Seven out of ten Internet users in the EU shop online. And the trend is rising. This is shown by a recent survey conducted by the Germany Federal Statistical Office. Regardless of whether it’s products or services, consumers search online for suitable offers. Online reviews in particular play a major role in purchasing decisions. In addition to customer feedback in your own shop, there are numerous review portals that transport consumer opinions out into the world. Used correctly, reviews can not only boost your sales, but also create trust, retain customers and improve your product management. We show you five ways to make this work.
1. Motivate your customers
Even if your customers are delighted with your product, they won’t necessarily give you positive feedback. A recent survey conducted by global strategy and marketing consultants Simon Kucher & Partners showed that half of the respondents read product reviews before making a purchase, but only a third actually write reviews themselves. That’s not surprising, as writing reviews requires additional effort that takes time. In order to generate more public feedback, you therefore have to motivate your buyers. There are various ways of achieving this.
Option number one: Address your customer directly. Ask him or her to provide honest feedback on your product or service after purchase. A friendly and direct request for a review is often enough. Ideally, you provide links to the review form or portal with your request. This means the customer can quickly complete the process.
Option number two: Connect the review with a benefit for your customer. This could be a voucher or a percentage-based discount for their next purchase in the shop, for example. In the best case, doing this not only motivates the customer to write a (positive) review, but also to make a new purchase.
Option number three: Use the exchange principle. The travel platform Airbnb shows that this works well. Vacation guests have 14 days after check-out to provide a public review. Only then can they see the review from the host. This arouses curiosity and motivates the guest to write their own review as quickly as possible.
2. Deal openly and honestly with customer feedback
Although recent surveys show that satisfaction in particular motivates people to provide reviews, there are many consumers who use feedback opportunities to vent their displeasure. But you can also use negative ratings for yourself and your brand. Deleting or ignoring critical remarks is an absolute no-go. Negative feedback can be a way to create transparency and authenticity, especially when it comes to the external image of the entire brand. Responding to criticism and showing understanding is well received by (potential) buyers and sustainably strengthens the public image of the brand. Lost sympathy points can be won back with goodwill gestures. At the same time, criticism always serves to identify and revise your own weak points. In this way, negative feedback also helps to tailor your own offer and shop to the exact needs of the customer.
3. Use the simplest processes
In order to generate as many customer reviews as possible, you should make it as simple as possible for customers to provide them. Create possibilities for reviews that work without complicated log-ins or too many detailed questions. Use point or smiley-based systems, for example, ask questions that can be answered swiftly and specify well thought-out response options. Ensure that the customer completes the review before it starts annoying them.
4. Use all possibilities
There are numerous ways of collecting customer feedback. A sensible placement throughout the entire Customer Journey is recommended. On the one hand, you can ask for a review a few days after successful delivery of the product by mail. Such after-sales mails are (still) the most common way to get reviews. The advantage here is that the consumer has sufficient time to test the product and express a well-founded opinion.
But it is also worth placing review forms during the purchasing process. For example on a thank you page or on the product and category page. The latter also has SEO-technical advantages. Customer reviews enliven the product pages and push the ranking in the online search. Short surveys or feedback forms on the website are also good and simple reputation-builders. Conversational interfaces are also on the rise. Some companies already use chat conversations to collect direct feedback. It is also conceivable that feedback could soon be collected via voice assistants such as Alexa and Co. Social networks will also be included in the review process. Social media listening, for example, can also help companies to control their own reputation. You should follow conversations about your products and your brand closely and also express yourself publicly in response to criticism and praise. Even if it wasn’t aimed directly at you. This goes down well and shows your customers that they are important to you. Active social media listening helps to increase brand presence online and promotes the community.
5. Use the direct feedback to improve your products and your shop
Everything that is said or written about you online helps you to improve. “Listen and learn” is the motto. Accept customer wishes and suggestions for improvement positively and take a reflective look at your product portfolio. Try to implement customer wishes and gradually adapt your shop to consumer expectations.
Customer reviews in e-commerce are a great thing. They offer online shoppers the opportunity to inform themselves thoroughly about a product and make the purchase decision easier for them. At the same time, they help the company to stand out from the competition and to strengthen its own brand. Used correctly, customer feedback can lead to improved search engine findability, a reduction in returns due to fewer wrong purchases, and increased customer satisfaction. At the same time, it creates transparency and trust for the brand. It is worth doing everything possible to achieve this.