The success of sites like Amazon and TripAdvisor has led more and more of us to seek the insight of customer reviews before buying. This trend is spreading fast, and throughout industries not previously known for their online presence.

Gaining a provable business reputation using customer reviews can make the difference between success and failure in some industries. And yet, few companies make the relatively small investment required to achieve it.

If service is your strength, prove it

Let’s say you are in a field not normally known for customer reviews. What’s your current point of difference against your competitors? Most businesses would prefer not to compete on price, so you’re probably aiming to offer a clearly superior product and/or exceptional service.

So you advertise. You say you are good, and that your team provides great service, but what proof can you offer, and where? One or two testimonials on your website may help… but what about 5,000 credible online reviews that back this up?

The fact is that we only experience service when we actually buy, so positive endorsements by customers could arguably be the most powerful support for your proposition.

If you don’t ask, you’re less likely to get

There are ways to ask your customers for a review following a purchase, and at Ark Advance we help our clients set up the system that best suits their market (e.g. Trustpilot or Google Reviews).

People generally like sharing their opinions, but they want it to be easy. While statistics have shown over decades that consumers share more bad service stories than good ones, this balance can be tipped by politely and proactively prompting your happy customers to share their thoughts.

Whatever tool you use to collect your reviews, ensure that you make it:

  • Easy

The ability to give as much or as little feedback as they want is key. Some people just want to give a star rating, others will leave a short comment, while still others want to fill that comment box to the maximum number of characters. A stepped approach is best to capture all the information on offer.

  • Courteous

Regardless of whether the feedback is good or bad, your customer has done you a favour. Showing your appreciation will help them feel good about the overall experience.

  • Transparent

Obviously, nothing raises suspicion faster than the deletion of less favourable reviews. Although not ideal, a problem raised by your customer in public is a chance to show that you can fix it quickly and graciously.

The beauty of setting up a tool on your own site (rather than relying on third party platforms) is that once a few customers have left their thoughts, others are more likely to follow suit. In sites with well-established feedback forums, there can even be something of a club among loyal customers, which can then be a focus in marketing for repeat business.

The cost to set up a review tool within your website are relatively minor. However, few businesses make the investment; perhaps because they fear it, or still think it’s not the right fit for their sector.

If you back your team and your product, then why not gain the advantage by collecting reviews and displaying them to your potential future customer? This collection of data could be the thing that makes you stand out against the rest.