simply to air grievances. But many others feel it’s the only avenue available for them to resolve their bad experience.
Actively soliciting direct feedback is an excellent method to give an upset customer a more direct and effective method to tell you about their bad experience. Some customers will ultimately still take to review sites, but you’ll be surprised at how many more would much prefer to “take it offline.”
Asking for direct feedback can lead to more good reviews on review sites
A good direct feedback program can also help bring in more positive reviews for your business.
First, it helps all your customers feel valued, listened to, and respected. Few things are more frustrating for customers than a business who takes them for granted. The simple act of asking “how was your experience today?” speaks volumes.
Second, gathering as much feedback as possible gives you a better idea about what is and is not working. This can help you focus on expanding the most popular parts of your business and improve areas causing frustration.
Finally, if you’re using a direct feedback program that involves two-way communication (via email, etc), you can respond to positive feedback with a direct link to your review sites. Which makes it easier than ever for your happiest customers to leave you a review.
Use reputation management software to build an easy-to-manage direct feedback program
Putting together a direct feedback program can feel overwhelming for a lot of business owners. It’s hard to know how to start, or to find the time to put it in action. That’s why more and more businesses have turned to solutions like Womply’s reputation management software to do the heavy lifting for them.
Womply’s allows business owners to easily send an email to customers with a link to submit direct feedback about their experience. And because this solution was built with small business owners in mind, you won’t need to worry about setting up confusing systems or signing up for expensive or complicated survey programs.
Womply can help your business turn your happiest customers into your biggest online champions. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!