Thanks to the internet, communication and marketing have changed enormously. We no longer go en masse to that one boyfriend on Saturday afternoon to watch Swiebertje on the only television set in the street. Everyone is always online, from any device and can make contact with everyone. As a consumer you can also give your opinion about companies: assessments, reviews or English-style reviews. For companies it is not only the art to deliver the best possible product or service, but also to manage a good online image. That's called review marketing and in this article you read how you do that and you get practical tips as an entrepreneur.
Improving the online image by companies through reviews (reviews or reviews). It includes stimulating reviews, responding to reviews and incorporating reviews into business operations.
Why you should take review marketing seriously
Every entrepreneur knows: the best advertisement is word of mouth. That's how it goes online. More than half of consumers rely more on reviews than on advertisements, even if they are from totally unknown people. Negative reviews ensure that a purchase is canceled. If new customers are important to you, reviews are also important to you.
Review marketing takes different forms per sector:
- Independent and in principle objective sites such as TripAdvisor, Zoover or TrustPilot. A well-assessed party will display a logo with a number on its website;
- Large e-commerce sites such as Booking.com and Bol.com collect product reviews on a large scale to put on their own site. These are not always objective assessments due to commercial interests.
- A marketplace brings together supply and demand, such as Thuisbezorgd.nl with its affiliated restaurants and delivery companies. Uber and Marktplaats.nl also offer this possibility to drivers and sellers. Another example is the Untappd app for beer. These sites have no direct commercial interests in the assessments.
- Every company, large and small, can receive reviews on Google My company and Facebook, but also received responses on complaint.nl for example.
- Reverse Review: assessing customers. Buddytruk is an unknown party that is experimenting with this.
Review marketing in the Netherlands in figures
To support a number of research figures:
- 20 per cent of the Dutch writes sometimes a review online. (Research "Review Marketing: the importance of online reviews" by Marlies Dobbe).
- Almost 80 percent of Dutch consumers is reading a review before they make a purchase (research EuroPNstyles)
- 25% of the consumer purchases is determined on the basis of a review. (research Marlies Dobbe)
- 14% of Dutch consumers earlier buy a product when friends recommend it on the Facebook pages of those brands. (research EuroPNstyles)
What review marketing means for companies
The main reason for review marketing is a good image online. This contributes to the following three business objectives:
- More sales and profit: There is a direct link between customer reviews and consumer purchasing behavior. More reviews means more purchases and therefore more sales. According to research from New York University by professor Panagiotis G. Ipeirotis towards customer reviews in relation to sales, consumers are also willing to pay more for products or services with (most) positive reviews.
- Product improvement: With review marketing you get direct feedback from your target group. This allows you to identify and address numerous problems in the customer journey. Consider, for example, information provision, promises, message per channel, customer service, the product or service itself, quality, communication around the product and company presentation.
- Customer Interaction: An old saying is: every complaint is an opportunity. Almost every review system gives the opportunity to respond to the review as a company. You hereby acknowledge the guest or customer and you can respond to a complaint. In the event of a negative complaint you can offer understanding and compensation. You can show potential customers how to handle the problem. With a positive response you can give the experience an extra positive charge.
Review marketing: what do you do exactly?
It is clear: reviews have a positive impact on your business objectives. So what do you actually do with review marketing?
- Stimulate reviews
Satisfied customers like to write a review. Of course you should make that as easy as possible for your customers. In this article you will read exactly how you more and better reviews gets. Tip: when you ask for a review, give beside a channel for complaints. This way you catch complaints immediately and you can resolve them.
- Monitor reviews
On which platforms is your target group active? You then want to follow all reviews, whether this is Booking.com, Airbnb, Bol.com or TripAdvisor. There are all kinds of monitoring tools for this, but just checking yourself occasionally works just as well for small businesses.
- Respond to reviews
With a response you show that your reviews value, whether they are positive or negative responses. It gives customers the feeling of being heard. This recognition makes a big difference in the customer relationship.
