Introduction- What are customer reviews?
When you have eaten at a restaurant or ordered from Zomato, you leave a review for any good or bad experience you faced while ordering food. This action of showcasing your expertise after you have availed a product or a service from any business forms to be a part of customer reviews.
Customer reviews can help businesses to improve their products and services. It is the first-hand information to build or break the credibility of any company or person. Customer reviews also help other customers to make informed decisions whether to purchase a product or avail a service from a particular organisation.
But not all customer reviews can be the ultimate word to dismiss a product or a service. Brands and businesses should also verify the customer review as sometimes it can be spam, or it can arise from unverified users.
Verified or not verified, in the digital era, customer reviews do tend to give an authentic picture of an organization. Businesses should welcome customer reviews to maintain a transparent image and also establish their goodwill and quality in the market.
Methods of customer reviews
In the digital world, customers do not call or leave a complaint in the customer service department. If they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the quality of products or services, they harness the power of digital forums and social media to put forward their reviews
Here are the different ways that customer reviews are put forth in the digital world:
- In-App Reviews
To create a transparent image of their brand, businesses on their website and app have a customer review section. For instance, on Amazon and Zomato customers after their user experience with the product or service can share their reviews and also put ratings and recommendations which either praises or criticizes the product and the service
Quora has become a good forum for brands to know if the customers are recommending them for various products or services. For instance, on Quora, someone asks a question about the best bakeries in Mumbai; the customer can answer the question and cite the bakery’s website as a recommendation. Quora has become an indirect source of acquiring customer reviews.
- Feedback form
This form of sharing customer reviews is mainly when the companies organize events or have special courses. Google feedback form is a valuable source of customer review as the user can share the positive or negative experiences in detail.
Instagram is laden with bloggers who review the products and services of a brand. They either do it through Instagram stories or videos. Customer reviews on Instagram Is not just limited to bloggers, as non-creators use comments or DM to share their customer reviews
Why customer reviews are important?
When the market is filled with competition and fake products, customers want transparency and quality from brands before making a choice or investing their money to purchase a product.
When businesses are open to customer reviews, they portray an image of transparency and authenticity. They are ready to accept their mistakes and criticisms. This humanizes the brand image of any business that are willing to hear what customer has to say
- Builds brand loyalty
Brands that are open to customer reviews and also take the initiative to act upon them are the ones who are able to solidify their brand loyalty amongst the consumers. For instance, Domino’s promises that if pizza does not get delivered within 30 minutes, it is free. Even Zomato, when they misplace the order in the wrong location, they issue free discount coupons on the next order.
- Improves quality
Through customer reviews and ratings, brands can improve the quality of their product and services. Customer reviews help brands to analyze why their product is failing in the market. It is first-hand information from the customer to let the brands know if the product has been useful or not. Through this brands can understand the customer point of view and improve the quality of the product
Be it on social media or on a platform like Amazon, through customer reviews and ratings, brands can establish their credibility in the market. Verified customer reviews act as a testimonial and social proof to validate the quality of the brand and its services.
- Word of mouth marketing
Even if your brand does not have an in-built system of customer review or has a low marketing budget; customer reviews can fulfil both targets. Customers can leave recommendations on Quora or just verbally share their appreciation of the brand’s product and services. Customer reviews in such forms become the brand’s earned marketing method
How to acquire customer reviews?
Businesses should be open to customer reviews. The first move should come from them when they market the product or the services that they are willing to hear customer grievances. Each brand or business can optimize the mediums through which they want to acquire customer reviews. Let us look at some of the ways through which customer reviews can be acquired
- Instagram stories
Instagram stories come with features such as Ask Me Anything or Polls can be a good way to acquire customer reviews. Brands can answer them AMA questions publicly and also showcase poll results
- Give options
A brand’s audience may be placed in different demography or prefer using different platforms. Explore and expand these options for users to share their customer reviews. It can be through a website, it can be through e-commerce if the brand has a product, and also it can be through Facebook reviews. These days many small businesses are building credible customer reviews through the Google My Business portal.
- Directly ask to write a review
Brands such as TripAdvisor directly ask the users to share their reviews on the platform itself. Many other brands have a feedback button embedded at the end of the page so that it is easy for consumers to navigate where to share their customer reviews
- Google Form
Brands do share newsletters with their customers. They can also share Google Forms through email marketing for consumers to share their reviews in a detailed manner. These forms remain confidential in the system and the brand’s customer service can address them by mail without public knowledge
- Customer Services
Companies should train their customer service executives to ask for feedback and say ‘thank you to the consumer for using the product. If they faced any difficulties, customer service executives should also apologize for the same.
Customer reviews are important for a brand’s growth. They are for authentic social proof that can distinguish the brand from its competitors in the market. Through verified customer reviews , brand equity and loyalty can be developed in the competitive market.