By Jordan McElwain
Have you ever wondered what people did before the digital and social age — before we were able to go online and see the reviews for a restaurant or product before spending our hard-earned money on something that won’t do the job? Word of mouth marketing isn’t a new concept, but it has evolved quite a bit since the rise of the digital age. Our network is no longer limited to personal connections — friends, family, neighbors, or even your boss’s wife’s friend Judy. No, now our networks are as wide as we want them to be, and review sites like TrustRadius allow us to gather the opinions of many before making a purchase.
There are different types of word of mouth marketing. The first type is the one you may think of initially — someone telling a friend or someone else they know about a product or service that they used. This is still the most valuable form of word of mouth marketing because you are receiving information from someone you know and trust. That being said, reviews are the next best thing and something that we rely on just as much. According to Nielsen’s 2015 report about trust in advertising, 66 percent of consumers said that they trust consumer reviews online while 83 percent say they trust recommendations from friends and family.
While trust is a significant differentiating factor between these two different types of word of mouth marketing, there’s one other big one — you can see and respond to reviews left online whereas you won’t always be aware of what people are saying in person. To help you in your word-of-mouth marketing efforts, we’ll go over how to earn good reviews as well as how to leverage both good and bad reviews to get consumers to convert.
How to earn good reviews
The best way to gain good reviews is to provide a high-value product or service and pair it with the best possible customer service — in short, put your customers first. If your company is helping them solve their problems, and your customer service team provides additional help, then you shouldn’t have any issues with your positive to negative review ratio. Of course, no matter how amazing your product is and no matter how much your customer service team tries to help, you will face some unhappy customers. As long as you receive many more positive reviews than negative, however, then your company will shine as one to trust.
Let’s start with the good. Good reviews are perfect for using on your site and in acquisition emails. They’ll also be working 24/7 as users search for you organically and find your glowing reviews on their own.
And what about the bad
Now for the bad. While no one likes seeing a bad review about their company, these reviews aren’t all bad. If you stay on top of your bad reviews, you’ll be able to come out shining in the eyes of consumers. The first thing you’ll want to do is respond to any negative reviews you see online. If you claim your platform review listings, you’ll be able to respond quicker. Let the reviewer know that you’re sorry about their negative experience and provide them with information to speak with someone directly about their experience. There’s a good chance that there may have been some unrealistic expectations or miscommunication between your company and the reviewer, and if you can iron things out privately, then he or she may be willing to alter the review.
Aside from responding and trying to prevent the negative feedback from spreading like wildfire, you can also look at the feedback and consider the changes you could make to avoid a similar negative experience from happening again. Especially if you hear the same feedback over and over again, there’s probably something you can do to avoid the negative experiences that your customers are having. If you make changes to improve on some of the negative experiences, go ahead and let people know. Share your updates with them on review sites and consider reaching out to members who canceled. They’ll be happy that you listened to their concerns.
Negative feedback is never easy to hear, but if you take it and get constructive with it, then you will ultimately become a better company and be able to drive more conversions.
Jordan McElwain is a digital marketer and writer. She is a regular contributor to TrustRadius, where she shares her knowledge of the latest trends in B2B news and software.