- Convert reviews into improvements
In many companies, employees do not know very well how their customers experience their services. Becomes inside-outside thought not outside-inside. Reviews give you an external view of your company that you can use to improve customer experiences.
Dealing with negative reviews - 8 tips
Consumers look at the source, content, network and channel during reviews. Just like Uncle Henk, who always complains about their birthday on your aunts' birthday, there is a context in which reviews are judged by other consumers. As an entrepreneur who has built a great company with blood, sweat and tears, a negative review can come in hard. In person. It can feel unfair or even be used as a threat. Take a deep breath and read these tips.
- It is not personal. This is almost always the case. Is the review aimed at the person? Then you have good ground with every platform to have the review removed. This is because slander.
- Think from your company. You are only professional if you remain professional when the other not is professional. A bad review does not mean that your company is bad, it means that a customer felt the need to write a negative review. That may be: because it is not a good match between customer and company, that your services must be better, that the customer is unkind. And bear in mind that a negative review can even lead to more sales: see this story from Jonah Berger about Miley Cyrus.
- Stay tidy and show someone else your reaction if you are not sure if it still contains emotion. Name the facts. Indicate what you will change and provide options to resolve the complaint. Respond quickly, that is a 'fast' way to get better immediately.
- Feel free to say sorry. It's easy and you make the other person feel better. As long as it is sincere. Even if it was not your intention, you can still apologize for how the other person experienced it. You say sorry if the relationship is more important to you than being right.
- Go offline and solve it. You may not place personal data online. You also help a complaint much better if you can write extensively or can talk to someone by telephone. An important step in resolving complaints is to verify: this has happened, yes? Annoying. If we do this and this, is it remedied? Yes, we will do that.
- Helped? Report it online again. Once the complaint has been resolved, state this in a response. Ask your customer to adjust his review or to explain that the complaint has been satisfactorily resolved.
- Share the reviews with your colleagues. Even those bad reviews, if they are justified. It binds your colleagues and helps you better understand your customers. This ensures a mindset that focuses on customers: customer centricity.
- Get more good reviews. Even the best company in the world sometimes gets a bad review. That is just to be expected, and also your customers would find it strange if you only get good reviews. The best way to reduce the impact of a negative review? Get more good reviews.
Every platform that shows reviews therefore becomes more valuable. Removing reviews is therefore not made easy for you as a company. Often there is a standard method to have a review checked, but there is only a limited list of cases when your negative review is actually deleted. What your options are per platform, for example, Thuisbezorgd.nl only has this option with defamation. After all, it is impossible to objectively check whether the food was delivered really cold, and tastes differ.
Via these links you will find an explanation of the removal per platform:
- Delete Google review
- Delete Facebook review
- Delete home delivery review
- Delete Bol.com review
- Delete Booking.com review
- Delete TripAdvisor review
- Delete Amazon review
Reviews as a blackmail tool
Unfortunately, it also happens that consumers threaten a negative review. Hotel owners and restaurant owners in particular often have to deal with this. And not everyone sues the blackmailers through the courts, as the Double Barrel Steak House from Rotherham did at TripAdvisor's top reviewer Chris Hobson. In response to this, TripAdvisor also has one platform established where companies can report blackmail.
This South Park (NSFW / Not suitable for office) delivery explicitly deals with this blackmail:
Dealing with review blackmail
The Koninklijke Horeca Nederland gives the following suggestions to its members:
- Do not comment on the blackmail.
- Actively request customer responses when checking out or leaving the restaurant.
- Always be respectful and professional in your response (public and private)
- Is the guest right? Recognize that the complaint is justified. Provides the measures you take in response to the complaint.
- Do not attack the opinion of your customer. Only point to any factual inaccuracies.
- Do not comment on every detail.
- Invite your guest to come over again and experience the improvements.
- Ask if the customer is willing to adjust his or her negative review.
I would like to add: note the facts. Do you get that erroneous assessment because you do not respond to the blackmail? Then you can respond immediately and let the facts speak for themselves.